Instead of proposing a liberal alternative, the United States seems to be apologizing. Statements explaining away the actions of ISIS with lack of job opportunities or poor governance can be used to justify genocide. But the strongest indication that America has entered crisis-mode is that it can no longer make its case.
The faith community must remind the world that evil can be overcome, and that individuals involved in evil systems and practices can be redeemed. But how to overcome evil is a very complicated theological question, which requires much self-reflection. In trying to figure out how to overcome evil, it is often helpful to first decide how not to.
Trafficking in the false claims that most Muslims support ISIL or that their acts are a natural extension of Islam seeks to dehumanize nearly 2 billion mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Not only is that a barbarity in its own right, but it makes it even harder to find the common ground we need to fight the real savages.
President Obama had a very specific goal in mind for his speech, and that goal is to defeat ISIL by enlisting the support of Muslims worldwide against it. That's why he talked about ISIL the way he did, and that's why he's right to deny ISIL the legitimacy that would follow if he called them "Muslim" or "Islamic" or even "Islamist," no matter how accurate the terms may be.