In Speech on Islam, Trump Skips a Favorite Phrase

He does not refer to 'radical Islamic terrorism'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2017 12:50 PM CDT
Trump Ditches Phrase 'Radical Islamic Terrorism'
President Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump is making headlines not only for what he did say in Saudi Arabia, but for what he didn't say. Specifically, he did not utter the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" when addressing Muslim leaders from around the world. That's a departure for Trump, who used the phrase frequently on the campaign trail and criticized opponents who failed to do so. National security adviser HR McMaster had been among those encouraging the president to drop the phrase, which is largely seen as offensive in the Muslim world, and McMaster seems to have won the day.

In excerpts released in advance, the White House had shifted to a more subtle phrase of "Islamist extremism." In the actual speech, however, Trump veered from that slightly and used the word "Islamic" instead of “Islamist” several times, notes the Washington Post. For example, when referring to the fight against terrorism, Trump spoke of “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.” Earlier, McMaster told ABC News that the president would use whatever phrase he wants. "But I think it's important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that these are not religious people," he said. They are "enemies of all civilizations" who seek "to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war." (More President Trump stories.)

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