On Islam, Trump is consistently inconsistent
Source of the article: CNN
By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor
Washington (CNN)Before President Donald Trump delivered his highly anticipated speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, much of the media focused on one phrase: radical Islamic terrorism.
Would Trump continue to use the term, as he did throughout the 2016 presidential campaign? Or would he find a less controversial variant, like “Islamist extremism,” in front of his Saudi hosts?
In Sunday’s speech, he had it both ways.
“There is still much work to be done,” Trump said. “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”
Briefly, “Islamist” refers to political movements that attempt to implement Islamic law and theology. “Islamic” refers to the religion itself, and many Muslims take offense at associating their faith with violence.
The phrase “Islamic terror” was not in the President’s prepared remarks; his mention of it was an exhaustion-induced oversight, a senior White House official said. But intentional or not, Trump’s language revealed his administration’s two minds on Islam.
On the one hand, Trump pleased American Muslims by calling Islam “one of world’s great faiths,” a departure from his accusation, made just last year, that “Islam hates us.” He also sought to undercut terrorists’ arguments that they embody Islamic ideals. They worship death, not God, the President said. They are “barbaric criminals,” not true believers.
“Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” he said.
Trump also rejected the “clash of civilizations” narrative pushed by some of his senior aides, notably Steve Bannon, who has warned darkly of a looming battle between the West and “Islamic fascism.”
Instead, Trump said: “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”
Shahed Amanullah, a former senior adviser at the State Department, said, “President Trump clearly separated Islam from terrorism, unlike candidate Trump.” Was it “on the job learning, or duplicity?” he asked.