A senior State Department official on Saturday said that there is "nothing religious" about the Islamic State's reported execution of a Japanese hostage.
Rick Stengel, an undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, took to Twitter to condemn the killing of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, who has been held for ransom by the terror group along with Japanese freelance reporter Kenji Goto.
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"Brutal criminal murder of Japanese citizen #Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group #Daesh," Stengel tweeted after the Islamic State released video of the killing. "Nothing religious about it."
Stengel's apparent refusal to acknowledge that IS's radical Islamic beliefs played a role in the execution comports with other recent statements by Obama administration officials, who have refused to use the terms Islamic extremism or radical Islam when discussing the issue of terrorism.
Stengel came under fire from Twitter users following his statement, which they described as "amazingly dumb" and detached from reality.