The Corner

My Error: The Timing of Hillary Clinton’s Statement about Islam

I made a sloppy factual error in my weekend column, which was about our national refusal to grasp the fact that radical Islam and jihadist terror are catalyzed by an ideology that is rooted in Islamic scripture (and in a legitimate interpretation thereof). The error involved the timing of a statement by Hillary Clinton absolving Islam of any involvement in terrorism. The error does not at all change the argument I made in the column. It also does not alter a bit the substance of Mrs. Clinton’s position – I quoted her accurately; what I got wrong relates to which of the several recent terrorist attacks in France she chose to make the statement after.

My column noted that last week’s jihadist mass-murder attack in Nice is the latest in a long line of such attacks, in the U.S. and overseas, since the start of the Obama administration. I contended that rather than acknowledge the nexus between Islam and violence, our top officials’ knee-jerk response is to defend Islam. In that vein, I quoted a tweet that I mistakenly understood Mrs. Clinton to have put out in the aftermath of the Nice attack:

Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.

This is actually a statement that Mrs. Clinton issued on the morning of November 19, 2015, in the aftermath of the jihadist mass-murder attack in Paris on the night of November 13, 2015.

I regret the error. Here is how it happened. After the Nice jihadist mass-murder attack occurred on Bastille day (July 14) during the late night hours, the statement Mrs. Clinton’s made after the Paris attack reappeared on Twitter, in the form of re-tweets. I saw a number of these. They did not show the old date, just the statement. Because of the context, I wrongly assumed they reflected a statement issued after the Nice attack. I had no doubt about the authenticity of the tweet since it clearly came from Mrs. Clinton’s account, but I obviously should have checked further into the tweet, or looked at the timeline of the tweets on Mrs. Clinton’s account, in order to find a date and time stamp. I am traveling at the moment, but a friend alerted me last night that I might be wrong about the timing. After checking into it early this morning, I found that I was wrong, so I am correcting it at this first opportunity. I will make a notation and correction to the column as well.

Since I have inadvertently misrepresented Mrs. Clinton’s statements following the Nice attack, let me now clarify what she actually said last week. She tweeted the following: “‘Every American stands in strong solidarity with the people of France’ – Hillary on the attack in Nice.” Her campaign also put out a more detailed statement:

Once again, it appears that terrorists have struck at one of our closest allies in Europe, attacking families celebrating the history and culture of their country on Bastille Day. Every American stands in strong solidarity with the people of France, and we say with one voice: we will not be intimidated. We will never allow terrorists to undermine the egalitarian and democratic values that underpin our very way of life. This cowardly attack only strengthens our commitment to our alliance and to defeating terrorism around the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured, along with all our friends in France.

Plainly, Mrs. Clinton has shifted her focus without changing a whit the substance of her position. The statement she issued after the Paris attack in defense of Islam and absolving Muslims of involvement in terrorism – i.e., denying what should be the undeniable Islamic ideological and doctrinal roots of jihadism – was at least a strong statement of her dangerously wrong position. She did not (and would not) recant any of it after the Nice attack; she simply decided not to make any mention of Islam at all (vigorous defenses of Islam in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks by Muslims being politically unpopular).

In context, her statement after Nice absolves Islam by silence. Otherwise, it consists of a welcome expression of solidarity with our French allies; a claim of determination not to be intimidated or have our way of life undermined that is risible under circumstances in which the Obama-Clinton policy of willful blindness to sharia supremacism has invited more attacks; and the seemingly obligatory assertion that the attack in Nice was “cowardly,” which is mindless for the reasons argued in my column.

In sum, Mrs. Clinton stands by what she said after the Paris jihadist attack. So while I kick myself over an error about the timing of her remarks, I stand by what I wrote after the Nice jihadist attack.

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