New US NSA breaks with Donald Trump views on Islam: Report

New US NSA breaks with Donald Trump views on Islam: Report
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NEW YORK: (APP) US President Donald Trump's new national security adviser doesn't find the term "radical Islamic terrorism" helpful, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Individuals who attended Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster's first National Security Council meeting on Thursday told the Times that the newly appointed adviser thinks the term is counterproductive because terrorists are 'un-Islamic'.

President Trump repeatedly slammed President Barack Obama and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on the issue.

McMaster was picked to be the next national security adviser after his predecessor, Michael Flynn, resigned due to misinforming White House officials about the contents of his phone call with the Russian ambassador before Trump's inauguration.

McMaster was also not the first choice to replace Flynn - Trump initially preferred a retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward, who turned the offer down, according to the Times.

McMaster said "Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion," The Times reported. He added that terrorists are fundamentally "un-Islamic."

Within a day of his appointment on Monday, McMaster was entering offices to introduce himself to the council's professional staff members, the Times said.

The staff members, many of them holdovers from the Obama administration, felt viewed with suspicion by Trump's team and shut out of the policymaking process, th paper said citing current and former officials.

In his language, McMaster is closer to the positions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in part because they argued that the United States needed the help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.

"This is very much a repudiation of his new boss' lexicon and worldview," William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of "The ISIS Apocalypse," said.

"McMaster, like Obama, is someone who was in positions of leadership and thought the United States should not play into the jihadi propaganda that this is a religious war," McCants said.

"There is a deep hunger for McMaster's view in the interagency," he added, referring to the process by which the State Department, Pentagon and other agencies funnel recommendations through the National Security Council.

"The fact that he has made himself the champion of this view makes people realize they have an advocate to express dissenting opinions."

But McCants and others cautioned that McMaster's views would not necessarily be the final word in a White House.

Known for challenging his superiors, McMaster was nearly passed over for the rank of brigadier general in 2007, until Gen. David Petraeus, who used his counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, and Robert Gates, then defence secretary, rallied support for him.

The schisms within the administration could be aired publicly if the Senate Armed Services Committee exercises a right to hold a confirmation hearing for McMaster.

Although the post of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation, senators must approve his retention of his three-star rank in a new position.

Senator John McCain, the committee's chairman and a strong supporter of McMaster, has not said whether he wants to hold a hearing.

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