NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd said that the White House’s refusal to say ‘radical Islam’ “comes across as if they’re trying to be so politically correct that they’re losing focus on what the problem is,” although the debate over this terminology “goes too far in the other direction” on MSNBC’s “Now with Alex Wagner” on MSNBC.
Todd began by reporting “I was just looking at the fact sheet the White House just put out to go in conjunction with the president’s statement. And I can already predict exactly what some of the criticism is going to be of the president. You don’t see the word ‘Islam,’ or ‘Islamic,’ or ‘radical Islam’ anywhere in the fact sheet. They use ‘extremist,’ they’re very careful not to associate it with one religion. And this has been an ongoing debate. Frankly, I’m told there’s actually debate inside the White House about should they be avoiding the phrase ‘radical Islam’ or not? Is this — or do you say it to force other countries and other Muslim leaders to tackle this because it’s happening in their religion and their faith.”
Host Alex Wagner then remarked “there are different types of extremism here at play. And I think one of the criticisms the White House has gotten is that this is too broad an umbrella, what can feasibly be accomplished when you’re casting a net this wide?”
Todd added “it comes across as if they’re trying to be so politically correct that they’re losing focus on what the problem is…the problem is here is –it’s not as if — nobody is saying there’s not extremism in every religion, but what is the acute issue at hand right now that the Western world is dealing with? It is this group that is using Islam, a radical form of it, to try to recruit terrorists.”
Wagner then pointed out “there are some folks who would say, and we will no doubt here from them later in the hour, that by targeting and saying ‘Islam,’ making this a Muslim issue whether rhetorically or substantively, that further alienates the sort of moderate communities that are necessary in the overall battle,” to which Todd declared “that’s the problem with this debate, because I think you’re right. It goes too far in the other direction. Again, I go back to what should this focus be on, what should the goal be? The fact of the matter is, for all of the flaws we can find, the United States does a better job at assimilation with Muslim communities than the rest of — than Western Europe does. How does Western Europe learn?”
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