The U.S. certainly is not at war with Islam. But large numbers of Muslims, justifying their actions by reference to Islamic texts and teachings, are at war with us. In saying this, Obama is declaring that he is not going to engage those Muslims on that level — in other words, he is dismissing the importance of understanding the belief-system and goals of the enemy. Can the U.S. defeat an enemy it is not prepared to name or understand?
“Obama declares US not at war with Islam” by Tom Raum for Associated Press, April 6 (thanks to all who sent this in):
ANKARA, Turkey — Barack Obama, making his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, declared Monday the United States “is not and will never be at war with Islam.”…
“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Obama said. “The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical … in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”…
Can this “fringe ideology” be rolled back without confronting its roots and the reasons for its popularity in the Islamic world? Does the President have any reason for dubbing it a “fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject,” when Hamas won elections in the Palestinian Authority and Sharia was enshrined as the highest law in the new constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan? I doubt it.
At a news conference earlier with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Obama dealt gingerly with the issue of alleged genocide committed by Turks against Armenians during World War I. He urged Turks and Armenians to continue a process “that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.”…
“America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaida,” the president said. “We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.”
“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country,” Obama said….
In all seriousness, when one makes statements like this, one should be prepared to back them up. What exactly has the Islamic faith done to shape the United States for the better? Of course, the very question is “Islamophobic.”
Earlier, Obama said he stood by his 2008 assertion that Ottoman Turks had carried out widespread killings of Armenians early in the 20th century, but he stopped short of repeating the word “genocide.”
Gul said many Turkish Muslims were killed during the same period. Historians, not politicians, Gul said, should decide how to label the events of those times.
In his 2008 campaign, Obama said “the Armenian genocide is not an allegation,” but rather “a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.”
Now that he is president, the genocide question may not be Obama’s best issue for taking a tough stand that antagonizes a key ally. It is important in U.S. communities with large numbers of Armenian-Americans, but it has a low profile elsewhere.
In his speech to the parliament Monday, Obama said the United States strongly supports the full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. He also noted that the United States “still struggles with the legacy of our past treatment of Native Americans.”
Tu quoque from the President of the United States!
Certainly no group has a monopoly on evil, and no nation’s record is spotless. But to bring up Native Americans in the context of the Armenian genocide, in which over 1.5 million people were slaughtered, is monstrous as well as irrelevant. Obama should be calling upon the Turks, and everyone, to renounce the beliefs and assumptions that led to the Armenian genocide, and that are still alive in Turkey, rather than making stale and inaccurate historical comparisons.
And the president also urged Turkey to help Israel and Palestine live “side by side in peace and security.”…
Now if only someone would urge “Palestine” to accept this.
In talks with Gul, and Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama hoped to sell his strategy for melding U.S. troop increases with civilian efforts to better the lives of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama recognized past tensions in the U.S.-Turkey relationship, but said things were on the right track now because both countries share common interests and are diverse nations. “We don’t consider ourselves Christian, Jewish, Muslim. We consider ourselves a nation bound by a set of ideals and values,” Obama said of the United States. “Turkey has similar principles.”…
No mention, of course, of the principles that have led to the ongoing harassment of Christians in Turkey.