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Tag Archives: Islam

Trump: Middle East Leaders Agreed to Stop Funding Islamism

President Trump today indicated that Muslim leaders he met with in Saudi Arabia earlier this week agreed to stop funding the ideologies that lead to to terrorism.

Trump said during remarks in Brussels:

This call for driving out terrorism is a message I took to a historic gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders across the region, hosted by Saudi Arabia. There, I spent much time with King Salman, a wise man who wants to see things get much better rapidly. The leaders of the Middle East have agreed at this unprecedented meeting to stop funding the radical ideology that leads to this horrible terrorism all over the globe.

My travels and meetings have given me renewed hope that nations of many faiths can unite to defeat terrorism, a common threat to all of humanity. Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks, or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever. You have thousands and thousands of people pouring into our various countries and spreading throughout, and in many cases, we have no idea who they are. We must be tough. We must be strong. And we must be vigilant.

The Saudis, of course, have been particularly guilty of tolerating extremist ideology and spreading it throughout the world.

I doubt the funding is going to stop. But maybe some of it will. This is progress, and hopefully Trump will hold them accountable. His call for Arab leaders to cease supporting radicalism is based on an understanding that the Islamist threat is not just some extremist movement, but part of what is going on within Arab societies.

Nevertheless, Trump has backed off some of his campaign thinking on the topic, saying in his Saudi speech that, “Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.” Unfortunately, that’s not correct. Thinkers from the activist moderate Muslim Hirsi Ali to Egyptian President Sisi understand that there is a problem within Islam that has to change. But it looks like National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster got to Trump with his insistence that the terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

Or maybe not quite. Trump used the term “Islamic extremism,” which he was not supposed to do, during his address in Saudi Arabia. He was slated to say “Islamist,” which is a term held to be less intrinsic to the religion itself and more descriptive of radicalism that exists outside it.

“That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds,” he said. The prepared remarks called for him to say: “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Anonymous White House advisors he was just tired. But I don’t think he’s as much of an idiot as some of his aides do. I think he knew what he was doing.

Nevertheless, frustrated that the president went off their carefully crafted script, the White House released Trump’s remarks as prepared for delivery. AFTER he gave the speech.

Normally the White House puts out the actual transcript of his remarks. In this case, as far as I can tell, they didn’t.

Hopefully Trump will continue to be Trump, despite voices within the administration trying to make him Jeb Bush.

Obama Suggests Ground Zero Mosque Opponents Hate Islam

President Obama used a White House press conference today to issue his most forceful language yet in support of the Ground Zero mosque, making clear that the project should go forward and suggesting that those who oppose it do so out of animus toward Islam.

With respect to the mosque in New York, you know, I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position here. And that is is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights. One of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. And what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on a site.

Obama continued to frame the issue as whether there is a “right” to build the huge mosque and Islamic center just two blocks from the World Trade Center site. But this time he indicated that opposition to the site involves hostility in general to the concept of freedom of religion and to Islam specifically.

We are not at war against Islam. We’re at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts. And we’ve got to be clear about that.

While there is a certain amount of anti-Islam feeling going on here, mainstream opponents of the site merely feel there is an association with Islam, the religion invoked by the hijackers, that makes the mosque’s presence inappropriate and brings forward unwanted associations for those affected by the tragedy. No one would build a German cultural center next to Auschwitz, and it doesn’t mean they don’t like Germans or that they think we are still at war against Germany.

The president’s thoughtless comments today are an unfortunate attack on good people who are not blaming all of Islam, as he indicated, for the attack. Once again, a man who pledged to be a uniter has stirred further division.

Obama’s Empty Gesture on the Ground Zero Mosque

The reaction of President Obama and his aides to his own speech on the Ground Zero mosque has been, and continues to be today, a disgrace and an outrage.

Bill Clinton has been spending lots of time dealing with Obama lately, and it shows. Obama is getting himself squarely on both sides of the issue while shirking his responsibility to directly address it.

It’s excusable if you believe that Obama was for the Ground Zero mosque before he was against it.

Speaking to Muslims leaders attending the White House Iftar Dinner Friday night, the president patted himself on the back for supporting freedom of religion and said Muslims have the “right” to build a mosque at Ground Zero. The remarks were widely interpreted as supportive of the project.

But wait a second, the next day Obama proclaimed that he wasn’t commenting on whether the mosque was a good idea, only that there exists a “right” to build it.

Obama addresses the Iftar Dinner

Well what a revelation. If it’s legal, there’s a right to do it. Nobody really contests that. Obama ascended a grand White House stage and with high theatrics said essentially nothing. And then he clarified the next day that he was saying nothing.

And then he said he would continue to say nothing – that is, not take a stance on the correctness of building the mosque. Because it’s his job to defend Constitutional principles from troglodytes who would trample them, his aides exclaim.

“The president thinks it’s his obligation to speak out when issues of the Constitution arise,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton aboard Air Force One today. Saturday, as the uproar rippled outward over Obama’s amendment to his original remarks, Burton said, “It is not his role as President to pass judgment on every local project. But it is his responsibility to stand up for the Constitutional principle of religious freedom and equal treatment for all Americans.”

