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‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ becomes an important issue in the ongoing 2016 US Campaign

President Barack Obama has consistently refused to describe attacks by Muslims in the U.S. as "radical Islamic terrorism,"

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President Barack Obama, left, speaks to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 13, 2016. source: VOA
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  • The fight over how to describe Muslim terrorist acts in the US has affected the country’s 2016 presidential race in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history
  • President Barack Obama has consistently refused to describe attacks by Muslims in the U.S. as “radical Islamic terrorism”
  • Clinton said she had no problem using the term “radical Islamism” as the impetus behind terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims

The fight over how to describe Muslim terrorist acts in the United States has quickly consumed the country’s 2016 presidential race in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump offering divergent thoughts.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat nearing the end of two terms as the American leader, has consistently refused to describe attacks by Muslims in the U.S. as “radical Islamic terrorism,” so as not to denounce the entire Muslim religion and its 1.6 billion adherents around the world.

He maintained that stance, even as U.S. authorities say an American-born Muslim who was the son of Afghan parents shot 49 people to death and injured 53 more at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday. In the hours after the mayhem ended with police killing the suspect, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, Obama described Mateen’s assault as “an act of terror and an act of hate.”

Obama’s Republican critics have often belittled his parsing of the language in describing terrorist attacks, saying it represents weakness in combating a mortal threat to Americans, even as he has ordered a steady round of armed drone attacks against suspected terrorists in the Mideast.
Donald Trump. wikimedia commoms
Donald Trump. wikimedia commoms

Trump, the brash billionaire real-estate mogul who surged to the top of the Republican presidential field with a call to block Muslims from entering the country, dared Obama to change his language about Muslim-launched attacks as the extent of the Orlando carnage became known.

“Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism?” Trump tweeted Sunday, June 12. “If he doesn’t he should resign immediately in disgrace.”

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In another tweet, Trump said, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

Hillary Clinton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Hillary Clinton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Clinton changes rhetoric

Until Monday, Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state during Obama’s first term in office from 2009 to 2013, had also rejected use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” But in the wake of the Orlando attack, she altered her description of such terrorist actions.

Clinton, in several news show interviews, said she had no problem using the term “radical Islamism” as the impetus behind terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims. But she said that words mattered less than actions to combat terrorism and that the United States cannot “demonize, demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.”

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“I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it,” she told one interviewer.

“And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. It matters that we got bin Laden, not what name we called him,” Clinton said.

Clinton, seeking to become the first female U.S. president, said that if Trump “is somehow suggesting I don’t call this for what it is, he hasn’t been listening. I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.” (VOA)

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Khashoggi Report To Be Reviewed By U.S. President Donald Trump Soon

Khashoggi, who wrote opinion columns for The Post and was a critic of the Saudi crown prince, was killed at the Saudi consulate.

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U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey during a bill-signing ceremony at the White House in Washington. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to review a full report from his administration Tuesday about the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey last month.

Multiple U.S. news agencies have cited U.S. intelligence officials saying the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the October 2 killing.

The State Department said publicly Saturday no final conclusions had been reached.

Saudi officials have denied the crown prince had anything to do with Khashoggi’s killing, and Trump has called reports blaming the crown prince as “premature.”

jamal Khashoggi, trump
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. VOA

A Saudi prosecutor cleared the crown prince of wrongdoing last week while calling for the death penalty for five men, announcing indictments against 11. The prosecutor said a total of 21 people had been detained in connection with the killing.

Germany’s foreign minister said Monday that Berlin will ban 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because of their alleged links to Khashoggi’s killing. Heiko Maas said he had consulted with France and Britain before announcing the ban.

“There are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it,” Mass said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels.

Jamal Khashoogi, trump
Salah Khashoggi, right, the son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and his relatives receive mourners at an events hall in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah. VOA

Trump says he has been fully briefed on an audio recording of the killing of the dissident Saudi journalist inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul last month, but has no intention of listening to it because of the violence it depicts.

“It’s a suffering tape. It’s a terrible tape,” Trump told the Fox News cable television station in a White House interview that was recorded Friday.

“It’s very violent, very vicious and terrible,” Trump said.

Asked in the Fox interview if the crown prince lied to him about his involvement, Trump replied, “I don’t know. Who can really know?” adding, “He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points, as recently as a few days ago.”

jamal Khashoggi, trump
This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and made available on Oct. 9, 2018 claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. VOA

Fox interviewer Chris Wallace asked Trump whether he would go along with moves in Congress to cut off U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen or halt arms sales to Riyadh.

Also Read: U.S. President Donald Trump Refuses To Listen To Key Evidence in Khashoggi Murder Case

Trump said it depends, “I want to see Yemen end. It takes two to tango and Iran has to end also. I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.”

Khashoggi, who wrote opinion columns for The Post and was a critic of the Saudi crown prince, was killed at the Saudi consulate while he was trying to get documents for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman. (VOA)