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article imageOp-Ed: Why aren’t Islamic State terrorists Islamic terrorists?

By John David Powell     Feb 23, 2015 in Politics
The White House Summit on Combating Violent Extremism ended last week with much politically correct discussion, but no definite plan on how to combat violent extremism, and certainly no willingness to define it.
We use common definitions so family members, colleagues, and other nations understand whatever it is we wish to communicate in whatever form we believe is best, whether in words, music, signs, or symbols. Common and easily understood definitions are essential when conveying simple or complex concepts.
Even though I spent my formative years in rural Illinois, I believe I understand the difference between violent extremism and terrorism. Irate little-league parents engaging in fisticuffs over a disputed call at home plate is violent extremism. It is violent because of thrown punches, swung bats, and possibly the letting of blood. It is extreme because it occurred at an organized athletics event designed to teach children the meaning of clean competition and good sportsmanship. Other parents and surely the children on the field may have felt terrorized, but it was not terrorism, at least not Islamic terrorism, that descended upon the ballpark that night.
The Obama Administration does not shy away from using the word terrorism. President Obama used it in some form about 30 times in his opening remarks at the summit . He mentioned the term “violent extremism” only six times, a curious thing considering it was the topic of the summit.
The president was very clear, however, in drawing a defining line between the Islamic practices observed by more than a billion Muslims around the world and the jihadist depravity inflicted by members of the self-described Islamic State. “We are not at war with Islam,” he said. “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
Some of us who grew up in east-central Illinois in the 1950s and 1960s learned “vocabulary words” as early as third grade. Maybe earlier, but that is pushing the frontier of my memory. It is a simple exercise. The teacher assigns a list of words. The students must find the correct definition or definitions, and then write sentences with the proper use of those words. A test usually comes at the end of the week.
I had a running contest with a classmate during my senior year in high school to see who could come up with the best correctly constructed single sentence using each vocabulary word one time. That was in twelfth grade. Nowadays, I am told to write for adults with the assumption they have a sixth-grade comprehension, eighth grade if they are well-educated.
We are not sure, but we assume members of the Obama Administration have at least a sixth-grade comprehension. The Administration has stretched that assumption, however, with its apparent lack of grade-school vocabulary skills when attempting to define Islamic terrorism. “Islamic” begins with “is,” and so it seems that we must, in the words of former president Bill Clinton, determine what the meaning of the word “is” is.
We must understand that President Obama, as with both Bushes and Clinton, relies on Muslim nations to participate in multinational coalitions in wars against other Muslims. This is why, precisely, our presidents must define with great care what the meaning of “is” is.
Islamic State killers define themselves in their very name and when they quote the Quran as they behead Christians. Their leaders see themselves engaged in an Islamic war for the eradication or subjugation of all infidels, while our leaders see them as engaged in violent extremism that could be turned around with jobs programs and hugs.
They define themselves as the defenders of the orthodox Islamic faith on behalf of the world’s true Muslims, but they promote their high-profile kidnapping and murder of westerners and Christians to cover the fact that most of the people they kidnap and kill are Muslims. There is no mystery regarding why they do this. They do this because to define themselves as a leading cause of death among Muslims would hinder their ability to recruit misguided souls and those individuals with twisted minds in search of others with like minds.
The inability of a physician to properly identify a patient’s illness may result in the death of that patient. Pandemics may occur if researchers fail to define a deadly virus when it first appears in the world.
Properly defining an enemy, whether that enemy is a cancer, a virus, or an Islamic terrorist allows us to bring together all the resources needed to kill that which wants to kill us.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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