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The Dangerous Illusion of American ‘Good’ vs. Islamic ‘Evil’

Understanding the complex myth behind Trump’s “radical Islamic terrorist” rhetoric

While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly lambasted President Barack Obama for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” and promised that, if elected, he would insist upon the term. Starting in his inaugural address, Trump vowed to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.”

He has simultaneously developed policy to match this single-minded focus ever since. His administration has proposed renaming the federal government’s existing Countering Violent Extremism program—which works with local communities to prevent people from being recruited by extremist groups—to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” If these changes are realized, the program would no longer pursue non-Muslim violent groups, such as neo-Nazi and white supremacist hate groups.

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