Dem Rep Gabbard: Obama Administration Must Identify ‘Islamic Extremism’ as Enemy — Not Just Islamic State

On CNN on Wednesday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) urged the threat of what she deemed to be “Islamic extremism” to be taken seriously, which she argued goes beyond ISIS.

“This is something that I think has to be taken seriously,” Gabbard said. “And it’s something that as we look at these types of large events, as we look at these potential targets, we’ve got to recognize that this is a problem that’s only going to get worse unless we really take this enemy, this Islamic extremist enemy and the ideology that’s driving them seriously. I think one of the biggest problems that we’re seeing right now in the Middle East is that we’re only looking at ISIS as the enemy when in fact you’ve got al Qaeda, you’ve got al Nusra, you’ve al Shabaab — you’ve got all of these other Islamic extremist groups that not only exist there but in fact we are working with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and some of these other countries to actually help them by providing arms and money in the efforts to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. So it’s important for us to actually identify who this enemy is, this Islamic extremist enemy and the ideology that’s driving them, in order to effectively defeat and destroy them.”

Host Brianna Keilar asked Gabbard to elaborate on her appeal and asked if she was directing it to the Obama administration.

Partial exchange as follows:

KEILAR: You say that you think really what is key to taking on not just ISIS but other terrorists is really to identify Islamic extremism. Do you feel that’s not being done at this point in time enough?

GABBARD: No, Brianna, it’s not. And again, I just mentioned, you know, if you look at Syria as one example, so much of the focus is we’ve got to defeat ISIS, we’ve got to defeat ISIS. But in fact you have al Qaeda, the people who perpetrated the attack on 9/11 here in the United States. You’ve got al Nusra, you’ve got all of these other Islamic extremist groups –

KEILAR: But just to clarify, congresswoman, you want the administration to be clearer about this?

GABBARD: Yes, the administration. In order to have an effective strategy, you must first clearly identify the enemy. If ISIS were destroyed today, in Syria alone there are at least 65,000 other violent radical Islamist fighters who are just as bad as ISIS and who will continue to pose this threat not only to the region but to the American people. This is why it’s so important not to just go after one organization called ISIS, but to recognize this radical Islamist ideology that’s driving ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra and the groups that go by other names. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to defeat this threat.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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