The current U.S. National Security Strategy, produced under the Bush Administration, states: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.” But the Obama Administration will remove all references to “Islamic extremism” and other religious terms from its version of the security document. According to reports, the change is championed by Pradeep Ramamurthy, who serves on President Obama’s National Security Council.
If Ramamurthy’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve already read Tablet Magazine Mideast columnist Lee Smith’s piece today. It focuses on Dalia Mogahed, the founder of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Smith specifically notes that Mogahed’s influence at the White House has come largely via … Pradeep Ramamurthy.
Mogahed has encouraged the White House to ‘demonstrate an appreciation for Islam’s contributions to the world, rather than simply reassuring Muslims that we believe Islam is peaceful.’ The point that America needs to make, she says, is that we believe Islam ‘is not just benign but beneficial.’ Speaking to the Muslim world as a great undifferentiated throng slights the specific historical and practical circumstances of individual countries but suits Obama’s self-image as a transformative leader, one who calls on different parts of the globe according to how they structure their fears and hopes and premonitions of the eternal.
Read Smith’s timely piece here.
UPDATE: Mogahed responds to Smith’s profile on Tablet Magazine contributing editor Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog.
Obama Bans Terms ‘Islam’ and ‘Jihad’ From Security Document [AP/Haaretz]
Respectfully Yours [Tablet Magazine]
The Most Influential Muslim at the White House? [Jeffrey Goldberg]