Is ISIS Truly Muslim or Not?

Islamic State supporters
A man holds up a knife as he rides on the back of a motorcycle touring the streets of Tabqa city with others in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city Aug. 24. (Reuters/Stringer)

It was a familiar September scene for most Americans. Too familiar. Thirteen years ago Thursday, George W. Bush spoke to the nation from the same Oval Office as President Obama did Wednesday night, both determined to hunt down the terrorists who threaten our country.

While the circumstances surrounding the speeches were different, the enemy is not: Muslim militants who demand the world submit to their form of Islam or be killed. For people watching Wednesday night's speech on ISIS, just one day shy of the 9/11 anniversary, it was an eerie and solemn reminder that the evil that robbed our nation of 2,977 bright lives still lurks.

After the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children, and two American journalists, the flippant remarks of ISIS being a JV team were not uttered last night. But obviously, the administration still lacks a basic understanding of these extremists. In all 1,996 words of his address, none were more shocking than these: "ISIL is not Islamic." Exactly what part of "Islamic State" does the president not understand? If these terrorists aren't Muslim, then someone ought to tell them that.

The reality is, our military is about to put their lives on the line, and they need a strategy driven by national security—not political correctness. U.S. troops can't win a war armed with liberal "tolerance." If the president can't even identify the enemy, how can he destroy it? One of the most crucial pieces of this ISIS puzzle is acknowledging the theological motivations of radical Islam. Anything less is a death sentence.

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Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, thinks the administration needs a reality check.

"I believe that many of the elements [Obama] advocated are important, and I support them. However," he said, "they are not enough to achieve his own stated goal of defeating ISIS."

And he wasn't alone. Plenty of leaders are concerned the president's approach is not enough—a fear shared by the region's Iraqi Christians.

"Only Americans can fix it," said one man on the ground in the region. "They should just send their soldiers into Iraq and Syria, not just fight from the air."

Another one of the hundreds of thousands of Christians driven from his home was disappointed by the Obama strategy: "When the Americans were in Mosul, we had no problems. When they left, the troubles started."

It's not enough to manage the problem—we need to eliminate it. The president continues to tie our hands by limiting the actions he'll take to destroy the threat from ISIS by saying he will not "put boots on the ground," rather we will depend on "partners." Now is not the time to rely on unnamed partners; it's time for America to act decisively against ISIS.

"Diplomacy and coalition-building are hard work and not easy for any president. But Obama has mostly been seen fund raising, vacationing, speaking about climate change and playing golf," Richard Grenell wrote bluntly. "The only people who feel reassured thus far by Obama's analysis of ISIS is ISIS itself."

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.

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