In the wake of the gruesome ISIS (Daesh) video showing 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians being beheaded in Libya, the Obama White House Sunday put out a statement condemning the atrocity. The statement was noteworthy for what it refused to acknowledge – the Coptic Christian faith of the victims – suggesting an attempt to minimize the religious aspect of the threat of Islamic terrorism.
The White House statement via White House Dossier:
The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Egyptian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens.
ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity. This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL.
Keith Koffler, who is Jewish, finds the omission to be profoundly offensive:
President Obama’s determination to portray Islamist terrorism as merely “extremism” untethered from any religious motivation has now crossed the line from absurdity into profound offensiveness. These people died, horrifyingly, because of their religion. They are martyrs. But not, apparently, in the view of the White House.
Koffler also notes that the killings did not rate a “presidential” statement.
The statement above was issued by the press secretary, a determination that is calculated based on what the White House perceives as its importance.
Fox News’ Todd Starnes was also offended by the statement, noticing that the White House not only refuses to name the enemy – he refuses to name their victims.
“The White House denounced what they called ‘the murder of Egyptian citizens.’ Not Christians – citizens. The president couldn’t even summon the moral courage to speak the truth. They’re called Christians, sir.”
The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants:
The piece is the size of a novelette – but well worth your time.
Western officials would probably do best to refrain from weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate altogether. Barack Obama himself drifted into takfiri waters when he claimed that the Islamic State was “not Islamic”—the irony being that he, as the non-Muslim son of a Muslim, may himself be classified as an apostate, and yet is now practicing takfiragainst Muslims. Non-Muslims’ practicing takfir elicits chuckles from jihadists (“Like a pig covered in feces giving hygiene advice to others,” one tweeted).
I suspect that most Muslims appreciated Obama’s sentiment: the president was standing with them against both Baghdadi and non-Muslim chauvinists trying to implicate them in crimes. But most Muslims aren’tsusceptible to joining jihad. The ones who are susceptible will only have had their suspicions confirmed: the United States lies about religion to serve its purposes.
Make no mistake about the seriousness of the threat posed by the Islamic State, says Charles Krauthammer. In the wake of the murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, “[ISIS] is not just Islamic radicalism anymore, or Islamic terrorism, which is only a tactic. This is really Islamist supremacy. And in that sense, it is akin to Nazism. That was racial supremacy; here it’s Islamist.”
“The ideology of ISIS is clearly supremacist,” said Krauthammer on Monday’s Special Report, “in the sense that anybody who is not Islamic in their understanding is to be either enslaved or eradicated. This is a genocidal movement. You kill Christians, you kill Jews, you kill Yazidis (but you may in certain circumstances enslave them). That’s what we’re up against, and we have an administration that will not even admit that there’s a religious basis underlying what’s going on.”