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Editor’s Note: Let’s have a talk about jihadism

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

When a lone wolf racist slaughtered nine people in a South Carolina church, the call went up immediately for a national conversation on race.

President Barack Obama lectured the nation on its history and its attitudes. Symbols of the Confederacy were targeted for removal across the South. The president sang a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of one of the victims.

A few weeks later, when a lone wolf jihadist killed five soldiers in Tennessee, there was no plea from the White House for a national conversation on Islamism.

The president gave a speech in Pittsburgh praising the victims as heroes and warning of the threat from al-Qaida and the Islamic State, but found no reason to ask for an examination of conditions in this country that are breeding home-grown terrorists.

He didn’t attend the funerals and it was only after being called out by Republicans that he ordered flags lowered to half staff.

Racism remains a national shame that the country must discuss and address. Jihadism is a growing threat to the safety and security of Americans, as Islamic State and other groups become more sophisticated at online recruiting and radicalization.

And yet the Obama administration has no strategy for countering the online propaganda aimed at American citizens. The murders in Tennessee should open the door for a conversation about that.