Two unlikely liberals went to battle over the war on terror and Islam’s place in the struggle. Bill Maher and President Obama may not have been speaking to each other, but their rhetoric on the issue was so similar, yet coming from to starkly opposing viewpoints, that it almost seemed as if they were debating!
President Obama was speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about his administration’s refusal to get serious about the threats faced by our nation today when he turned to some “medieval” terminology.
Fareed Zakaria: Lindsey Graham says that he’s bothered by the fact that you won’t admit that we’re in a religious war. There are others who say that the White House takes pains to avoid using the term “Islamic terrorists.” So my question to you is, are we in — are we in a war with radical Islam?
President Obama: You know, I think that the way to understand this is there is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam. And they are doing damage in a lot of countries around the world.
But it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam. And I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for. Order, peace, prosperity.
And so I don’t — I don’t quibble with labels. I think we all recognize that this is a particular problem that has roots in Muslim communities. And that the Middle East and South Asia are — it’s very ground zero for us needing to win back hearts and minds particularly when it comes to young people. But I think we do ourselves a disservice in this fight if we are not taking into account the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject this ideology.
I’m not sure if the President’s comments were directed at Republicans (they seem to have been), but the President would do well to realize that many within his own party agree with us. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been outspoken in her calls for the White House to get serious about our fight against radical Islam, but so has popular liberal media figure Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time.
Speaking of business. The president went on a customer service call this week to India. And then he cut short that trip, which I thought was kind of strange, to go to Saudi Arabia. Usually it’s not the president who deals with funerals, that’s what we have Biden for. But he went to Saudi Arabia to shake hands with, I mean, to meet with the guys who wouldn’t shake hands with his wife. And I thought when she wouldn’t wear the headscarf that she was kind of making the kind of statement that I’ve been trying to get across here for a long time. Which is stop respecting their medieval bullsh** under the guise of it’s their culture. Right?
Cultural relativism is nonsense. It’s the 21st century. You won’t shake hands with a woman? You’re the ones who should be embarrassed, and if that’s judgmental, good. I’m judging, yes. I’m judging that that’s fu**ed up. And that you’re the bigots. I’m not the bigot. You’re the bigot.
These two guys are usually both wrong… but in this case, I tend to agree with Maher. No one is saying that every Muslim is a violent terrorist, but the President is wrong if he doesn’t think that millions of Muslims have some sympathy for these terrorist monsters.