The Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking the nation’s media to make this their new year’s resolution: Stop using the word “Islamist.”
Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director, explained in a Jan. 3 op-ed why his group is upset the Associated Press added the term to its latest stylebook, a document that guides reporters worldwide. Hooper wrote:
That entry reads: “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.”
The AP says it sought input from Arabic-speaking experts and hoped to provide a neutral perspective by emphasizing the “wide range” of religious views encompassed in the term.
Many Muslims who wish to serve the public good are influenced by the principles of their faith. Islam teaches Muslims to work for the welfare of humanity and to be honest and just. If this inspiration came from the Bible, such a person might well be called a Good Samaritan. But when the source is the Quran, the person is an “Islamist.”
Unfortunately, the term “Islamist” has become shorthand for “Muslims we don’t like.” It is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context and is often coupled with the term “extremist,” giving it an even more negative slant.
Hooper believes that because there are so few “positive references to ‘Islamist’ in news articles,” it should not be used. Though it’s hard to imagine how journalists might put a positive spin on beheadings and honor killings.
Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, another CAIR adversary, reminded readers that the media do not frequently identify CAIR as “an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case, or note the jihad terror convictions of several of their former officers, or their consistent opposition to every anti-terror measure ever devised.” He wrote:
The irony is that, as I have explained many times (as in this National Review article), the term “Islamist” is often used by those who believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, to create a distance between Islam, which is supposedly entirely benign and peaceful, and Islamism, which teaches political authoritarianism, subjugation of non-Muslims, and everything else about Islam that is unpleasant and at variance with Western principles of human rights. [ . . . ]
Anyway, now even the word “Islamist,” although it is usually used to exonerate Islam and distance its teachings from the violence and hate propagated in its name, is unacceptable for Hamas-linked CAIR. Clearly Hamas-linked CAIR’s amiable beekeper, Honest Ibe Hooper, sees how successful he and his fellow Islamic supremacists have been in co-opting the media, government, and law enforcement in recent years, and is pressing on toward final victory: the total silencing of any resistance to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. […]
What Honest Ibe is not telling you here is that “Islamists” are generally proponents of political Islam, an authoritarian system that would deny basic rights to non-Muslims and women. Their political agenda is grounded in Islam in a way that no fair-minded person would say that Santorum’s is grounded in Christianity.