Much has been made about President Barack Obama's refusal to name Islam as a culprit in the attack at an Orlando night club last week. While Obama, and to lesser extent Bush before him, does leave this gap in his description of the threat, ignoring the valid motivation for doing so does nothing to address this shortcoming. What's needed is language that will define who we are at war with and that will let everyone not in that group that we are not at war with them. Failing to include those who are not a threat on our side both decreases our potential base of support and increases the needed work in order to prevail in the war, which provides a reason not to be overly broad in defining the threat.
With that said, the threat that the West faces is those who think that avenging the honor of Islam is a valid action. For instance, insulting Islam's prophet Mohammed is considered an affront to Islam's honor as is the existence of Jews living in dignity in the middle of Dar-al-Islam, which incites a rage that something must be done. In contrast, the practice of Islam, whether consisting of fasting on Ramadan, attending mosque daily, or wearing the hijab or even niqab, just so long as it does not include support for avenging Islam's honor is not a threat. Thus, when Obama, and before him Bush, try to convey the message that we do not consider the mere practice of Islam to be a threat, it is altogether proper to do so.
The proper criticism of Obama's treatment of Islam is that while he is correct to limit opprobrium to the vengeance of Islam's honor, Obama's definition of vengeance of Islam's honor is too narrow. It seems to be that Obama's proscriptions would be limited to those who either pick up arms for the sake of Islam's honor or who explicitly call upon others to do so. While Obama goes to the ends of the earth to confront those two categories of Islamists, and saying otherwise simply displays your ignorance of actions like the drone strike against Anwar al-Awlaki, there are other categories of those who provide tacit support for avenging Islam's honor. This quiet support for avenging Islam's honor comes most notable from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and related organizations that deploy rhetoric to conflate exposure of those who take action for the sake of Islam's honor with simple practitioners of the religion. A frequent feature of such groups is that they are constitutionally incapable of condemning violence on behalf of Islam's honor without also condemning "Islamophobia" in a manner that puts Islamophobia on a par with Islamicly motivated violence.
A further category of action for the sake of Islam's honor is the deployment of various forms of thought control such as that which prevails at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. While not including any violence, the creation of such cultures undermines the free flow of information that is the basis of Western civilization.
In conclusion, the language we need to discuss Islam is one which will say that avenging the honor of Islam is unacceptable. This includes not just directly engaging in violence for the cause or explicit advocacy or direction to do so, but also apologia for those such actions or saying that one would not personally engage in such actions but that doing so is a legitimate path within sharia. However, any practitioner of Islam who uncategorically portrays avenging Islam's honor as illegitimate will be welcomed with open arms as a citizen of the West.