Multiple choice question:
Why don't Obama and others call Islamist terrorism by a name — some name, pick one, there are many available — that connects the violence to the religion and doesn't try so hard for a disconnect, a firewall, as it were, between them?
A) They don't want to be Islamophobes, don't want to fuel hatred of Muslims. This is laudable Enlightenment stuff, for sure.
B) They may not know any better. The article in the current Atlantic Monthly
leaves no doubt that there is in fact a connection between ISIS style terror and a reading of Islamic tradition that centers on the reconstruction of a caliphate. Is this all Islam, all Muslims? Of course not. But it is some. Is it the majority? Again — yawn — not. But this would not be the first time in history that a disciplined and violent religiously and/or ideologically inspired minority makes all the awful difference.
C) They don't want to point the finger at Islam because they are defensive about their own religious traditions, as in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism — yes, even Buddhism! — and Hinduism.
They don't want to take religion on, don't want to offend Popes, rabbis, gurus, imams, ayatollahs. They don't want even to entertain the thought that the split between religious and secular behavior and values might be absolutely fundamental.
What if it is?