Obama: Muslims Must Reject Bad Interpretations of Islam

Obama: Muslims Must Reject Bad Interpretations of Islam December 7, 2015

In a rare oval office address President Barack Obama acknowledged that “extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities” while declaring that Muslims must reject “interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

In his address Obama urged Americans to stay calm and vigilant, while trying to reassure the nation that his approach to fighting Islamic extremism is working both at home and abroad.

Speaking in the wake of deadly Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and California, Obama cautioned his fellow Americans not to demonize all Muslims, while noting that “an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities” and that it is “a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.”

The following is a partial transcript of Obama’s remarks:

If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. It’s a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse.

Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda promote. To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans, of every faith, to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that muslim-americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL.

Obama is right to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. Such tests are contrary to the secular values upon which this nation was founded.

And Obama is also right to demand that Muslims reject “those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

Indeed, every religious sect should reject doctrine and dogma that is “incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

However, while Obama was speaking about the Islamic State, the fact is other Muslim countries besides the Islamic State explicitly reject “religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

Indeed, America’s ally, Saudi Arabia, is notorious for rejecting western ideas of “religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”  And while the actions of the Islamic State are condemned worldwide, Saudi Arabia continues to enjoy the political, military, and financial support of the United States, despite the fact that for all intents and purposes Saudi Arabia is in many respects just as morally bankrupt and evil as is the Islamic State.

Bottom line: Obama is right to insist Muslims reject “those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.” However, Obama must be consistent in this demand, and this means holding Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to the same standard.

(Image via Screen Grab)
(Image via Screen Grab)

 

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