Critics of this week's White House summit on violent extremism and terrorism argue it ended up being a shout-out on the Muslim faith – and an opportunity for the Obama administration to portray the Christian community as the enemy.
President Barack Obama hosted the three-day "White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism" ending Thursday, reportedly opening it up each day before numerous anti-Israel and militant-Islam supporting invitees. During his lengthy speeches, the president extolled Islamic adherents in an effort to "continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam."
Not long before the summit began, Obama submitted to pressure and recognized that the 21 men beheaded by the Islamic State on a viral video were Christians – only to later say that terrorists were perverting Islam, insisting that ISIS is not an Islamic group.
"We are not at war with Islam," Obama declared before a summit appearance, setting the tone. "We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."
Some critics contend that Obama is ultimately engaging America to fight for and protect the honor of Islam. In fact, one conservative activist says the administration only appears willing to put a religious designation on a terrorist group when the terrorists aren't Islamic.
"Here's the president of the United States and his various appointees insisting that it's merely violent extremism that's at issue – and with no particular religion connected to it," notes Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union.
No connection, that is, unless the religion isn't Islam, according to Knight. "The president's own spokeswoman at the State Department Marie Harf actually referred to the 'Lord's Resistance Army,' the group of terrorists in Africa – and she called them a 'Christian militant' group," he recalls. "They're as far from Christian as you can get.
"It's interesting that [Harf] would go out of her way to name a religion falsely connected to one group while the president of the United States declines to name the religion that actually is responsible for most of the violence around the planet," he concludes.
Let's just talk about when Muslims are the victims
Staying true to his messaging that precludes terrorist attacks against America from being identified as Islamic in nature, Obama opened up Wednesday's summit meeting by bringing up 9/11, the Fort Hood massacre, and the Boston Marathon bombing — without mentioning that any of the attacks were carried out by Muslims. In fact, of the four terrorist attacks he mentioned, Obama only mentioned the death toll of the one he mentioned that was not carried out by a jihadist: the Oklahoma City bombing.
The president also avoided speaking about the 21 Christians recently beheaded by the ISIS during his half-hour speech Wednesday, or about the two victims who were slain in Canada after answering a question from their Muslim attacker by saying they were not Muslim. Instead, he paid tribute to an isolated slaying of a North Carolina Muslim family.
"Most recently, with the brutal murders in Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid," Obama proclaimed. "And I want to be as clear as I can be: As Americans, all faiths and backgrounds, we stand with you in your grief and we offer our love and we offer our support."
To this, many in the crowd gave the president a loud applause — including at least a half-dozen guests identified as being outwardly anti-Israel and tied to militant Islam. He spent much of the remaining time on day two of the summit proposing opening up more job opportunities for young aspiring jihadists to keep them out of trouble.
A guest list fit for a mosque
Even though Obama considered many of his guests at the summit to be "mainstream" or "moderate" Muslims, a little fact check tells a different story. In what many consider to be the president showing little respect for the survivors and relatives of victims from the Boston Marathon bombing, more than one of his invitees played a very disturbing role in what transpired as the investigation took place following the massacre.
"One Boston Muslim leader taking part in the summit, Nicole Mossalam, has been dishonest about her controversial mosque blocking congregants from giving police information during their investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing," Americans for Peace and Tolerance's (APT) Charles Jacobs and Ilya Feoktistov reported on Breitbart. "Another Muslim leader from Boston invited to the White House summit designed a lawsuit to stop the Boston media from reporting what it knows about the radical nature of the largest Islamic center in New England. In addition, this man, Nabeel Khudairi, persecuted moderate Muslim members of his own mosque after they tried to warn New Englanders about Islamic extremists in their midst."
And that was just the beginning, as the White House opened its doors to Muslims directly connected to the notorious jihadist group that has been classified as an Islamic terrorist group: the Muslim Brotherhood.
