So what's the matter with liberals? Trump may have his vague suspicions about the President, but in most cases he'd attribute this reticence to "political correctness." That's often understood as an unwillingness to offend -- or an obsession with being offended -- but the sort of liberals who flinch at "radical Islam" probably are less worried about American Muslims getting offended than about worse happening to them. In any case, they're individualists on this front (if not on the economic front) and above all don't want many to suffer for the crimes and plots of a few. The easiest way to prevent that is to dissociate whatever jihadists are up to from whatever the essence of Islam is. The problem with that approach is that the jihadis themselves have a very clear idea of what the essence of Islam is, and that idea inspires whatever they're up to. Therefore you can't seriously argue that terrorism committed by Muslims has nothing to do with Islam unless you define Islam and do so in a way that shows the Islamists are wrong. Liberals probably would define Islam according to the "five pillars" they learned in school while rejecting the takfiri claim that jihad is a sixth pillar, equal in importance to the others. I suspect that liberals are less interested in such a project than in defending innocent Muslims against an Islamophobia that itself probably has little to do with Islam in the liberal imagination. From a "politically correct" standpoint jihadi terrorism has only provided the eternal white bigot with an excuse to indulge in his irrepressible hatred of the Other. Whether the subject is Trump's temporary ban on Muslim immigration -- which he's modified to focus on countries with terrorist activity -- or any suggestion of surveillance of mosques, madrasas or community centers, some liberals can't see any motivation for such measures but bigotry. Never mind that Islamists are bigots by any standard -- and the Orlando shooter seems to have been a hypocritical bigot on top of that -- some Americans can't help seeing white bigotry as the greater, permanent threat to the U.S. For such people Maajid Nawaz has some advice:
Just as we Muslims expect solidarity from wider society against anti-Muslim bigotry and racism, likewise we must reciprocate solidarity toward victims of Islamist extremism. Just as we encourage others to actively denounce racism wherever they see it, so too must we actively denounce Islamist theocratic views wherever we find them. Enough with the special pleading. Enough with the denial. Enough with the obfuscation.
Nawaz is talking to fellow Muslims but others should heed his message.