President Obama believes that Republicans have mis-identified the threat posed by the religion of Islam as a violent religion.
During a conversation with the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg, Obama explained that too many Republicans wanted him to identify the terrorist threat using the same moral clarity as Reagan did with the threat of Communism.
He asserted that Communism “wasn’t a millennium-old religion that was embraced by a whole host of good, decent, hard-working people who are our allies” like the religion of Islam.
Obama argued that Trump’s controversial suggested ban on Muslims and refugees entering the country after terrorist attacks was the logical conclusion of Republicans’ anti-Islam rhetoric over the years.
“I’m amused when I watch Republicans claim that Trump’s language is unacceptable, and ask, ‘How did we get here?’” Obama said. “We got here in part because the Republican base had been fed this notion that Islam is inherently violent, that this is who these folks are.”
Obama said that Republican rhetoric had raised fears among Americans that they were in a “civilizational conflict” against the religion of Islam. He also dismissed the notion that America was in danger of being “destroyed internally by this foreign civilization.”
That made it more difficult, he argued, to work with moderate Muslims to push back against the violent extremists in their midst.
“When we use loose language that appears to pose a civilizational conflict between the West and Islam, or the modern world and Islam, then we make it harder, not easier, for our friends and allies and ordinary people to resist and push back against the worst impulses inside the Muslim world,” he explained.