A leading international Arab newspaper has hailed U.S. President Barack Obama for officially removing the description “Muslim terrorist” as part of his campaign “to reach out to the Muslim world.” The op-ed did not note the radical Muslim bacgkround of the terrorists and reasoned they are equal to other terrorists whose religion is not connected with their acts.
Osman Mirghani, the deputy editor-in-chief of 'Al-Sharq Al-Awsat,' which is owned by a Saudi Arabian company and published in London, wrote an op-ed last week under the headline "Why Didn't Obama Mention Islam?." The Obama administration has broken from the Bush government’s policy of using the term “Islamic terrorism” in official documents and "no longer [is] responding to extremist voices" that call for targeting home countries of terrorists, he explained.
He said the president is carrying out his pledge in his “reaching out to Muslims speech” at Cairo University in June 2008. Regarding Obama's statements on the botched Times Square bombing, the editor praised President Obama for not once referring to prime suspect Faisal Shahzad’s being Muslim and for not “mentioning Islam in discussing the terrorist operation."
The same approach was taken after the failed Christmas Day bombing by Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalib. “Obama spoke about the detained terrorist as a member of the Al-Qaeda organization but he did not speak about him being a Muslim,’ Mirghani wrote. “Even when he spoke about Al-Qaeda, Obama noted that it was not the first time that the network had targeted America, ignoring the links that were made in the past between the organization and Islam or when it was put in the context of 'Islamic extremism.'"
Similarly, after the Fort Hood, Texas attack by a Muslim terrorist who murdered 13 people last November, “President Obama 'cautioned against jumping to conclusions’” and did not refer to the terrorist's Arab origin or religion.
The article did not mention that most, if not all, Arab terrorists are indoctrinated by Muslim extremism. Instead, the editor argued that describing terrorists as Muslims actually provokes more terror. “There is recognition today of the fact that terrorists are benefiting from the creation of an anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim atmosphere after any terrorist operation, and that issuing statements or taking steps that target Muslims employed by extremist groups further spreads hostility against the U.S., the West, and even moderate Islamic states,” he reasoned.
Th writer argued that “the identity of the terrorist does not necessarily implicate the country he belongs to, in the same way that other adherents of the religion the terrorist follows should not be condemned."
He accused former President George W. Bush of being “captive to the Big Stick policy and slogans of 'you're either with us or against us,' which caused the popularity of the U.S. to wane, not only in the Islamic world but in numerous countries around the world." In contrast, he continued, “The new president has extended his hand to the Islamic world,… and the tendency to link every terrorist operation to the religion of the perpetrator has disappeared.”