President Donald Trump’s national security strategy does not use the phrase radical Islamic terrorism, a copy of the document reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation reveals.
The national security strategy instead uses the phrase “radical Islamist” to refer to the terror phenomenon in stark contrast to Trump’s insistence on using the phrase “radical Islamic” in the past. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has reportedly opposed usage of the phrase “radical Islamic” by Trump in the past going so far as to implore him not to use it in a September address to the United Nations.
McMaster reportedly told staffers during his first weeks on the job that the phrase “radical Islamic” is not helpful to U.S. counter-terrorism partnerships with Muslim majority nations like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. “Even a small change like referring to ‘radical Islamist terrorism’ would be an improvement, in his view,” a White House aide sympathetic to McMaster’s view told Politico in Feb. 2017.
“Islamist” does not implicitly implicate the entire Muslim faith in the practice of terrorism while the usage of “Islamic” does.
The national security strategy document typifies terror groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State as “linked by a common radical Islamist ideology that encourages violence against the United States.” In another section it reads “America, alongside our allies and partners, is fighting a long war against these fanatics who advance a totalitarian vision for a global Islamist caliphate.”
“Radical Islamic terrorism” was a popular refrain for the president throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and he frequently derided former President Barack Obama and his opponent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their refusal to use the phrase. “To solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won’t say the name and President Obama won’t say the name. But the name is there. It’s radical Islamic terror,” Trump declared during a presidential debate with Clinton.
Clinton responded to Trump’s repeated criticism in June 2016 saying “whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.”
A National Security Council spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
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