National Security & Defense

Has an American President Ever Denied the Existence of the Greatest Threat to Our Country?

President Obama at the Countering Violent Extremism meeting (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Read through this president's latest speech on Islam — no president has indulged in this kind of delusion about our biggest threat.

Regarding Islamic violence — the greatest world evil since Nazism and Communism — the president of the United States, his administration, and the Left generally live in a make-believe world, a world of denial.

In their world, Islam is today and has always been a religion of peace; Muslims are threatened by Islamophobia; Christians are wiped out by “violent extremists”; European cartoonists incite radical Muslims to murder them; fundamentalists of all religions are equally problematic; the hundreds of millions of Muslims who support violent Islamists have nothing to do with Islam, but the Inquisition was conducted by normative Christians; and slavery was defended in the name of Christ, but no mention is made of the far more ubiquitous (and ongoing) slavery in the name of Allah or of the fact that the movement to abolish slavery in the West was driven by Christians

Nothing better reflects those Orwellian beliefs than President Barack Obama’s speech last week at the conclusion of the absurdly named Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

President Obama said of the killings in North Carolina two weeks ago: “With the brutal murders in Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid.”

The president made this comment — at the beginning of his address — despite the fact that there is not a shred of evidence that the three young Muslims were killed because they were Muslim. They were murdered by a man angry at them about an ongoing parking-place dispute. It was the height of irresponsibility to cite these terrible murders as a possible example of religious hate.

Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths — which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths.  It’s not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.What is he talking about? In America are Christians killing Jews? Jews killing Muslims? Buddhists killing Mormons? Mormons killing Hindus? “Not unique to one group”? Other than Muslims murdering Christians, Jews, Yazidis, and other Muslims, who in the world today is committing mass murders in the name of their religion?

We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.

Normative Islam demands theocracy. Does the president not know that? Does he not know that 91 percent of Iraqis and 89 percent of Palestinians believe that sharia should be the law of the land? That 29 percent of Egyptians believe that suicide bombings are justified? That the majority of Muslim-majority countries have blasphemy and/or apostasy laws? And if he did, would he say they are all perverting Islam?

The terrorists . . . no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.

More make-believe moral equivalence. What Christians, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus are “killing innocents in the name of God”?

And what religion other than Islam has scriptures that exhort its followers to slay unbelievers?

No religion is responsible for terrorism; people are responsible for violence and terrorism.

I wish he would say that about criminal gun use: “No guns are responsible for violence; people are responsible for violence.”

We also need to lift up the voices of those who know the hypocrisy of groups like ISIL firsthand, including former extremists. Their words speak to us today. . . . “This isn’t what we came for, to kill other Muslims.”

Whoever made this comment was quite possibly just joining the Islamic State or another jihadist group in order to murder, rape, burn, and behead non-Muslims. This is a voice the president wants to lift up?

If we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism . . . countries have to truly invest in the education and skills and job training that our extraordinary young people need.

Spoken like a true leftist: The answer to evil is material, not moral. If only people had more money in their pockets, there would be few violent Islamists.

The reason Muslims gravitate toward violence is a broken moral compass, not a lack of education or jobs.

The essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; it’s more democracy.

The Muslim Brotherhood was democratically elected in Egypt. Hamas was democratically elected in Gaza.

Democracy is only as good as the values of its voters.

Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding. . . . The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s.

Given that America was founded in 1776, doesn’t the second sentence belie the first?

Never before in American history has an American president denied the existence of the greatest evil of his day. That should make everyone — except the Islamist terrorists he won’t name — very uneasy.

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at


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