A string of Islam-related murders on three continents this weekend has exposed contradictions in President Barack Obama’s risky outreach toward Islamic advocates in the United States and abroad.
The weekend started Feb. 13 with a presidential statement condemning the murder of three U.S.-born Muslims in North Carolina.
“The brutal and outrageous murders” will be investigated by the FBI, and “no one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship,” said the statement, which was attributed to Obama.
The three were murdered, execution-style, by a progressive atheist.
“Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims’ loved ones… we are all one American family,” said the statement.
The statement was released as Obama told his supporters he was trying to shape the 2016 election. “I’ve only got two years left, but two years is a long time,” he said at San Francisco fundraiser Friday. “Two years is also the time in which we’re going to be setting the stage for the next presidential election and the next 10 years of American policy… so I intend to run through the tape and work really hard,” he said.
In contrast, Obama issued a much shorter statement the following day, Feb. 14, when a Muslim man in Denmark machine-gunned a public event celebrating the right to criticize Islam and other religions. The gunman killed a movie director at the meeting, and later shot up a synagogue, killing a young Jewish man.
“The United States condemns today’s deplorable shooting in Copenhagen,” said the short, four-line, three-sentence statement from the White House. “We offer our condolences… [and] stand ready to lend any assistance necessary to the investigation,” said the brief statement.
Obama’s next statement came Sunday evening, after a group of Muslims beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians on a beach in neighboring Libya.
Obama denounced “the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.”
“ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds… This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts… including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai,” said the statement about the Muslim religious murders in Libya.
But Obama downplayed the killer’s Islamic justification for the murders in Libya and Denmark, and the promise of more attacks against Christians.
“ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity,” he said.
Obama also ignored the motivation for the Copenhagen killings, but merely said they were “deplorable.”
In contrast, Obama quickly suggested that the North Carolina killings of the three Muslims were motivated by anti-Muslim attitudes, despite the initial evidence that the killings were prompted by the unemployed killer’s anger over a parking dispute.
“No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship,” said Obama’s statement.
The unproven suggestion of anti-Islamic purpose will likely bind Islamic leaders to Obama’s progressive coalition, and expand the social and cultural divide between Americans and the rapidly increasing population of Muslim immigrants.
The immigrant U.S. Muslim population has grown by roughly 1 million since 2000, up to almost 2.7 million in 2013. The population has grown because the federal government has given work-permits to many devout preachers from Muslim countries, and is offering residency to many migrants from chaotic Muslim countries, such as Somalia and Syria.
The leaders of Muslim groups in the United States are working with Obama’s deputies to help keep Muslim youths and communities divided from U.S. culture. For example, Muslim clerics “and counselors need to be given some leeway” by police when they hear of Muslim terror plots, said Suhaib Webb, the senior cleric at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, at a May, 2013 event at the Center for American Progress.
Obama’s prior statements have already helped exacerbate the deep cultural divide between Americans and Muslims in America.
On Feb. 5, a week before the North Carolina murders, Obama met with a group of immigrant Muslim political leaders to ask for their political support. The president “encouraged the [Muslim] participants to remain civically engaged in their communities, and told them that he looked forward to seeking additional opportunities to continue the discussion of these and other issues,” said a White House statement released after the meeting.
The day after the Feb. 5 White House meeting, Obama sparked a public dispute that pitted Christians against his alliance of progressives and Islamic advocates. He used a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast to place peaceful modern Christianity and combative Islam on the same moral level, by equating Christian violence in the Crusades 1,000 years ago with Muslim violence since the 1980s.
The three weekend statements also showed how Obama is trying to distance himself from his deputies who have described a “broader failure of policy” in the Middle East.
Obama’s Sunday statement about the mass murder in Libya downplayed the White House’s admission that the Islamic State has expanded from northern Syria, and has established a foothold in Libya.
Libya has been in a state of nature, without a strong government or social peace, since Obama’s decision in 2010 to depose Libya’s dictator without deploying any U.S. troops to help establish a peaceful state.
“This heinous act once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya,” said Obama’s Feb. 15 statement.
Obama did not offer aid to the Egyptian government.
Egypt’s government came to power in 2013, when it overthrew a Muslim Brotherhood government that was backed by Obama.
Instead, the Feb. 15 statement on the Libyan beheadings only offered aid to officials in the United Nations who are trying to persuade Libya’s rival Islamic and tribal groups to negotiate a peace deal.
“We call on all Libyans to strongly reject this and all acts of terrorism and to unite in the face of this shared and growing threat [and] we continue to strongly support the efforts of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bernardino Leon to facilitate formation of a national unity government and help foster a political solution in Libya,” said the statement.
In contrast, Obama’s deputies at the FBI and in the Justice Department are jumping into a local police investigation to see if the North Carolina murderer was harboring anti-Muslim attitudes that would justify federal “hate crimes” charges.
“The FBI is taking steps to determine whether federal laws were violated,” said his Feb. 13 statement.
The Justice Department also released a 16-line statement about the North Carolina murders: “I was shocked and saddened by this week’s heinous murders of three young people… we pledge to stand with the families of these three remarkable young people – and with all whose lives were touched by this tragedy – as they begin the long road to healing,” said the statement by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Police officials in North Carolina say they are conducting a complete investigation of the killings.
“We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case,” said Chapel Hill police chief Chris Blue.