In a welcome shift from the usual platitudes that fill cable news, Lawrence O’Donnell took issue last week with President Obama’s insinuation that he knew what counted as real Islam. “He insisted that the Islamic State is not Islam,” O’Donnell said to introduce clips of the President’s speech. O’Donnell continues, saying that the President and his speechwriters made an “amazing mistake . . . thinking that there is an identifiable real version of any religion.”
There are ideas about, interpretations of, and definitions of Islam, but there is no such thing as Islam. The same is true for Judaism, Christianity, etc. There are competing versions of Christianity vying for primacy, but no version has any more claim to being "true" or "authentic" or "essential" than does any other version.
Go watch the whole segment (15 minutes) and notice the interplay between O'Donnell's ideas and those of his guests.