To the editor: President Obama, despite facing criticism, has been adamant in making a distinction between Islam and extremism. His words have brought much comfort to Muslims like me in the United States, living in the shadow of Islamophobia. ("President Obama: Our fight against violent extremism," Op-Ed, Feb. 17)
Recent hate crimes toward Muslims are against the American values of freedom and justice. No one should have to die for the way they look or whom they worship.
I am grateful to our president for realizing the importance of separating religion from extremism. Now we can focus on the true causes of terrorism and get a little bit closer in trying to eradicate it.
Huma Munir, San Antonio
To the editor: Applying a term like "violent extremism" to today's worldwide Islamic terrorism indicates that our president goes to great lengths to avoid the use of the term "Islamic terrorism."
It is quite obvious that Obama has either not quite understood the nature of this menace or is too politically correct to call it by its real name. In other words, Obama has not even identified this problem and is therefore unable to formulate a solution for it.
Whether it is political correctness or Obama's denial of reality, in either case it appears that we do not have a president who is quite capable of tackling, this complex issue.
Joseph Azizi, Beverly Hills
To the editor: Obama ignores that the U.S has long supported and armed Saudi Arabia, the largest fount of violent Islamist groups. It has done this even though it has been alleged that the Saudi royal family and government had financial links to persons involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Obama ignores that the U.S. destabilization of Iraq by an illegal war led to the creation of the precursor to Islamic State. He ignores that the U.S. has supported radical Islamists in civil wars in Libya and Syria. He ignores the radicalizing effect of U.S. drone killings.
Such U.S. policies cause rather than stop violent extremism.
Donald Norris, Los Angeles
To the editor: Getting into Iraq wasn't the best decision, but leaving the country prematurely laid the groundwork for groups like Islamic State to exploit people of all religions.
Obama is right on the point that a set of political and economic conditions that render people vulnerable to oppression also allow extremist groups to continue to gain new members and grow. However, he misses the fundamental point: our nation's inability to foster international trust and support for our actions.
When we replace another government in a corner of the world where it normally takes many generations to bridge sectarian divides and then suddenly decide to neglect the security of the people who live in that country, all because our nation is tired of deploying our troops abroad, our voice begins to ring hollow.
As a direct result of that hollowness, extremist groups will continue to disregard our values and our words, and those caught in the middle will only have a few options: be slaughtered or go along to get along.
Jonathan Neuber, Hatfield, Penn.
To the editor: It is refreshing to see that President Obama with his State Department staff has finally determined the truth about Islam and knows how to stop "violent extremism."
According to the president, we must simply proclaim Islam to be a "peaceful" religion, empower our local communities and remind all American citizens and the rest of the world that the pluralism of our country and the example of our free society, of course matched with "economic, educational and entrepreneurial development," will win the hearts and minds of the Islamic State boys.
At last — no need for continued barbarism, murder, torture, slavery, savagery, treachery or imams who proclaim and campaign for an Islamist world order. And to think we were worried — silly us!
Louise Delaney, La Crescenta