Bolton: Identity Politics Hurts Debate on Radical Islam

Monday, 12 May 2014 08:38 PM

By Greg Richter

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The Obama administration has not used the term "radical Islam" in connection with the terrorist group Boko Haram, which is holding more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls captive, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton says failure to do so hurts the debate about such groups.

The White House and large parts of the academic establishment are afraid to discuss radical Islam and Islamic terrorism because they think doing so insults all Muslims, Bolton said Monday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

But Bolton said singling out terrorist groups who claim Islam as their religion is not an indictment against all Muslims. After all, he said, Muslims are not monolithic.

"There is no such thing as the 'Islamic world,'" he said. "It makes no more sense to talk about that than it does to talk about the 'Christian world.' People have different views, and they have different experiences."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born woman who left Islam and now speaks out against female genital mutilation, defies identity politics, Bolton said, because she is "a black female atheist conservative. And that makes people's heads explode on the left."

Identity politics ignores the merits of an issue, Bolton said, instead focusing on "whose identity trumps whose other identity, and that is fundamentally delusional."

Being a tolerant person is a virtue, he said, but insisting on "contextualizing" debates "so that being a woman trumps being a man, or being black trumps being white, or whatever it is, detaches you from reality and makes it impossible for you to address pending threats," including the Boko Haram kidnappers.

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