Obama Administration Undermines Muslim Reformers with Excuses for Radical Islam

White House Photo / Pete Souza
White House Photo / Pete Souza

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained that the Obama administration would not be using the phrase “radical Islam” to describe the ideology motivating the Charlie Hebdo terrorists.

“These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism,” he tut-tutted, “and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam in their own deviant view of it… we have not chosen to use that label because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what had happened.”

Not to quibble, but the Charlie Hebdo terrorists didn’t commit an act of terror, go out for a scotch, and then fix on an Islamic excuse. They shouted “Allahu Akhbar” and “we have avenged the prophet Mohammed” between firing rounds at innocent people. So either they were extremely quick thinkers on their feet, or they had an actual settled ideology motivating them to murder innocent people.

Even some erstwhile Obama administration allies realize that the latter explanation seems more plausible. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, who has in the past acted as lackey for the Obama administration’s most implausible Middle Eastern schemes, wrote an op-ed on Wednesday in which he openly questioned why the Muslim world hadn’t actually condemned the Charlie Hebdo attacks en masse:

President Obama was criticized for failing to attend, or send a proper surrogate to, the giant antiterrorism march in Paris on Sunday. That criticism was right. But it is typical of American politics today that we focus on this and not what would have really made the world feel the jihadist threat was finally being seriously confronted. And that would not be a march that our president helps to lead, but one in which he’s not involved at all. That would be a million-person march against the jihadists across the Arab-Muslim world, organized by Arabs and Muslims for Arabs and Muslims, without anyone in the West asking for it — not just because of what happened in Paris but because of the scores of Muslims recently murdered by jihadists in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Syria.

Shockingly, Friedman continued to channel Mark Steyn:

We fool ourselves when we tell Muslims what “real Islam” is. Because Islam has no Vatican, no single source of religious authority, there are many Islams today. The puritanical Wahhabi/Salafi/jihadist strain is one of them, and its support is not insignificant.

Someone check Friedman’s head. He seems to have suffered a concussion in striking his cranium against something rational.

But there are Muslims speaking out against radical Islam – it’s just that the Obama administration and virtually the entire media left prefer to ignore them. Memri.org has compiled a list of such Muslims.

Mamoun Fandy wrote in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, the self-billed leading pan-Arabic daily, “Muslims need to ‘upgrade their software,’ which is programmed mainly by our schools, television and mosques – especially small mosques that trade in what is forbidden. There is no choice but to dismantle this system and rebuild it in a way that is compatible with human culture and values.” In the same newspaper, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashad, former director of Al-Arabiya TV, wrote:

Protests against the recent terrorist attacks in France should have been held in Muslim capitals, rather than Paris, because in this case it is Muslims who are involved in this crisis and stand accused, and are expected to declare their innocence. The story of extremism begins in Muslim societies, and it is with their support and silence that extremism has grown into terrorism that is harming people across the world.

Aziz Al-Haff of Iraq wrote:

What is needed before anything else is for states, peoples and elites in the Arab and Muslim world to learn a lesson. [They must learn that] it is not enough for some Muslim religious leader to appear on the [television] screens in France and condemn [the attacks], for it is quite possible that, a few years ago, he was one of those who encouraged the attack on Charlie Hebdo, with the help of the global Muslim Brotherhood organization, headed by Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi. It has been ten years or more since Muslims, either in the West or in the Arab world, held a mass demonstration against the attacks, killings and abductions perpetrated by Islamic terrorist groups in the West or in the Muslims lands themselves.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told Islamic extremists that if they didn’t like Western freedoms, they should “f*** off.” He added, “It’s incomprehensible that you turn against freedom like that, but if you don’t like this freedom, for heaven’s sake, get your suitcase, and leave.”

And, of course, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi told all of Egypt just a week ago:

I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution. You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. The entire world is waiting for your word…

Presumably, all of these people are Islamophobic. What other explanation could there be for the Obama administration and the Western press to almost universally ignore them?

There is another explanation, of course: that Western leaders prefer the simpleminded fairy tale that radical Islam doesn’t truly exist, that it is a buzzword utilized by a handful of terrorists, and that true widespread Muslim discontent doesn’t come from a popular interpretation of Islam but from Western sins. Sometimes those sins are pinned on Western colonialism; usually those sins are pinned on Israel, because Jews are always a convenient scapegoat. But every time as the Western left pursues a suicidal policy of ignoring radical Islam – and by doing so, isolating actual Muslim reformers – the West forwards its own suicide, and guarantees additional Western deaths.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.