The White House lacks "courage" to use the word "Muslims" when admonishing communities to look for extremist tendencies among children, said Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
"They are talking about Muslims. They're talking about Islamism. Yet they don't have the courage to name it. You're not going to have a policy that way. You can't have national security by PR," Jasser told "Fox & Friends" Monday.
The issue came up in a recent speech by a White House official at Harvard University on April 15, the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
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Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, delivered an address titled "Countering Violent Extremism and the Power of Community." She urged American parents, religious leaders, and friends to watch children for tendencies toward terrorism.
Monaco's speech did not mention radical Islam, but stressed the agency's efforts in "stemming domestic radicalization to violence." A number of domestic attacks have had ties to radical Islam, including the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.
"Violent extremism is not unique to any one faith. And, as Americans, we reject violence, regardless of our faith," Monaco told the Harvard Kennedy School Forum.
Jasser said it was "obvious and glaring" that Monaco didn't mention the "issue of [the] radicalization of jihadism, the ideology of radical Islam."
The politically correct culture that downplayed the role of Islamic extremists in violent attacks made the cause of moderate Muslims more difficult, Jasser said.
"Those of us who are doing reform work, that realize that it's Muslims that can fix this, are left in the margins, while the apologists who are in denial and want to put obstacles in our counterterrorism work in this country are working with the White House preventing the work that needs to be done," he said.
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