THE NATIONAL INTEREST — Obama responded quickly and forcefully to the horrific mass-casualty attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning, condemning it later that day as “an act of terror and an act of hate.” And his eloquent reminder that attacks on any American, “regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation,” is an attack “on all of us” of course echoed the most basic truism about what defines Americans as a people.
But perhaps more important than what the president said, is what he still will not say. And it is these omissions that serve as a stark reminder that his administration remains unable or unwilling to speak openly and honestly about the nature of the threat posed by the militant Islamist movements that have grown in strength and number during his time in office. Worst of all, this lack of candor is clearly impacting our ability to effectively fight Islamic terrorism.
First and foremost, the Orlando attack was not an “act of hate”—it was an act of war. Yes, the attacker, a Muslim American named Omar Mateen, specifically targeted America’s gay community. But to make that a prime focus of attention exposes a key blind spot for this administration (and for the West in general) regarding the militant Sunni (Salafist) ideology that underpins today’s jihadi movements.
For nearly a century, these movements—from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to Jamaat-e-Islami in South Asia, to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS)—have been unabashedly at war against not only the West’s undue influence in the Arab and Muslim world, but against Western liberal philosophy in general, specifically the West’s open and tolerant way of life. Yet the manner in which Western leaders often choose to characterize the violence perpetrated on behalf of such movements says much about their own Western preferences and biases.
• CRAIGSLIST AD WARNS: ‘SAN DIEGO YOU ARE NEXT’ — 10 NEWS