In anticipation of Thursday's House Homeland Security Committee hearing on radicalization of American Muslims, National Security Adviser Denis McDonough spoke about the subject to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center) in Northern Virginia.
President Obama is determined to make sure that the United States does not "play into al-Qaeda's narrative" about its fight against freedom, McDonough said.
"There is no one easy profile of a terrorist," he said. "But based on extensive investigations, research and profiles of the violent extremists we've captured or arrested, and who falsely claim to be fighting in the name of Islam, we know that they all share one thing – they all believe that the United States is somehow at war with Islam, and that this justifies violence against Americans."
In response, the Obama Administration is moving to expose "the lie that America and Islam are somehow in conflict. That is why President Obama has stated time and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam."
This argument is deficient on a number of critical points, according to Family Security Matters contributor Bill Siegel, who writes that the White House is deluding itself about the reality of the Islamist threat. By artificially limiting the threat to a band of "radical extremists" like al-Qaida, the administration is ignoring the other dangers posed by radical Islam.
Al Qaida is only "a piece" of the terrorism threat, according to Siegel. "The second level, the 'Civilization Jihad,' is a term used by the Muslim Brotherhood to describe its long term effort to peaceably infiltrate American and Western society at all levels in order to bring it down from the inside.
By pretending that the Islamists' war against the West is confined to violence, Western political elites seek to retain a greater measure of "control" over their fate, Siegel maintains. They minimize the danger by deluding themselves into believing that if they behave in a more enlightened way towards Muslims, Islamists will realize that the West is not their enemy. The problem is that the Islamists reject the premise.
McDonough's statement that the United States isn't at war with Islam may sound nice "but does little to eliminate the fact that the enemy has declared it so. We can walk away and pretend there is no war" and "follow the deceptive words of those in this country engaged in Civilization Jihad who attack us," Siegel writes. "Yet that path leads only to further the cause of the enemy."