Thursday, February 19, 2015

West at war with Islam is an ugly lie, says Obama - Reported by Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN, The Times of India, Mumbai, India.

My comments posted on Times of India article:

West at war with Islam is an ugly lie, says Obama

" There are two sides to this ugly demonization of Islam. While Obama for political reasons blames Al Qaida and ISIS for bringing in Islam to fight territorial wars, in fact it all started with the evil theorizing of Zionist Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington that in all reality, unleashed the agenda for Clash of Civilizations, to focus on Islam as their next target after Communism. Again that same group of Neo-cons that had hijacked America's resources to fight wars of their own choosing, own agenda, for self-serving interests of both temporary as well as permanent nature. Obama is very much informed of the vile conspiracies, but needs to be politically correct. And that's the reason he is not bringing in the Zionist War on Islam."

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


The Times of India

West at war with Islam is an ugly lie, says Obama

,TNN | Feb 20, 2015, 02.31 AM IST
West at war with Islam is an ugly lie, says Obama
US President Barack Obama has praised the work done by the Gang of Eight, the bi-partisan group of eight Senators, on the immigration reform bill
WASHINGTON: Invoking the success of Muslim business leaders in India - "a country with one of the world's largest Muslim populations" - and appointing Rashad Hussain, Indian-American of Muslim faith as the new coordinator of counterterrorism communications, President Barack Obama on Thursday urged countries and communities to confront the warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like al-Qaida and ISIL, especially their attempt to use Islam to justify their violence, saying the notion that the west is at war with Islam is an "ugly lie."

Addressing a US-led summit on countering violent extremism, Obama told a gathering at the State Department that these terrorists are desperate for legitimacy and "all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam, because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorist narrative."

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Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, have a responsibility to push back, not just on twisted interpretations of Islam, but also on the lie that we are somehow engaged in a clash of civilizations; that America and the West are somehow at war with Islam or seek to suppress Muslims, he said.

Without naming any country, Obama said that narrative sometimes extends far beyond terrorist organizations.

The US President acknowledged that there is a complicated history between the Middle East, the West, and the western leadership should not be immune from criticism in terms of specific policies, but the notion that the West anti-Islam is not true.

Rashad Hussain during a conference in Mumbai (TOI Photo by Prasad Kumar)
While acknowledging the need to address economic grievances, he also contested the idea that poverty is the reason for terrorism. Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes someone to become a criminal, he said, pointing out that there are millions, billions of people who are poor and are law-abiding and peaceful and tolerant, and are trying to advance their lives and the opportunities for their families.

The US pushback against the ISIL narrative that had been attracting Muslim youth from across the world, including from India, will be led by Rashad Hussain, a US-born attorney of Indian origin, who has been the US special envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In previous jobs, Hussain has led the Obama administration's Counterterrorism and Anti-Radicalization Efforts.


Faulted for Avoiding ‘Islamic’ Labels to Describe Terrorism, White House Cites a Strategic Logic - Written by Scott Shane - The New York Times

My Comments posted on following NYT article:

Faulted for Avoiding ‘Islamic’ Labels to Describe Terrorism, White House Cites a Strategic Logic

Ghulam Muhammed

Mumbai, India 56 minutes ago
President Obama's new strategy to separate 1.5 billion Muslims, from a miniscule number fighting the West with unconventional means. This is simple 'divide and rule' tactic. However, as long as Obama does not delve deep into why West is hated over its ' constant war for constant peace' misguided institutionalized state policy, more and more from the 1.5 billion Muslims will not give the West full marks on their neutrality as far as religious wars is concerned and will not fully condemn the extremists. The extremists and 1.5 billions appear to have common enemy, though 1.5 billion are fully for peaceful means of agitation and protests.
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The New York Times

Faulted for Avoiding ‘Islamic’ Labels to Describe Terrorism, White House Cites a Strategic Logic


FEB. 18, 2015
Attendees during closing remarks by President Obama on Wednesday at the “Countering Violent Extremism” meeting. Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Obama chooses his words with particular care when he addresses the volatile connections between religion and terrorism. He and his aides have avoided labeling acts of brutal violence by Al Qaeda, the so-called Islamic State and their allies as “Muslim” terrorism or describing their ideology as “Islamic” or “jihadist.”

With remarkable consistency — including at a high-profile White House meeting this week, “Countering Violent Extremism” — they have favored bland, generic terms over anything that explicitly connects attacks or plots to Islam.

