Dem Senator: Boko Haram not part of Islam
What exactly is Senator Jeanne Shaheen saying here?
New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen says Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist group that has kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian girls from their families and forced them to convert to Islam, should not be confused with Islam. The Democrat made the point in a Thursday hearing.
One of the hearing's witnesses, State Department official Robert Jackson, prompted Shaheen's comment when he argued that "Boko Haram's philosophy is not an Islamist philosophy."
"I agree and I’m glad you made that point," said Shaheen. "Clearly, we need to make sure Islam is not confused with some of these horrible terrorist acts that have been and continue to be perpetrated by terrorists groups."
The Boko Haram organization seeks to overthrow the government of Nigeria and install an Islamic state. As the BBC notes, the group "promotes a version of Islam which makes it 'haram', or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society."
Republican Scott Brown, who is challenging Shaheen for her seat, said in a statement that it is "naive" to say Boko Haram has nothing to do with Islam. The Brown campaign has also pointed out that when he represented Massachsuetts in the Senate, Brown introduced a bill in 2012 that would have designated Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, though it died in committee. The senator also sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to do the same.
I'm confused. When a fundamentalist Christian throws a bomb at an abortion clinic, no one disputes the fact that the bomb thrower is a Chrstian. Obviously, most people would not interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ to include violence of any kind. But no one claims that the bomber isn't a member of the Christian religion.
And Shaheen - and that State Department official - should be very careful. Are they saying that all Islamists are not really Muslims? This would come as a huge surprise to the overwhelming majoirty of Muslims - most of whom don't necessarily want to live under a Taliban style interpretation of Islamism but are very comfortable living in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Iraq where sharia and the Koran are the basis for all laws.
In her eagerness to show that Shaheen has a nuanced view of terrorism, she botches it badly and only comes out looking like a naive fool.