Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he agreed with the part of President Obama’s speech about ISIS not representing true Islam, calling the Islamic State “an aberrant form that should not represent most of the civilized Islamic world.”
After Obama’s address, some ISIS accounts on Twitter were using the hashtag “Islamic State represents Islam right” in response to one part of the speech: “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,'” Obama said. “No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state.”
“I think there was one important point that he was making about them not being Islamic or a form of true Islam. Ultimately, civilized Islam will have to step up. We need to do everything we can to protect ourselves. I’m all in for saying we have to combat ISIS. But also, the ultimate war, the long war, whoever knows how long, ultimately is going to need allies from civilized Islam,” Paul said on Fox.
“So I think it is important not only to the American public but for the world and for the Islamic world to point out that this is not a true form of Islam.”
The senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate said he didn’t think Obama was trying to “diminish” the point that ISIS’ goal is to spread its caliphate.
“I would say that he was trying to make the point to the Islamic world that this isn’t a true or accurate depiction of Islam because, ultimately, we do need — and most of the allies around that also are offended and also are worried about the rise of ISIS are also Muslim nations. And I think they will rise up,” Paul said. “And ultimately, the ultimate victory — there are going to be short-term victories in the war on terror and the war on radical Islam, but the long-term victory is going to require allies who are part of the civilized Islamic world, which is the majority of the Islamic world.”
“But they have to step up because, frankly, they’ve been allowing too much of this to go on. And frankly, countries like Saudi Arabia I think have aided and abetted the rise of ISIS.”
Paul also gave a defense of “secular dictators.”
“Assad — as bad as Assad is, he is an enemy of ISIS. He is an enemy of radical Islam. As bad as Gadhafi was, Gadhafi was an opponent of radical Islam. As bad as Hussein was… We didn’t create it, but we did allow a festering of chaos when we toppled the secular dictators.”
The senator acknowledged Obama’s plan “is an intervention, and I don’t always support intervention, but this is one I do support.”
“But I think the president would be more powerful, the country would be more united,” Paul said. “He should have come before a joint session of Congress, laid out his plan as he did tonight, and then called for an up or down vote on whether or not to authorize going to war.”