National Security

Hillary Clinton Doubles Down on Refusal to Say ‘Radical Islam’

Hillary Clinton doubled down on her refusal to use the term "radical Islam" during an interview Sunday on ABC's This Week, saying such language was unfair to other Muslims and a "recruiting tool" for the Islamic State.

Clinton sat down with host George Stephanopoulos for a wide-ranging interview on the Sunday talk show. It began with a discussion of the Islamic State's continued threat, especially in the wake of two of its followers executing a massacre in California last week that killed 14 people.

Clinton repeatedly refused to use the term at the Democratic debate last month, raising eyebrows from observers who wondered why she would avoid the obvious characterization.

"You've also been reluctant to say we're fighting radical Islam and I wonder why not? Isn't it a mistake not to say it plain, that the violence is being pushed by radical elements in that faith?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"Well, that's a different thing. Radical elements who use a dangerous and distorted view of Islam to promote their jihadist ambitions, I'm fine with that," Clinton said. "I say it all the time, and I go after Islamists too."

"So what's the problem with radical Islam?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"Well, the problem is that sounds like we're declaring war against a religion, and that to me is, number one, wrong," Clinton said.

"Even though the qualifier ‘radical' is there?" Stephanpoulos asked.

"No, because, look, you know enough about religion, you've studied it, there are radicals, people who believe all kinds of things, in every religion in the world," she said. "I don't want to do that because, number one, it doesn't do justice to the vast numbers of Muslims in our own country and around the world who are peaceful people. Number two, it helps to create this clash of civilizations that is actually a recruiting tool for ISIS and other radical jihadists, who use this as a way of saying, ‘We're in a war against the West. You must join us. If you are a Muslim, you must join us.' No. If you're a law-abiding, peace-loving Muslim, you need to be with us and against those who are distorting Islam."

Stephanopoulos is a donor to the Clinton foundation and former press secretary for Bill Clinton's White House, and he disclosed the conflict of interest at the start of the interview.