By Deborah Weiss
The thought police over at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are urging journalists to delete the word “Islamist” from their lexicon. Though CAIR claims that the word stems out of bigotry, CAIR’s real agenda is to protect Islam — and Islamists — from so-called “defamation.”
The Associated Press Style Book is a guide for journalists which lays out rules for spelling, punctuation, and other guidelines. In its most recent edition, it added the word “Islamist,” which it defines as: “Islamist: supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.” Generally, the word “Islamist” is used to distinguish those who want to practice Islam as a spiritual faith, as opposed to those who interpret it and apply it as a political ideology. Those in the latter category desire the merging of mosque and state.
On January 3, 2012, Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesperson for CAIR, published a column suggesting that in the New Year journalists should refrain from using the word “Islamist.”
He complains that news reports unfairly focus on Islamists and notes that there are no news reports of “Christianist,” “Hinduist,” or “Judaist” political leaders. He further insists that the word “Islamist” is used almost always “pejoratively” by “Islamophobic groups and individuals” who link the word to terrorism, persecution of religious minorities, and human rights violations committed in the name of Islam. Hooper whines that such “bigoted attacks” unfairly target Islam because they are not equally hurled at other faiths.
Hooper goes on to claim that often the word “Islamist” is used by “Islam-bashers” who “disingenuously” claim to hate political Islam, though deep in their hearts they hate all Islam. As proof of his assertion, he accuses the alleged Islamophobes of failing to explain how a practicing Muslim can be politically active without attracting the label “Islamist.” After all, he writes, Muslims who wish to serve the “public good” and are merely “influenced” by their faith are slapped with the label “Islamist.” He professes that they just want to work for the “welfare of humanity and to be honest and just,” and if that same inspiration had eminated from the Bible instead of the Quran, they’d be deemed “good Samaritans.”
However, Hooper allows one exception for when use of the word “Islamist” is acceptable, and that is when it is used by Islamists themselves.
And therein lies the rub. It’s not really the word to which Hooper is objecting. It is the negative connotation which serves to “defame Islam.” In the eyes of CAIR and other Islamist organizations, anything that sheds a negative light on Islam or Muslims constitutes “defamation,” even if it’s true. This is a definition at odds with that in the American legal system which requires defamation to consist of a false statement of fact.
So the real agenda of CAIR and its ilk is not to stop “bigotry” against Islam or Muslims, but to whitewash and obfuscate the truth and propagate a disinformation campaign about, yes, Islamist terrorism, Islamist persecution of religious minorities and Islamist human rights violations, all of which are done in furtherance of the ultimate goal of Islamist Supremacy.
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