“I believe strongly – and I hear this over and over again from Muslim leaders in this country – that to refer to ISIL as ‘Islamic extremism’ concedes too much. It dignifies them as occupying some part of the Islamic faith, which is about peace,” Johnson responded.
“And so if you call it ‘Islamic anything,’ uh, we are dignifying this terrorist organization with occupying a part of the Islamic faith which Muslims in this country I know, push back very strongly on,” Johnson said. “So If I went into these [Muslim] communities calling it ‘Islamic extremism,’ I’d get nowhere,” Johnson also stated.
Lizza responded, “Isn’t the government denying the fundamental religious component of this kind of extremism by not using the word, ‘Islamic’?” He then added, “To some people, it sounds like political correctness.”
“I could not disagree more,” Johnson responded. He continued, “ISIL, I think, would like to be referred to as ‘Islamic’ extremism because it therefore concedes that what they are saying and what they are doing occupies legitimately as some form of Islam, which is about peace.”
Johnson then stated that it's of the utmost importance that Muslims here in America don't feel like we are identifying them with terrorists: “And so here domestically, I think it’s critical that in order to build our relationships and build our level of cooperation with the Islamic community here. Um, we have to say to them ‘Look, we understand that what this depraved terrorist organization is doing is no part of your religion.”