In response to the March 17 letter “Correct labels”: ISIS obviously goes out of its way to convince us it is Muslim because it recognizes that most recruits join because they want to promote and defend Islam. It then seems obvious that the best way to dissuade them is to convince them that ISIS does not represent Islam.
Whether it does is a matter of dispute within Islam, as evidenced by the fact that some prominent moderate Islamic clerics are on record that ISIS’s actions violate Islamic teachings. This is the key fact. If their views can be effectively communicated to potential recruits over the Internet, the latter might be persuaded to reconsider.
President Obama’s purpose in refusing to label ISIS “Islamic” is to support this narrative. I have never seen Republicans explain why calling ISIS “Islamic” confers a strategic advantage to us nor does the letter-writer (his last paragraph is a classic non sequitur).
Republicans in Congress are aware of all this. They nonetheless insist on “calling a spade a spade” because their governing philosophy is to stick it to Obama at every opportunity regardless of its consequences for the country.