Obama aides say there is a strategic logic to his vocabulary: Labeling noxious beliefs and mass murder as “Islamic” would play right into the hands of terrorists who claim that the United States is at war with Islam itself. The last thing the president should do, they say, is imply that the United States lumps the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims with vicious terrorist groups.

But Mr. Obama’s verbal tactics have become a target for a growing chorus of critics who believe the evasive language is a sign that he is failing to look squarely at the threat from militant Islam. The vague phrasing, they say, projects uncertainty and weakness at a time when extremists claiming to fight for Islam threaten America and its interests around the world.

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“Part of this is a semantic battle, but it’s a semantic battle that goes to deeper issues,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran of the past three Republican administrations and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Self-deception is not a good idea in politics or international affairs. We’re lying to ourselves, and the world knows it.”

While the most vehement criticism has come from Mr. Obama’s political opponents on the right, a few liberals and former security officials have begun to echo the criticism.

“You cannot defeat an enemy that you do not admit exists,” Michael T. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, told a House hearing last week. “I really, really strongly believe that the American public needs and wants moral, intellectual and really strategic clarity and courage on this threat.”

Akbar Ahmed, chairman of Islamic studies at American University and author of a book on Islam in America, said he supported the Obama administration’s care in avoiding a counterproductive smear of all Muslims. But he said the president sometimes seemed to bring an academic approach to a visceral, highly politicized discussion.

“Obama’s reaching a point where he may have to ditch this almost scholastic position,” Mr. Ahmed said. “He sounds like a distinguished professor in the ivory tower, and he may have to come down into the hurly-burly of politics.”


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Addressing the extremism conference on Wednesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged the complaints and took pains to try to explain his approach.

“Leading up to this summit, there’s been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the words we use to describe and frame this challenge, so I want to be very clear about how I see it,” the president said. “Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam.”

But Mr. Obama said that “we must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.” The operatives of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, “are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists,” he said.

The president’s comments suggest that the criticism has disturbed him. “You know your talking points are no longer working when you have to talk about your talking points,” said Peter D. Feaver, a political scientist at Duke who was deeply involved in shaping President George W. Bush’s language while he worked at the White House from 2005 to 2007.

Choosing what to say about the enemy during the long campaign against Al Qaeda, and now the Islamic State, was a challenge for Mr. Bush as well as for Mr. Obama, Mr. Feaver said. The nation’s terrorist enemies define themselves as fighters for Islam, lace their propaganda with quotes from the Quran and claim to speak for all Muslims. But an overwhelming majority of Muslims worldwide reject the Qaeda ideology and condemn terrorist attacks.

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Mr. Bush, too, struggled at times to find the right terms for the fight against Al Qaeda. He used and then quickly dropped the word “crusade” for the American campaign against terrorism, concerned that he was playing into the terrorists’ view of a centuries-long clash of civilizations.

He favored the formula “war on terror,” but was battered by critics inside and outside the government who said that it was impossible to wage war against a tactic, Mr. Feaver recalled. For months before a major speech by the president in 2005, different agencies fought over what, exactly, Mr. Bush should call the enemy.
In the end, he effectively threw up his hands. “Some call this evil Islamic radicalism,” he said in the speech. “Others, militant jihadism. Still, others Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam.” But he went on to regularly use the term “Islamic radicalism,” which Mr. Obama has shunned.

Many advocates for Muslims appreciate Mr. Obama’s care in keeping their religion separate from the terrorist groups whose claims they reject. “We support the Obama administration and the administration before them for not falling into the Al Qaeda-ISIS trap of saying this is a religious war,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national group.

But even Ms. Khera complained that the name of the White House conference on the topic was too vague. While the label was “violent extremism,” the vast majority of speakers spoke only about Islamic extremism, ignoring all other kinds, she said. “If the summit were called ‘Countering ISIS,’ that would be fine,” she said. “But it’s not.”

Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official from 2009 to 2012, said he believed that the dispute was a “pseudocontroversy” driven largely by domestic politics, even if it has produced some clumsy moments in the White House press room. What the debate has missed, he said, is that any American president has to think about how his words are received overseas.

“Our allies against ISIS in the region are out there every day saying, ‘This is not Islam,’ ” said Mr. Benjamin, now at Dartmouth. “We don’t want to undermine them. Any good it would do to trumpet ‘Islamic radicalism’ would be overwhelmed by the damage it would do to those relationships.”

Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed reporting.