by Detroit Jewish News

The AP Stylebook, the authority on usage style for most U.S. newspapers and TV networks, defines "Islamists," perhaps the most contentious word today, as Muslims who view the Koran as a "political model." These Muslims range from "mainstream politicians" to "militants known as jihadi."

Islamist in this political context is thus distinctive from Muslim, a religious term referring to followers of Islam.

In the very political world of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the term Islamist is considered the province of "Islam-bashers" who hate Islam, but don't want to be too blatant. Steve Emerson's respected Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) describes Washington-based CAIR as "the nation's most visible Islamist group." So it's obvious why CAIR is recoiling over its image and has gone so far as to try to insert "Islamophobia" in conversational English. IPT asserts that CAIR believes popular use of that term would provide an out for attacks on Muslims who have hijacked their religion for political or even terrorist gain.

Clearly, the politics of Islamists have no place in the religious sphere of Muslims.

Says Emerson in a January online post:

"Plenty of practicing Muslims work bravely in opposition to Islamist ideology." He cites Great Britain's Quilliam Foundation — "started by Muslims who walked away from radical Islamist thought and now counter the arguments Islamists offer." The Foundation contends Muslims must embrace "a more self-critical approach."

Washington-based IPT strives to distinguish between the faith of Islam as practiced by individual Muslims and its application as the foundation for political action and law. Certainly, well intentioned Muslims must stay vigilant against indoctrinating mosques. It's hard to fathom why CAIR has branded Muslims who separate church from state "a mere sock puppet for Islam haters and an enabler of Islamophobia" — other than CAIR believes such separation is a threat to its agenda.

CAIR itself may not invoke "Islamist" openly. But as IPT reveals, its co-founders used the term to describe their organization's "voice" as far back as 1993. That's when CAIR met with Hamas supporters in Philadelphia to discuss how to derail the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Hamas isn't the only Palestinian terrorist organization to call itself "Islamist." So has Islamic Jihad.

And according to IPT, "CAIR officials also have supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, even as it rammed through a constitution that epitomizes Islamist aspirations and makes religious law the law of the land. The Brotherhood has no problem calling itself Islamist."

In its twisted logic, CAIR argues it's OK for the Brotherhood or a Muslim group to call itself Islamist because they understand it to mean something positive and progressive, not something "almost exclusively pejorative."

In sharp contrast, the IPT take is astute: "CAIR's background — the FBI cut off contact with the group in 2008 over questions about 'whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas' — should be taken into consideration by anyone entertaining CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper's request to serve as language cop."


The comments added useful information.

this is all semantics

Submitted by scott, Feb 28, 2013 20:50

Its all semantics...

I dont really care for the terminology, what ever the religious conviction

A Terrorist: one who employs terror / terrorism as a weapon esp political....

Muslim, Islamist, Christian or Catholic or what ever, once the group uses terrorist tacticts or is the advocate of terrorist tactics francly that is what it should be called lets cut the rubbish at tell it like it is! (yes lets not kid ourselves there are christian extremists)

Isn't that really what Steve Emerson is doing!!!!! Telling it like it really is!!!

Why dont we call them GUERILLAS..well by definition this would mean they are an irregular armed force engaged in fighting with army / police or a stronger force. However people that employ strategies to attack civillians are Terrorists. Islamist, Muslim or Christian it is what it is...But no its safer to hide behind the shadows and ideology of religion.

To engage in the banter about this definition of Islam or another definition of the Muslim faith is nothing more than a ploy to muddy the waters, to create confusion in in defining who is right or wrong.

John Lennon sang in Imagine "...Imagine theres no religion too..." for perhaps very good reason...religion............a fancy word for brainwashing!

Islam Must be Repudiated

Submitted by Edward Cline, Feb 28, 2013 12:31

I think it's fool's gold for Muslims, here or in Britain or anywhere else, to embrace a "more self-critical approach" to Islam and Islamists, nor do I think it would, in the long-term, be profitable for anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, to subscribe to the notion that Islam can be watered down to become a benign religion that tolerates other faiths, ideologies, and non-believers. Islam is, fundamentally, a political ideology whose secondary identity is a theocratic one. Should all the violent, belligerent verses and content be excised from the Koran and its companion texts, there would still remain in the background that defining nature of Islam. Remember that the later verses abrogate the earlier, and it's the later verses that define Islam and Islamism, not the later. Just as one can excise all the socialist, authoritarian premises from Progressivism and Marxism and Nazism, and make either of them seem like a collection of inoffensive, feel-good homilies, one cannot excise the aggressive diktats from Islam by hiding them from sight and not expect them to reemerge over time. They will always be there, and will, over time, work themselves back into the forefront and become the nemeses they are.

Philosophy can't be toyed around with by simply saying "It isn't so, we don't really mean that." A head-to-toe philosophy such as Islamism must be repudiated root and branch. That is the task which faces the Quilliam Foundation in Britain and its sister organizations, wherever they may be found. 'Well-intentioned" Muslims who boycott mosques where Islamism and jihad are preached seem to want to have their cake and eat it, too. It can't be done.

Difference between Islam and Islamism

Submitted by Abdul Ameer, Feb 27, 2013 14:22

You write: "Islamist in this political context is thus distinctive from Muslim, a religious term referring to followers of Islam." However, the distinction is not clear at all because, according to the Koran, the sayings of Muhammad and Sharia law, all religious Muslims are supposed to apply the doctrines of Islam in every aspect of society, including politics. The Moslem religious establishment does not recognize any separate category of "political Islam" as separate from the rest of Islam. Islam is one, and it includes politics just as it includes rituals, theology, personal life and everything else. The so-called moderate Quilliam Foundation says: " The Foundation contends Muslims must embrace "a more self-critical approach." Who are these "Muslims" who must embrace a more self-critical approach? And, just which passages in the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad should Muslims be self-critical about? After all, anything in the least critical about the Koran or Muhammad is considered blasphemy and apostasy -- punishable by death in Islam. The IPT is trying to proclaim a distinction which just does not exist in the world of religious Islam.

Egyptian presidential hopeful and former Hamas-linked CAIR official Bassem Khafagi: "I was the first to expose the notion of 'moderate Islam,' which is used as a means to canonize a 'non-Islamic Islam'" This "moderation" means violation [of the laws] of Islam.

Turkey's PM Erdogan said: "There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it."

Who are we to say otherwise?

This article appeared February 21, 2013 in the Detroit Jewish News and is archived at

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