Among Western leaders President Obama has arguably gone the furthest in distancing the terrorist atrocities committed by ISIS, from the values and beliefs of the vast majority of Muslims. “The terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims,” Obama said in an 18 February speech on counter-terrorism.
President Obama added: "They propagate the notion that America, and the West generally, is at war with Islam. That is how they recruit, that's how they radicalize young people... It is a lie... We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."
Obama’s comments mirror sentiments expressed this week in an article in the Telegraph by Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Prince Salman said: “Terrorism is not an ideology; we are not merely fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats. I use the term ‘theocrats’ as the current war is not against Islam… It is the ideology that must be combated and defeated. In the process, we can replace the term ‘war on terror’ and focus on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil fascist theocracies.”
Both Obama and Prince Salman go out of their way to demonstrate how ISIS represents the very opposite of what most Muslims stand for. By associating ISIS with Islam we are buying into their propaganda and giving them greater legitimacy.