In putting my course together, I’ve arrived at the section devoted to non sequiturs and, in looking for examples of utterly, mind-meltingly idiotic statements, I remembered a statement by Barack Obama, in response to yet another atrocity carried out in the name of islam, along the lines of:
This has less to do with islam than it has to do with any other religion.
So I went looking for it on the web.
I can’t find it.
I know that it exists. Sam Harris has referred to it in one of his podcasts – No. 51: The Most Powerful Clown (the quotation appears around the 17:30 minute mark). Douglas Murray has referred to it, in a speech in Denmark handily made available on Youtube (for how much longer, I don’t know – anyway, relevant quotation at the 14 minute mark):
My favourite is the movement from: ‘This terrorist attack has nothing to do with islam”, to: ‘It has nothing to do with islam, and in any case islam is a religion of peace’, to Barack Obama’s best hit ever, which came last year after an American hostage was decapitated in Syria, and Barack Obama said: ‘It not only doesn’t have anything to do with islam, it has less to do with Islam than with any other religion’.
So if somebody cuts off someone’s head while shouting ‘allahu-akbar’, the Buddhists should get it?
So I know that Obama made this statement. Two scholars whom I respect have quoted the statement.
And yet it doesn’t appear anywhere on the internet.
The closest that I can find is a question that someone, going by the moniker tavhkog, in search of the same information as me, put on reddit. He received an answer, to which he replied ‘Thank you’.
That response, to which Tavhkog replied, has been deleted.
What is going on? Are we truly living in Orwell’s 1984?