"[T]he Islamic Society of Boston's (ISB) Cambridge mosque — the radical Muslim Brotherhood front group attended by the Boston Marathon bombers — was invited to join the summit and is represented there by its executive director, Nichole Mossalam," Jacobs and Feoktistov continued. "[O]ver the past decade, 12 of the ISB's worshippers have either been killed, imprisoned or declared fugitives due to their involvement in terrorist activity. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Ms. Mossalam told media outlets that the ISB urged members to contact law enforcement 'immediately after the bombings in case they knew of anyone who might have been involved.'"
Seven days after the marathon bombing, the ISB issued an email instructing its members not to cooperate with the FBI without consulting it first.
"We have been informed that the FBI may be starting to question some of the community members about the two suspects," the ISB's email read. "Insha'Allah we want to help as much as we can, but of course not put ourselves at risk either. Seeking representation does not imply any guilt on your part but is simply a way of protecting your own rights."
Another person of major concern showing up at Obama's summit is someone who has been documented to be intimately involved with militant Muslim groups – again, a small fact the president ignored during introductions.
"Nabeel Khudairi is the other deeply problematic individual taking part in the White House CVE Summit," Breitbart's report added. "Khudairi is a Boston ophthalmologist and leader of two other extremist groups — the Islamic Council of New England and the Islamic Center of New England. In 2007, our organization, APT, successfully subpoenaed a variety of documents from Nabeel Khudairi during the Islamic Society of Boston's failed defamation suit against Boston's Fox 25, the Boston Herald, and us. In its complaint, the ISB alleged that it had been defamed by our reporting on its extensive ties to Islamic extremism. The ISB was ultimately forced to drop the lawsuit after subpoenas like the one pursued against Khudairi not only supported our original claims, but also began exposing even more of the mosque's extremist links. The documents we obtained from Khudairi showed that he himself was an extremist. It turned out that it was Khudairi who had largely engineered the lawsuit as a means of silencing media and non-profit organizations working to expose and counter Islamic extremism in Boston."
Several other Muslims closely affiliated with militant Muslims and or Islamic terrorist organizations were also noted at the White House conference — an event supposedly designed to deter extremists, not welcome them.
Getting the discourse going at the summit and beyond
Speaking for more than half an hour giving accolades to America's Muslim community and encouraging it not to get radicalized, Obama wasted little time chastening non-Muslims for any fear or "undue" suspicion they had of militant Islamic activities or sentiments taking place in their communities.
Muslim groups in America agree with what Obama had to say, arguing that it is really right-wing conservatives who are the real threat.
"Numerous other studies identify right-wing extremists as the leading threat of ideological violence in the United States," a group called Muslim Advocates stated. "Thus, the government's portrayal of the violent extremist threat in America neglects the overwhelming majority of actual threats, making us less safe, and sends a dangerous message to other Americans about their Muslim neighbors."
Another pro-Muslim group says any suspicion aimed at Islamic communities by concerned citizens is unwarranted and unjust.
"While purportedly aimed to rooting out all violent extremism, they have previously focused only on Muslims, stigmatizing them as a suspect community," The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law alleged. "These programs have further promoted flawed theories of terrorist radicalization, which leads to unnecessary fear, discrimination and unjustified reporting to law enforcement."
Seeing things differently, one critic of the summit argues that only one side of the issue about Islamic terrorism was discussed at the White House.
"This whole summit is geared towards fighting the Christian community," one commenter on Breitbart expressed. "That's who Obama sees as the enemy."
The Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), argues that if Obama really wants to see an end to Islamic terrorism growing on American soil, he had better put his efforts into something other than extolling the Muslim community through three-day conferences at the White House.
"They still have no clear budget for combating domestic radicalization, have put no agency in charge and have been unable to tell Congress how many people are working on the problem," McCaul insisted. "Instead of simply making speeches this week, I urge the president to overhaul his strategy and to develop a bold, actionable plan to confront violent Islamist extremism worldwide and to immediately staunch the flow of fighters seeking to join these barbarians."
Not done, McCaul wasted little time sharing his condemnation of Obama for refusing to even mention the phrase "radical Muslim" when referring to terrorist activities — contending that his motivation is not to offend "moderate" Muslims.
"They won't even call the threat what it is," McCaul asserted. "How can you talk about defeating an enemy you cannot name?"