[guest post by Dana]
Following the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff, John Kerry felt compelled to assure the audience he spoke before today, which was made up largely of Muslims, that Islam is the religion of peace and not what ISIS is representing to the world:
“Those who have murdered James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria need to know that the United States will hold them accountable, no matter how long it takes,” he warned in his speech.
“But here today, what is really important — and I want to take advantage of this podium and of this moment, to underscore as powerfully as I know how — that the face of Islam is not the butchers who killed Steven Sotloff,” he continued, to immediate applause. “That’s [ISIS].”
“The face of Islam is not the nihilists who know only how to destroy, not to build,” Kerry went on. “It’s not masked cowards whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate every single day with their barbarity, and whose fundamental principles they insult with their actions.”
“The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings,” the secretary asserted. “It’s one where Muslim communities are leading the fight against poverty. It’s one where Muslim communities are providing basic health care and emergency assistance on the frontlines of some of our most devastating humanitarian crises.”
(Considering his audience was there to welcome the State’s new “special representative for Muslim communities,” Shaarik Zafar, it would have been a golden opportunity to query the audience with Yasmine Bahrani’s compelling question.)
Also today, Joe Biden was focused on rallying his audience at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard after the latest act of barbarianism of ISIS:
“The American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand,” Biden said. “As a nation, we’re united. And when people harm Americans, we don’t retreat, we don’t forget.
We take care of those who are grieving and when that’s finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell* until they are brought to justice,” Biden said. “Because hell is where they’ll reside.”
Note: Back in 2007, John McCain was attacked for using similar language regarding Osama bin Laden.
Note: I am remiss in not including the president’s comments today. Here’s the long story short:
At a press conference in Estonia, Obama declared that his objective was to “degrade and destroy ISIL.” Moments later, though, Obama said he’d like to pressure the group to render it “a manageable problem.”