National Security

Dem Rep: ‘Bipartisan Concern’ Over Obama Refusal to Label Terrorists as Islamic Extremists

Criticism of the Obama administration's reluctance to use the term "Islamic extremism" continues to grow.

Add Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) as another member of Congress expressing her concern of Obama's denial.

"By his not using this term ‘Islamic extremism' and clearly identifying our enemies, it raised a whole host of questions in exactly what Congress will be authorizing?" Gabbard said. "Who will we be targeting? Who is our enemy? And unless you understand who your enemy is, unless you clearly identify your enemy, then you cannot come up with a very effective strategy to defeat that enemy."

Gabbard said that this is a bipartisan concern over the president's oversensitivity. Her statement has been echoed by Republicans in Congress as well as many members of the media.

The Obama administration has said that these extremists pervert Islam, therefore it is not appropriate to label them as "Islamic extremists." Instead, his staff uses the term "violent extremism."

"Before we start throwing around labels, let’s look more broadly at terrorism," senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett said.

The problem with this philosophy is that it does not address the specific needs to combat and defeat the enemy. Gabbard said that using the term "Islamic extremists" or "radical Islam" is not an indictment on all Muslims. Many Muslims practice their faith peacefully and have integrated with Western society.

There is a small but radical group of Muslims who take the religion to violent extremes, according to Gabbard. These radicals believe in political Islamism and wish to create a theocracy and therefore carry out these horrific acts.

Gabbard believes that this is not just about one terrorist group or another. The terminology U.S. officials use expresses feelings and demonstrates understanding.

"It's a much larger war really that is as much an ideological war as it is a military war," Gabbard said.