During his first “all hands” staff meeting on February 23, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, called terrorism “un-Islamic” and the term “radical Islamic terrorism” not helpful.
Prior to the meeting, retired U.S. Army Col. Peter Mansoor told Fox News that McMaster, with whom he served in Iraq during the 2007 surge of American troops, “absolutely does not view Islam as the enemy… and will present a degree of pushback against the theories being propounded in the White House that this is a clash of civilizations and needs to be treated as such.”
Let us put McMaster’s premise — which is antithetical not only to that of his predecessor, Michael Flynn, but to Trump himself and many of his senior advisers — to the test.
Less than three years ago, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh — a grandchild of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Saudi school of Islam called Wahhabism — said, in an August 19, 2014 statement, that Islamic State (ISIS), and al-Qaeda, are Islam’s “enemy number one.”
This would be a good sign, if not for the fact that four days earlier, Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a Salafi (a strict sect of Sunni Islam advocating a return to the early Islam of the Quran), tweeted: “ISIS is a true product of Salafism and we must deal with it with full transparency.”
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