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September 19, 2008

Even the Bush Administration Admits that Terms like Islamo-fascism are Nonsense
Posted by The Editors

This is a post from NSN's Eric Auner

This item eluded me when it first came out, but it is utterly fascinating. It is a document from National Counterterrorism Center called “Words that Work and Words that Don’t: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication.” Basically the document tells American governmental officials to shush with terms like islamo-fascism and the like, the implication being that the Islamic world is a complicated heterogeneous place that (for some reason!) resents its name being explicitly associated with terrorism.  Some quotes:

Don't Invoke Islam: Although the Al-Qaeda network exploits religious sentiments and tries to use religion to justify its actions, we should treat it as an illegitimate political organization, both terrorist and criminal.

Avoid Ill-Defined and Offensive Terminology: We are communicating with, not confronting, our audiences. Don't insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' which are considered offensive by many Muslims.

This casts a very negative light on a long standing conservative strategy of using anti-Islamic rhetoric to inspire jingoistic fervor.  We saw at the RNC that several speakers did this, my favorite being Mr. Mitt Romney:

“And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!” [Mitt Romney, 9/3/08]

The point, well made in the report cited above, is that Al Qaeda isn’t even really Islam in any real sense, and that even the act of placing Al Qaeda on the same spectrum as the rest of Islam is deeply offensive.  Yet in April of this year, a group of Muslims asked that John McCain stop characterizing Middle Eastern terrorists as “Islamic,” to which Steve Schmidt his top strategist responded: “The reality is, the hateful ideology which underpins Bin Ladenism is properly described as radical Islamic extremism. Senator McCain refers to it that way because that is what it is." Someone should send them this report.

-Eric Auner


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