The Obama administration would never utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism, instead, they used phrases such as “violent extremism.”
There are radical Islamic terrorists, and she won’t even mention the word, and nor will President Obama,”
-Donald Trump at a presidential debate in 2016
There were a few reasons why the Obama administration wouldn’t say it, chief among them being that Obama is too politically correct to say such a thing.
But the technical, more important reason is that we need our Islamic allies to defeat ISIS. The Jordanians, the Emiratis, the Egyptians, the Saudis, and they all view the phrase as a generalization of their whole religion.
They say that they did not consider the Islamic state to be Islamic at all, and its violence against Muslims proved it. The Islamic State is a terrorist group that acts in the name of Islam, but their acts of violence are not Islamic at all.
The Trump administration may abandon the phrase, but please keep the strategy. The Islamic State when talking about them in terms of military force is on the ropes in Iraq and Syria. The group has not had a military triumph in over a year and a half. The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria is down by 90 percent, according to the Department of Defense. Taking back Mosul and liberating it is soon to come.
It is a misconception that the Islamic state is focused mainly on fighting the West. That is not true, more than 80 percent of the Islamic State’s propaganda is in Arabic. Russian is the second-most used language, and French and English are tied for third.
We are not the primary target, Muslims are.
The Islamic State isn’t as much a terrorist group as it is an idea. It is a belief that the West is hostile and that they hate Muslims. Most of the terrorist group’s propaganda isn’t even violent. There were videos of kids on Ferris wheels and jihadi fighters giving them cotton candy. One tweet showed a shiny apple and in Arabic words, it said: “The caliphate is bountiful.”
The Islamic state will go away, but violent extremism never will. The way to defeat the Islamic State is not to ban Muslims from certain countries, but to work and form a community of Muslim allies who also want to not only defeat the Islamic State but also to defeat the stigma around the Muslim religion.