Counterterror experts warn Obama administration

Ignore the role of Islamic extremism at the peril of the country:

The Obama administration’s recent move to drop references to Islamic radicalism is drawing fire in a new report warning the decision ignores the role religion can play in motivating terrorists.

Several prominent counterterror experts are challenging the administration’s shift in its recently unveiled National Security Strategy, saying the terror threat should be defined in order to fight it.

In the report, scheduled to be released this week, counterterrorism experts from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argue that the U.S. could clearly articulate the threat from radical Islamic extremists “without denigrating the Islamic religion in any way.”

President Barack Obama has argued that words matter, and administration officials have said that the use of inflammatory descriptions linking Islam to the terror threat feed the enemy’s propaganda and may alienate moderate Muslims in the U.S.

In the report, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the analysts warn that U.S. diplomacy must sharpen the distinction between the Muslim faith and violent Islamist extremism, identify radicalizers within Islamic communities and empower voices that can contest the radical teachings.

Militant Islamic propaganda has reportedly been a factor in a spate of recent terror attacks and foiled attempts within the U.S. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the suspect in the Fort Hood, Texas, mass shootings last year, is believed to have been inspired by the Internet postings of violent Islamic extremists, as was Faisal Shahzad, who tried to detonate a powerful car bomb last May in New York’s Times Square.

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