ZOA: Pres. Obama Absurdly States ISIS Is Not Islamic
News Press Release
September 12, 2014

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Barack Obama’s speech outlining his intention to take military measures against the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), for absurdly claiming that ISIS is not an Islamic group.


In his speech, President Obama said:


“We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm.  That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today.  And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge.  At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain.  And one of those groups is ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant –– a variant name for ISIS used here by President Obama] — which calls itself the “Islamic State.” Now let’s make two things clear:  ISIL  is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents.  And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim” (‘Statement by the President on ISIL,’ September 10, 2014).

 The Obama Administration has a long record of denying any Islamic connection between jihadist terrorism and the religion of Islam.

This has caused noted Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to observe, “In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic. Bill Clinton called the Taliban treatment of women and children “a terrible perversion of Islam.” George W. Bush deemed that 9/11 and other acts of violence against innocents “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.” None of the three has any basis for such assertions. To state the obvious: as non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not. As Bernard Lewis, a leading American authority of Islam, notes: ‘it is surely presumptuous for those who are not Muslims to say what is orthodox and what is heretical in Islam’ (That Obama was born and raised a Muslim has no relevance here, for he left the faith and cannot pronounce on it.)” (‘ISIS Is Not Islamic?,’ Daniel Pipes.org, September 10, 2014).


ZOA National President Morton Klein said, “President Obama is making the absurd, untenable claim that all terrorism, carried out by avowedly Muslim groups, acting explicitly in the name of their religion, and citing Islamic scripture and sources, are somehow not Muslim.


“Has President Obama not noticed that Hamas, a U.S.- and E.U.-listed terrorist organization, calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews? Does he not know that Hamas is an avowedly Muslim organization, indeed, part of the Muslim Brotherhood? That it cites in support of its program authoritative Islamic sources, like the hadith which says, ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.’


“Has he not noticed that other radical Muslim groups call for terrorism and murdering non-believers? Does not Al-Qaeda call for murdering civilians, even Muslims who oppose it? Did Al-Qaeda not carry out attacks on Muslims in Jordan in 2005, for example? Is Al-Qaeda not an avowedly Muslim organization?


“Did not Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the avowedly Shia Muslim terrorist group Hizballah, not say in 2002: “if they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide”? 


“This statement by President Obama is shockingly inaccurate but not surprising. The Obama Administration has a long record of denying any Islamic connection between jihadist terrorism and the religion of Islam.


“In six and a half years:


  • Presidential statements on the anniversaries of the 1983 killing of 242 U.S. servicemen in Lebanon by Hizballah or the 1979 seizure by Islamist students of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, to name two examples, failed to even mention the perpetrators.
  • The Obama Administration called the murderous rampage of Fort Hood sniper Nidal Hassan “workplace violence,” not radical Islamic terrorism.
  • Administration officials have years speaking of particular terrorists at home and abroad as isolated “extremists,” even when Islamist terrorist connections (for example, between Fort Hood sniper Nidal Hassan and the American-born al Qaeda in Yemen leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, who advised him) were readily traceable.
  • In a May 2010 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney-General Eric Holder only grudgingly and hypothetically conceded that radical Islam could be the inspiration for some individuals involved in recent acts of terrorism, before immediately asserting that such people were acting on a “version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it.”
  • In May 2009, John O. Brennan, then Chief National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism, contended that “jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself or one’s community” when in fact jihad has always meant primarily a war waged against non-believers to extend and pepetuate the dominion of Islam which, according to authoritative Muslim sources, may at least at times be waged against civilians on the opposing side.
  • Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, has relabeled terrorism “man-caused disasters” and military campaigns against their perpetrators “in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the globe” relabeled by the Defense Department as “overseas contingency operations.”
  • Homeland Security’s Domestic Extremism Lexicon, produced in March 2009, listed Christian and Jewish extremism, but not Islamic extremism, jihad or anything related to these; in fact, the word ‘Islamic’ appeared only twice in it, both times in the context of discussing “non-Islamic extremism.”
  • the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Extremism Lexicon, produced in March 2009, and the February 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report do not even refer to Muslim terrorism.
  • In October 2011, Deputy Attorney-General James Cole announced that the recall of all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security agencies in order to eliminate all references to Islam, following objections from two Muslim Brotherhood fronts, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). 


“The fact that there are Muslim moderates and that many Muslims do not interpret their religion to require aggression and terrorism against non-Muslims doesn’t mean that there is no basis in Islam for the conduct of radical Islamic groups like ISIS.


“President Obama seems to think that ignoring the jihadist ideology animating the terrorists somehow renders America at peace with those jihadists who regard themselves at war with the U.S. 


“It is absurd for President Obama to say that ISIS is not Islamic simply because it murders thousands of Muslims. Communist groups once murdered communists who belonged to rival Marxist groups. Stalinist communists in the Spanish Civil War, for example, murdered thousands of non-Stalinist communists. To suggest that totalitarian groups do not murder their own people is wrong and shows remarkable ignorance of history.”

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