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The Reason Obama Avoids The Word 'Islamic' When Discussing Violent Extremism

02/20/2015 06:16 pm ET | Updated Feb 20, 2015

Although President Obama has come under fire for avoiding the word "Islamic" in his discussions about violent extremist groups, not everyone is up in arms about his calculated word choice.

Michael Downing, deputy chief of the LAPD's Counterterrorism and Special Operations Bureau, defended Obama in a HuffPost Live conversation on Friday.

"The president was exactly right in this issue of the terminology. Why give legitimacy to savages and barbarians who are taking this perverted view of a very peaceful religion and warping it?" he asked. "And why give them legitimacy and build them up? They are neither Islamic nor are they a state, and we shouldn't support that."

John Walsh, U.S. attorney for the district of Colorado, suggested that Obama's deliberate rhetoric aims to address the issue without alienating Muslim communities.

"The reality is we have groups who are targeting the Muslim communities in the United States, so part of what our conversation has to be about is outreach and working with Muslim communities to help them build that resilience to make sure we have a good, strong partnership with those communities," he told host Josh Zepps.

During Wednesday's White House-hosted Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, Muslim community leaders from Boston, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Los Angeles discussed their pilot programs aimed at curbing radicalization among the youth. Walsh said he hopes to see solutions develop from these localized initiatives.

"This is not a situation where the government has all the answers -- far from it," he said. "It really has to be a community-led set of initiatives, and listening to those community leaders was really inspiring to me."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism here.

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