The problem with what Hillary Clinton just said about Orlando

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In December, Hillary Clinton explained to ABC News why she was siding with President Obama and declining to use the phrase "radical Islam."

It doesn't do justice to the vast number of Muslims in our country and around the world who are peaceful people. … It helps to create this clash of civilizations that is actually a recruiting tool for ISIS and other radical jihadists who use this as a way of saying, "We are in a war against the West—you must join us."


Now she seems to have changed her mind.

On Monday morning, Clinton used the phrase "radical Islamism" twice while appearing on cable news shows to discuss the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.


"I have clearly said we—whether you call it, radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either," she said on CNN. "I think they mean the same thing."

Later, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," she said, "We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it, it's the same."

Clinton also said on Monday that she didn't want to "demonize, demagogue, and declare war on an entire religion." But by her own standards from December, she seems prepared to do just that.


Anti-Muslim demagogues have been harping on President Obama and other Democrats to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism." Donald Trump has repeatedly called out Clinton and Obama for declining to use it.

After the massacre in Orlando, Trump released a statement attacking the president and Clinton for their refusal to talk about "radical Islam":

In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words "Radical Islam." For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words "Radical Islam" she should get out of this race for the Presidency.


The phrase "radical Islamism" may be an attempt by Clinton to play on the political distinction between "Islam" and "Islamism," which some scholars have attempted to emphasize over the years.

Still, the phrase goes beyond what the president and Clinton have been willing to say to date. They usually opt to talk about "violent extremism" without singling out or demonizing any religion.


Fusion reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations for its perspective.

"CAIR believes it is better to use terms like terrorists, outlaws and criminals to describe groups like Daesh as opposed to the term Clinton used," CAIR spokesman Corey Saylor said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. "Using terms like 'Radical Islam' empowers groups like Daesh and give them what they want."


Fusion also reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

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