Wiesenthal Center to Obama: You Must Name ‘Islamist Terrorism’ as Key Threat

Barack Obama
Barack Obama / AP
February 19, 2015

A leading human rights organization is calling on President Barack Obama to start getting specific about the massive threat posed by "Islamist fundamentalism."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-profit that combats anti-Semitism, said on the heels of the White House’s controversial Countering Violent Extremism Summit (CVE) that Obama has failed to clearly label the threat of radical Muslims.

Obama’s White House and State Department has faced regular criticism for refusing to name radical Islam as the top global terrorism threat.

The Wiesenthal Center said in its statement that it is time for Obama to get specific.

"The existential threat that confronts the world today has a name—Islamist fundamentalism—and has addresses—ISIS, al Qaeda, and their ilk," Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, dean and founder and associate dean of the Center, said in a statement.

"We must also be honest in acknowledging the scope of the problem," they said. "The number of Muslims sympathetic to Jihadists, could, according to a 2013 Pew poll, could far exceed 200 million—more than the total populations of the Axis Powers at the beginning of WWII."

Notable Muslim leaders have not been vocal enough in their condemnations of radical jihadi terrorists such as the Islamic State (IS) and others, Hier and Cooper said.

"After the murders in Paris, Copenhagen, after the beheading of Christians in Libya, the world still awaits an outpouring of criticism by leading Imams around the world of the targeted killings by ISIS of innocent Christians, Jews, and Muslims," they say.

"We urge the United States to join with and empower countries who are suffering blows from these terrorists, including, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Western European nations, and work together quickly to kill the terrorists, destroy their infrastructure and destroy this mushrooming terrorist threat to the world."

"However, we urge the president to prioritize the military defeat of ISIS and other theologically-driven Islamist terrorist groups who are marching across the Arab world—beheading, burning alive, kidnapping, and murdering all those who stand in the way of the establishment of a global caliphate," Center officials added.