Obama: What Exactly Would Using "Radical Islam" Change? A "Political Distraction"


President Obama addressed the use of the term "radical Islam" in a speech delivered at the U.S. Treasury Department. Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized the president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for their reluctance to use the term. While Obama used the term, he said it will make the U.S. less safe not more safe by inflaming Islamic terrorists abroad. He argued that using the term "radical Islam" is not a military strategy to be used to defeat ISIS.

President Obama said the anti-Muslim sentiment is "doing the work for them," referring to terrorists.

"Let me make a final point, for a while now the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize the administration and me for not using the phrase 'radical Islam,' the President said. That's the key they tell us. We cannot beat ISIL unless we call them 'radical Islam.' What exactly using this label would accomplish and what will it change? Will it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring more allies for military strategy than it is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away."

"This is a political distraction," Obama declared passionately.

"I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world's great religions," Obama said.

"There is not a moment where we have not able to pursue a strategy because we didn't use the label 'radical Islam,'" President Obama said.

"Not once has an advisor, man, if we use that phrase, we are going to turn this whole thing around, not once. So someone seriously thinks that we don't know who we are fighting? If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are -- that would come to a surprise of the thousands of terrorists we have taken on our battlefield," Obama said.

Obama also cited religious freedom as a defense against profiling American Muslims.

"Where does this stop?" Obama said. "Muslim-Americans. Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith?"

"Do Republican officials actually agree with this?" Obama rhetorically asked.

Obama's full statement:

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