President Obama’s refusal to label certain acts of terrorism and the motives behind them as “Islamic” has been used as a frequent attack by Republicans. During a televised presidential town hall on Sept. 28, President Obama was asked to defend his decision not to use the term.
"My son gave his life for acts of terrorism," Tina Houchins, a Gold Star mother in attendance at the event, began, reports CNN. "Do you still believe that the acts of terrorism are done for the self-proclaimed Islamic religious motive? And if you do, why do you still refuse to use the term ... Islamic terrorist?"
Obama began his response by calling the issue “sort of manufactured."
"Terrorist organizations like al Qaeda or ISIL – [t]hey have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse for basically barbarism and death," Obama said. "These are people who've killed children, killed Muslims, take sex slaves, there's no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do."
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"But what I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who, in this country, are fellow troops and police officers and fire fighters and teachers and neighbors and friends," he continued.
The president then suggested that the term was most potently dangerous when "a president or people aspiring to become president get loose with this language."
"You were clearly talking about the Republican nominee Donald Trump just then --" CNN’s Jake Tapper asked.
"No, I wasn't," Obama said. "It's not unique to the Republican nominee. Look, I'm trying to be careful, we're on a military base, I don't insert partisan politics into this. I think that there have been a number of public figures where you start hearing commentary that is dangerous. Because what it starts doing is it starts dividing us up as Americans."
“Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country,” Donald Trump said of President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during an August campaign rally, according to Politico. “Anyone who cannot condemn the hatred, oppression and violence of Radical Islam lacks the moral clarity to serve as our President.”