While we think it was important that the United States be prominently represented at the massive unity rally following the Charlie Hedboe and Hyper Cacher massacres in Paris, we were not at all surprised that President Obama chose to effectively boycott the event.

Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.

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He is, after all, still determined to pursue the outreach to the Muslim world he first proclaimed in the early days of his first run for the presidency, and he’s still peculiarly reticent about employing terms like “Islamic” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.

In a word, if he couldn’t control the message of the Paris rally, he wanted no part of it.

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