Bill Maher questions Obama’s reluctance to say ‘Islamic terrorism’

Bill Maher questions Obama’s reluctance to say ‘Islamic terrorism’ February 21, 2015

Semantic shenanigans: Bill Maher questions the wisdom of President Barack Obama’s refusal to use the phrase “Islamic terrorism” when discussing the Islamic State.

On Friday’s broadcast of HBO’s Real Time, Maher and panelists Elahe Izadi, Bill Nye and Rob Reiner discussed Obama’s semantic battle over the religious motivations behind the Islamic State.

Maher said:

This idea we cannot even call it ‘Islamic terrorism’ seems Orwellian to me. It seems like we’re paying a very high price for this. Which is, we can’t discuss it even rationally — can’t we at least say that there are a number of factors that are that involved and the religion is certainly one of them?

Maher went on:

(President Obama) presented this idea that well, it’s poverty and education. It is poverty and education, also, but why are they impoverished and uneducated? It’s mostly because of their religion. That’s mostly why. The UN did a study in 2002, they found out that only 300 books had been translated into Arabic that year. In madrassas, they only teach one book, I don’t have to tell you which one.

Maher also pointed out that Obama’s claim: “No religion is responsible for terrorism, people are responsible for violence and terrorism;” sounds like the NRA slogan: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Maher was responding to remarks Obama made while speaking at his summit on countering violent extremism last Wednesday. There Obama denied the U.S. is at war with Islam, while refusing to identify the Islamic State as being Islamic.

In his remarks Obama argued that using the term “Islamic” to describe the Islamic State grants the terrorists legitimacy.

What do you think about Obama’s reluctance to use the term “Islamic terrorist” and Maher’s critique? Is Maher being fair? Is Obama simply being pragmatic in a delicate international situation, or is he guilty of big-brother Orwellian double-speak? Or a little bit of both? Leave a comment – express yourself.

Bill Maher (screen-grab)
Bill Maher (screen-grab)
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