Islamic Fascism the Enemy, Not Terror, Says Santorum

July 7, 2008 - 7:31 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The United States is not fighting a war against terrorism so much as a war against Islamic fascism, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Thursday. But a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations said Santorum's argument only empowers "extremists."

Days after Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would fight a war against terrorism, starting with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and the group's political benefactors - Afghanistan's Taliban government. But on Thursday, Santorum said labeling the conflict a war against terrorism was politically "safe and misleading."

"Some say we're fighting a war on terror. That's like saying World War II was a war on blitzkrieg. Terror, like blitzkrieg is a tactic of war, used by our enemy," said Santorum at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "It is not the enemy.

"In World War II we fought Nazism and Japanese imperialism. Today, we are fighting against Islamic fascism," he said.

Santorum labeled Islamic fascism "truly evil" and added that it poses "as big a threat today as Nazism or Soviet Communism."

"Islamic fascism is the great test of this generation," he said

The Pennsylvania senator, who faces a strong challenge for re-election this year from Democrat Robert Casey, Jr., blames Iran for the fundamentalism.

"The Islamic fundamentalist structure is Iran. In 1979, (when Iranian students held American diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran hostage) Iran declared itself our enemy, and for the past 27 years they have proved that to be true." Santorum said.

The Iranian regime is trying to "subject the whole world to their fanatical rule," he added.

Corey Saylor, government affairs director for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Santorum's comments give extremists legitimacy.

"Essentially what you are doing when you associate the word Islamic with the actions of what the extremists are doing is you are sort of empowering their own ideology, because you are telling them, 'Yes we think you are Muslims by what you are doing.'"

"The best word to use would be, extremist," Saylor said. "What we're fighting is a war on extremism, whatever its nature," he told Cybercast News Service.

"Just like we don't accept any kind of extremism from Christians, and anyone would easily reject that it's a Christian action to commit a terrorist attack, we would reject their actions as being Islamic," Saylor asserted.

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