Barack Obama’s first presidential visit to a U.S. mosque underscored the unfortunate reality that this country has not yet been able to get its arms around the problem of Islamic jihadist terror.

With so many jihadi terrorists claiming to have acted in accord with Muslim principles and having connections to Islamic houses of worship, it is surely off the mark to urge that those connections be ignored out of a fear of encouraging the stigmatization of ordinary Muslim-Americans.


(On the other hand, it cannot be denied that animus toward Muslims in this country could be fostered by a focus on Islamic institutions and groups as part of an effort to stem terrorist acts. Which is why any such effort would need to be mounted under strict and judicious legal guidelines.)

Predictably, Mr. Obama declined to acknowledge the necessity of monitoring Islamist groups as part of any meaningful anti-terror policy. He concentrated instead on underscoring the risks of casting too wide a net:


[S]ince 9/11, but more recently since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, you’ve seen too often people conflating the horrific acts of terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith. And of course, recently we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country.


Ironically, the mosque he chose to visit has been linked to extremist elements and was formerly led by an imam who reportedly had extremist ties.

To our mind there is nothing wrong with the president of the United States urging adherence to the principles of religious freedom and freedom of association for all without fear of discrimination. But as commander-in-chief, the president is also responsible for providing for the security of all Americans. He should not just imperiously dismiss the existence of a threat that every thinking person knows to exist.


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