On Wednesday night during the CNN Town Hall with President Obama, a Gold Star Mother, Tina Houchins, asked the Commander-in-Chief about his hesitation to use the word “Islamic” when referring to terrorists. After telling the President that her son, Corporal Aaron Gautier, gave his life in Baghdad in 2007 while combatting acts of terrorism she asked, “do you still believe that the acts of terrorism are done with a self-proclaimed Islamic religious motives? And if you do, why do you still refuse to use the term racially — I’m sorry, Islamic terrorist?”
“Well, first of all, I want to thank your son, obviously, for his service,” Obama began.
After speaking a bit about Gold Star families, Obama took on the question she posed and called it “manufactured”.
“The truth of the matter is, is that this is an issue that has been sort of manufactured,” he said, “because there is no doubt — and I’ve said repeatedly — that where we see terrorist organizations like Al Qaida or ISIL, they have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death. These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves. There’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do.”
He continued that he remains careful in his language as to not to offend the billions of people who believe in Islam who are not carrying out terrorist attacks.
“But what I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who in this country are our fellow troops and police officers and firefighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.”
“And what I learned from listening to some of these Muslim families both in the United States and overseas is that when you start calling these organizations ‘Islamic terrorists,’ the way it’s heard, the way it’s received by our friends and allies around the world is that somehow Islam is terroristic. And that then makes them feel as if they’re under attack. In some cases, it makes it harder for us to get their cooperation in fighting terrorism.”
“So do I think that if somebody uses the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ that it’s a huge deal?” Obama asked, “No. There’s no doubt that these folks think that — and claim that they’re speaking for Islam. But I don’t want to validate what they do.”
Obama left off with advice as to how to refer to the Radical Islamists that murder and hurt innocent civilians.
“Call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists,” he said, “and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.”