This past week, Obama has been receiving major backlash for not referring to the military intervention against ISIS as a war on radical Islam. First of, when does Obama not get called out by fellow politicians and the media? He would probably stir controversy if he was doing the exact opposite…just saying!
All Buzzfeed jokes aside, the President’s stand isn’t another careful choice of words. It’s a remarkable humanist move but also a well-thought political strategy. Nothing sums up Obama’s position better than a meme that has been circulating for a while now: the Ku Klux Klan members were never labeled as religious extremists.
Yet, the organization – among many other White supremacy groups – used Christianity as an instrument to implement the most archaic theories. America never perceived the KKK through the lens of religion because the threat was internal. Not a single sane soul needed to hear how far the Ku Klux Klan’s ideology stood from Christianity because America was already familiar with the religion’s founding principles. In the eyes of History, the Klan will always be known for what it truly is: barbaric, inhuman and as Tarantino loved to remind us…moronic.
ISIS is orchestrating the same exact domination plan, but because it’s in the name of a religion little known to Americans, the threat should be considered differently? As Obama said, the fight against ISIS cannot be treated as a religious war unless we want to “Grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders. They are terrorists.” Just like fighting the KKK, this is a fight for human rights.
By not giving into fear and stereotypes, the President is not only lending American Muslims a much needed helping hand, he is attacking ISIS at its core. Obama’s enemies might be too short-sighted to recognize the necessity of his words in times of tension, or maybe anti-discrimination is not on their mood board. But they should at least grasp their political meaning and strength.
ISIS needs to perpetuate the idea that the world is against Muslims in order to turn Muslims against the world. The group feeds directly on Anti-Muslim sentiment and prays at night that Western politicians and journalists entertain that vicious circle. ISIS wouldn’t be such a growing threat without Islamophobia, which is the leitmotif of the group’s recruiting campaign. Unfortunately, the United-States and European countries seem to easily fall into the trap. The President’s choice of words is simply aimed at reversing that dynamic which will eventually help destabilize the organization. That’s if American dares to listen.