...Given the First Amendment alone
, there’s something un-American in any government official simply declaring what is or is not a religion. Bush’s formulation in his September 20, 2001, address to Congress was better: “The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.”
Regardless, I’m not the kind of purist who would object to Obama’s version — if it worked. Aeschylus first noted more than 2,400 years ago that the first casualty of war is the truth. And if saying that the Islamic State is guilty of religious false advertising makes it easier to win a war, that’s fine by me.
But does it work?
Bush’s assurances that “Islam means peace” had little to no discernible effect. It’s unlikely that Obama’s non-Islamic classification will do any better.
Anyone who thinks jihadism is authentically Muslim won’t change his mind because Obama (or Bush before him) says so....
If we’re talking clarity, I’d say the Islamic State is clearly not Mormon. Or Lutheran. Or Buddhist. It most certainly is not the most extreme example of Quakers gone bad ever recorded.
As for its not being Islamic, that’s at best unclear, if not just clearly wrong. And the fact that the majority of its victims are Muslim is irrelevant. Lenin and Stalin killed thousands of Communists and socialists; that doesn’t mean Lenin and Stalin weren’t Communists and socialists. If such terrorists who kill Muslims aren’t Muslims, why do we give them Korans when we imprison them?