FOX "Your World with Neil Cavuto" - Transcript: This is Not a Religious War


Date: Feb. 3, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Defense



PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Should, in fact, this video be authentic, it's just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization. And it Obama just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they are operating off of, it's bankrupt.


CAVUTO: Organization, ideology, not the words a Democratic congresswoman wanted to hear, more like Islamic extremism to fit the bill and the crime.

To Democratic Congresswoman from the fine state of Hawaii, an Army veteran at that, Tulsi Gabbard.

Congresswoman, what do you make of this and what is going on here?


This is just further proof right before our eyes about these Islamic extremists and how far they're willing to go and what is fueling their ideology. This morning, we had a House Armed Services Committee hearing where I questioned Lieutenant General Stewart, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, specifically about the strategic necessity of identifying the intent, the motivation, what drives these Islamic extremists.

And he identified very clearly that it is this radical Islamic ideology that is fueling, not only ISIS, but also Al Qaeda, AQAP, Boko Haram. This is the one common element with all of these different radical extremist, Islamic extremist groups, and that we have to identify this in order to actually come up with an effective strategy to defeat them.

CAVUTO: Don't you think ISIS did that today by killing this Jordanian pilot and that obviously it's incited riots in Jordan?

But it has also divided the Muslim word, between those who practice the faith peacefully, rightly, and those in the extreme case, to your point, do not. So has this actually, in a weird way, Congresswoman, called the president's hand?

GABBARD: Well, no.

I think what this has done, it has clearly divided -- it has clearly provided that dividing line between the vast majority of Muslims who choose to live in a pluralistic, peaceful way with their own lives, choosing their own spiritual paths and letting others choose their own, and these radical Islamic extremists who are conducting these horrific, horrific acts.

So, as we look to what is happening around the world, this division is important because, when you look at some comments that are being made by Senator Lindsey Graham, for example, that this is a religious war, this is not a religious war. This is not a war between Christians and Muslims or a war against all Muslims.

This is clearly a war against this very specific faction of radical Islamic ideology that is fueling these activities and which we must defeat.

CAVUTO: When I hear from many who support the president on this, even the reluctance to go into semantics, they say just that, Congresswoman. It's semantics. What difference would it make? I'm not playing off a Hillary Clinton line here.

But what difference would it make calling them Islamic extremists or whatever you will, that it isn't going to change our posture, how we go after them. What do you say to that?

GABBARD: Well, I think it is important for a couple of reasons, because words have meaning.

So the words that you speak, they actually matter because they express your understanding and your feeling and your intention. And actually when you look at those who are trying to incite religious bigotry and fomenting hatred, saying that this is a religious war, actually calling this for what it is, Islamic extremism, is important because it provides that division between the vast majority of pluralistic Muslims, who are not following this radical ideology, and those that are.

So by calling it whether it's radical Islamists or Islamic extremists, Islamic terrorists, whatever the terminology is, you have to identify what that is in order to provide that dividing line.

CAVUTO: So when the president refers to an organization or an ideology, do you think the type of killing that's been evidenced today -- and I guess this occurred a couple of weeks ago -- changes everything and puts pressure on the president to sort of wake up and realize what's going on?

GABBARD: Well, I think the danger of calling it an organization misses the point that this isn't about one specific group.

And until we recognize that it is this radical Islamic ideology that's fueling this, the name of the group can change. The tactics may change based on a different geographic location or based on what's happening on the ground. And, again, we see this, because we have ISIS. We have al Qaeda. We have Boko Haram and other various groups, especially in the Middle East, but people who are operating around the world.

Each of them have the one commonality of being fueled by this radical Islamic ideology. So we can't say, well, this is about one organization only, because, if we do that, then there's no way we can defeat this enemy and defeat this ideology, both militarily and ideologically.

CAVUTO: Real quickly, Congresswoman, what did you make of the means of this killing, that it wasn't a beheading, it was a burning to death?

GABBARD: It's sickening. It's horrific to watch and to even think about.

And it points to this radicalism that is causing these people to conduct these absolutely horrific, unacceptable activities.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman, thank you. And thank you as well for your service. We appreciate it.

GABBARD: Thank you, Neil. Aloha.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman Gabbard from the fine state of Hawaii.