7:15 AM, Sep 16, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that to counter the ideology of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its claim of a "religious foundation" for its actions, part of the strategy of the international coalition he is attempting to assemble must be to "begin to put real Islam out there." Kerry, in Paris for talks with various world leaders to build that coalition, further said that all of the Arab leaders he had spoken with earlier concurred about their focus on "real Islam and how important the Friday sermons are." The secretary of state recently said that ISIL's ideology "has nothing to do with Islam" and President Obama echoed these words, saying that "ISIL is not 'Islamic.'"
Kerry's remarks about "real Islam" came during a "roundtable discussion" with the press after the secretary met with representatives from twenty-six countries to discuss how to confront the threat posed by ISIL. In recent days Kerry has alternated between calling the action against ISIL "war" and "counter-terrorism," but in any case he downplayed the military aspect of the operation. The military piece, he said, is a "critical component", but "probably far more important" will be the effort to "start drying up this pool of jihadis who get seduced into believing there’s some virtue in crossing into Syria to fight or to join ISIL."
Here are Kerry's "real Islam" remarks in context [emphasis added]:
Now, as I said today – you guys weren’t in there, but I said it in this meeting – the military piece is one piece. It’s one component of this. It’s a critical component, but it’s only one component. And the truth is, equally – probably far more important than the military in the end is going to be what countries are able to do to help Iraq to be able to step up and other places, by the way, to step up and start drying up this pool of jihadis who get seduced into believing there’s some virtue in crossing into Syria to fight or to join ISIL. And a young nine-year-old kid who goes with his father and his mother and holds up the severed head of someone. I mean, that’s just beyond imagination. And what this effort has to do is literally dry up the money, dry up the foreign fighters, prevent the foreign fighters from going home back to various places to do harm. It has to start major efforts to delegitimize ISIS’s claim to some religious foundation for what it’s doing and begin to put real Islam out there and draw lines throughout the region.
And I think this is a wake-up call with respect to that because every Arab leader there today was talking about this, about real Islam and how important the Friday sermons are and where they need to go. Those are critical components of this strategy. Getting logistics, airlift, putting humanitarian assistance in, flying it in, ammunition, equipment, training, advisers – all of these roles are the totality and you have to be able to describe this in a logistic way – in a holistic way.
Kerry's words are in keeping with the spirit of President Obama's Cairo speech from 2009 where he famously said, "I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear... America is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam... Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism -- it is an important part of promoting peace."
Five years out from his Cairo speech and conflict bubbling up through the Middle East and the world, the reality on the ground may be far from what the president hoped or anticipated, but the rhetoric is unchanged: Islamic extremism is not real Islam. Given the rise of ISIL, the Boko Haram, and the continued tenacity of al Qaeda, President Obama may find this message to be an increasingly hard sell.
Rotherham and the failure of multiculturalismSep 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 01 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
The massive sexual abuse case in Rotherham, England, has revealed again how awkward and self-defeating the Western response often is to matters that touch on religious identity. Although the independent inquiry led by Professor Alexis Jay is tersely graphic about the 1,400-plus girls, some as young as 11 years old, who were sexually assaulted over several years by organized gangs of mostly Pakistani men, it isn’t detailed about the male predators.
6:01 PM, May 12, 2014 • By JAY BERGMAN
Support for the decision of Brandeis University not to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree, after previously announcing it would do so, has coalesced around the notion that while Islamic radicalism can be criticized, even condemned, one cannot criticize Islam itself. By condemning both, and by implying strongly that Radical Islam and Islam are indistinguishable, Ms. Ali—so the argument goes—not only does not deserve an honorary degree; she is, in fact, a bigot.
7:28 AM, May 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
During a talk to the U.S. embassy staff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first stop on his trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked about what he called the "different cross-currents of modernity" and the challenges they present on the African continent.
1:03 PM, Apr 29, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
April 17, 2014, has come to be known among Iranian dissidents as “Black Thursday.” On that day, at least 100 Iranian riot police, members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, soldiers, and officers of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security joined prison guards in raiding Ward 350 of Tehran’s infamous Evin House of Detention. Numerous political prisoners and heterodox Muslims from the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufi order are held at Evin.
10:32 AM, Jun 20, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
On Monday, June 10, former British prime minister Tony Blair released a thoughtful memorandum that was quickly reproduced on websites around the world. Titled “The Trouble Within Islam,” Blair’s reflections were stimulated by the resurgence of Islamist terror in Britain, where a serviceman, Lee Rigby, was brutally murdered on May 22 by two jihadists. Blair’s remarks also seemed to reflect the shock of the Boston bombing of April 15.
So much for the surveillance state.May 6, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 32 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
As the country awoke to the news of a massive manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers in the early morning hours of Friday, April 19, reporters began pressing sources at the FBI and the Justice Department for information on the two attackers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The response, at least to some reporters: We don’t know anything about them.
"Yes We Can: A Bullet A Day Keeps The Infidel Away."10:26 AM, Mar 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The latest edition of the al Qaeda English-language magazine Inspire is out today. A digital copy of the magazine, provided by MEMRI (the Washington D.C. based Middle East Media Research Institute), shows a "Wanted: Dead or Alive" feature on page 10 of the new issue:
10:43 AM, Jan 3, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The small republic of Kosovo, with a population of less than two million—90 percent ethnic Albanians, of whom 80 percent are Muslim—is the Balkan zone offering the greatest resistance to radical Islam. Some vignettes from recent interviews may impart the flavor of the debate over Islamism in the country:
A few suggestions, in a spirit of bipartisanship.Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By MAX BOOT
12:28 PM, Sep 25, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama made the case to the ladies of The View that we should "marginalize" the infamous anti-Islam video that supposedly sparked attacks on American embassies across the world by "ignoring it."
5:36 PM, Sep 20, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Politico reports that “the Obama administration is airing ads on Pakistani television condemning the anti-Islamic film ‘The Innocence of Muslims,’ a State Department spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.” (Watch the State Department ad here.) But why just the ridiculous video? Perhaps the Obama administration should buy airtime in Pakistan to condemn everyone who's ever said anything problematic about Islam.