That was one wild Warren Olney show. Walid Phares made some sensible points, but he is under the impression that it’s a step back for the Obama administration to stop using the word “jihadi” and, if I understood him correctly, thinks that Obama is not sufficiently discussing the connection between Islam, or certain forms of it, and terrorism. To me, this is bass-ackwards. “Jihadi” is a term of approval for millions of Muslims. Why inappropriately award it to al-Qaeda? “Takfiri” or “Irhabi” are more precise. And second: I do not know how you rigorously distinguish between terrorists and non-terrorists when you say that swaths of entire sub-sections of religions are terrorist-prone. Chances are you foreclose on that prospect — and entrench the damaging proposition that the U.S. is at war with Islam.

Finally, a lady whose name I didn’t quite catch kept banging the drum that Muslim clerics need to vigorously denounce extremism. Aziz Poonawalla calmly and overwhelmingly reminded her that happens all the time. She also seemed to be under the impression that you were slandering Islam if you didn’t say that certain sub-sects of Islam are violence-prone and at that point I think I stopped understanding her.

None of this is Warren’s fault, as he put together a vigorous debate and challenged everyone, rather than just opening the floodgates. But, man, it is pretty grim out there.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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