A mother whose son died in Iraq challenged President Obama on why he refuses to link Islam with terror attacks.
Tina Houchins, a Gold Star Mom from Virginia, asked Obama if he believes that acts of terrorism are being done with religious motivations.
“If you do, why do you still refuse to use the term ‘Islamic terrorist?'” she asked.
Obama, taking questions at a CNN town hall focused on military and veteran’s issues, gave a six-minute-long answer, calling it a “sort of manufactured” issue.
He said groups like al Qaeda and ISIS have no “religious rationale,” arguing they have “perverted and distorted Islam” in order to carry out acts of “barbarism.”
“These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves. There’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way the things that they do,” he said.
“I have been careful about when I describe these issues, to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country. Who are peaceful, who are responsible, who in this country, are our fellow troops and police officers and firefighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.”
Obama continued that many Muslims in the U.S. and overseas object to hearing the phrase “Islamic terrorist.”
“The way it’s received by our friends and allies around the world is that somehow Islam is terroristic.”
The president said that makes moderate Muslim nations feel that they’re “under attack” and makes it harder to get them to cooperate in the fight against terrorists.
Overall, he said that it’s not a “huge deal” to him if someone chooses to say “Islamic terrorism,” but questioned what would happen if an organization started killing in the name of Christianity.
“As a Christian, I’m not gonna let them claim my religion and say you’re killing for Christ. I would say ‘that’s ridiculous. That’s not what my religion stands for.'”
Watch the full exchange below and let us know your opinion of the president’s response.
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