Mitt Romney: Jihadism Is Not Part of Islam
With Obama's big speech to the Muslim world in the offing, I asked Mitt Romney in an interview yesterday about a major speech on national security that he gave on Monday at the Heritage Foundation (see above video). In it, Romney referred to Islam only insofar as he referred to "jihadism," a term he used four times in the address, and to "mullahs" and "ayatollahs."
I asked Romney how he'd respond to Muslim complaints that his speech characterized Islam in entirely sinister terms. His response surprised me:
I didn't refer to Islam at all, or to any other religion for that matter. I spoke about three major threats America faces on a long term basis. Jihadism is one of them, and that is not Islam. If you want my views on Islam, it's quite straightforward. Islam is one of the world's great religions and the great majority of people in Islam want peace for themselves and peace with their maker. They want to raise families and have a bright future.
There is, however, a movement in the world known as jihadism. They call themselves jihadists and I use the same term. And this jihadist movement is intent on causing the collapse of moderate Muslim states and the assassination of moderate Muslim leaders. It is also intent on causing collapse of other nations in the world. It's by no means a branch of Islam. It is instead an entirely different entity. In no way do I suggest it is a part of Islam.