This is about as fatuous as it gets from presidents and their spinmeisters. In fact, it is an outrage.

Another local project

This is NOT JUST SOME LOCAL PROJECT. It something that thousands of Americans directly affected by the 9/11 attacks and millions of the rest of us view with sincere emotion and deep gravity.

This is not the Chicago School of Law, or the Chicago School of Politics. This is the presidency, and it is Obama’s job to lead the country. And that includes commenting and offering guidance on difficult issues.

When Obama called the Arizona immigration law “misguided” and said it showed “irresponsibility,”  was he delivering a lecture on the Constitution, or was he weighing in to an emotional and contentious debate?

And why did he say anything at all if IT IS NOT HIS ROLE AS PRESIDENT TO PASS JUDGMENT ON EVERY LOCAL PROJECT.

Because, he decided it was important enough to him. And in the case of those aggrieved by the sight of a mosque towering over the place where three thousand Americans were killed by terrorists proclaiming their allegiance – however warped – to Islam, it is not important enough. Or it could offend someone on Martha’s Vineyard, where he will begin vacationing Thursday.

Presidents are both the Constitutional and moral leaders of the nation. Obama knows it. Where are the notions of “hope” and “change” in the Constitution? He and his aides need to stop dressing up a craven failure to lead as high Constitutional principle.

Obama Amends His Ground Zero Mosque Comments

Speaking to the pool reporters in Panama City, Fla., President Obama hinted that he might, just might, not think building a mosque near the World Trade Center site is a good idea.

But after showing a little leg, he covered it back up. From today’s pool report:

“In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion. I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.

“And I think it’s very important as difficult as some of these issues are that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.”

Why not comment on whether this is a good idea? I think most people would agree the creators of the Islamic center have a “right” to build it.

The question is, should they do it?You have a “right” to go trick or treating as Goebbels, but it’s not a good idea. Opponents of the mosque want its backers to use their common sense, not be handcuffed to their beds so they can’t leave the house to go build the thing.

Obama indeed said last night, that they have a “right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”

But today Obama clarifies that he wasn’t implying it was a good idea. So what has Obama contributed to the debate if, in Clintonian fashion, he offers a grandiloquent affirmation of religious freedom one day but then the next makes sure he’s not perceived as being on the opposite end of the issue as most Americans?

Obama’s “clarification” forced Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton this afternoon to do a “clarification” of the “clarification.”

Just to be clear, the President is not backing off in any way from the comments he made last night. It is not his role as President to pass judgment on every local project.

But it is his responsibility to stand up for the Constitutional principle of religious freedom and equal treatment for all Americans. What he said last night, and reaffirmed today, is that If a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a Mosque.

The World Trade Center site is hallowed ground, where 3000 Americans-Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims were the victims of a cold-blooded massacre. We are still at war with the small band of terrorists who planned and executed that attack. But that does not give government the right to deny law-abiding Americans of one faith the same rights you would accord anyone else.

Obama has weighed in without really weighing in. He should have stayed silent on the matter instead of implying that people want to violate the law.

Obama Backs Ground Zero Mosque

President Obama came down squarely tonight on the side of those who want to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site, saying that “our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.” Obama said this includes the right to build religious centers anywhere, as long as it is done in accord with local ordinances.

The White House had just days ago described the issue as a local matter for New Yorkers, suggesting it would stay out of it.

Below are the relevant paragraphs from Obama’s remarks at this evening’s annual White House Iftar dinner in the State Dining Room. The full text is here

Now, that’s not to say that religion is without controversy. Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities -– particularly New York.  Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan.  The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country.  And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable.  So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders.  And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear.  As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.  (Applause.)  And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.  This is America.  And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.  The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.  The writ of the Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who led the response to that attack -– from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us also remember who we’re fighting against, and what we’re fighting for.  Our enemies respect no religious freedom.  Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam -– it’s a gross distortion of Islam.  These are not religious leaders -– they’re terrorists who murder innocent men and women and children.  In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion -– and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.

So that’s who we’re fighting against.  And the reason that we will win this fight is not simply the strength of our arms -– it is the strength of our values.  The democracy that we uphold. The freedoms that we cherish.  The laws that we apply without regard to race, or religion, or wealth, or status.  Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us –- and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.

In my inaugural address I said that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus —- and non-believers.  We are shaped by every language and every culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.  And that diversity can bring difficult debates.  This is not unique to our time.  Past eras have seen controversies about the construction of synagogues or Catholic churches.  But time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, and stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it.  So it must be -– and will be -– today.

And here’s a little color from the pool report by the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman.

The speech, read from paper, not a teleprompter, hewed closely to the text with one flourish. He spoke of an American “way of life” from the text, then added, “that quintessential American creed,” picking up “…that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism…”

The crowd was attentive and respectful. Only twice did they interrupt with applause, after he declared “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country” and after his story of Jefferson hosting the first Iftar for the ambassador from Tunisia.

When he finished, several guests surged forward to shake his hand while your pool was hastily ushered to the door.