The President has come close to calling the jihadists what they are, and CAIR is upset. From the Hizballah News Agency, aka Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Muslim groups criticized President George W. Bush on Thursday for calling a foiled plot to blow up airplanes part of a “war with Islamic fascists,” saying the term could inflame anti-Muslim tensions.
U.S. officials have said the plot, thwarted by Britain, to blow up several aircraft over the Atlantic bore many of the hallmarks of al Qaeda.
“We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group.
I don’t use such terms myself, but here again Awad is playing the old deflection game. He completely ignores the many acts of violence and intimidation that Muslims have committed in the name of Islam in order to draw the sobriquet “Islamofascists,” and acts as if it is a gratuitous association by the President. Similarly, jihad terrorists, as we have documented at Jihad Watch ad infinitum, routinely ignore their own aggressive acts and act as if any response to them is an unprovoked attack.
“We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims,” he told a news conference in Washington.
All right, Awad. If you really don’t want a religious war, you know the problem is not Bush’s rhetoric. It is those who are working to make that war real and hot. Please detail what you are doing within the American Muslim community in order to combat the spread of jihadism among American Muslims.
“We urge him (Bush) and we urge other public officials to restrain themselves.”
Awad said U.S. officials should take the lead from their British counterparts who had steered clear of using what he considered inflammatory terms when they announced the arrest of more than 20 suspects in the reported plot.
In other words, Awad wants us not to call the enemy by the name he calls himself. How can we defeat a foe we are afraid to name?
Hours after the news broke, Bush said it was “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.”
Bush and other administration officials have used variations of the term “Islamo-fascism” on several occasions in the past to describe militant groups including al Qaeda, its allies in Iraq and Hizbollah in Lebanon.
Many American Muslims, who say they have felt singled out for discrimination since the September 11 attacks, reject the term and say it unfairly links their faith to notions of dictatorship, oppression and racism.
“The problem with the phrase is it attaches the religion of Islam to tyranny and fascism, rather than isolating the threat to a specific group of individuals,” said Edina Lekovic, spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles.
She said the terms cast suspicions on all Muslims, even the vast majority who want to live in safety like other Americans.
Let that vast majority stand up and begin comprehensive and organized efforts to fight the jihad ideology, and they will begin seeing these suspicions evanescing.
“When the people we need most in the fight against terrorism, American Muslims, feel alienated by the president’s characterization of these supposed terrorists, that does more damage than good,” Lekovic said.
Bush upset many Muslims after the September 11 attacks by referring to the global war against terrorism early on as a “crusade,” a term which for many Muslims connotes a Christian battle against Islam. The White House quickly stopped using the expression, expressing regrets if it had caused offense.
Mohamed Elibiary, a Texas-based Muslim activist, said he was upset by the president’s latest comments because he was concerned they would stir up resentment of Muslims in America.
“We’ve got Osama bin Laden hijacking the religion in order to define it one way. … We feel the president and anyone who’s using these kinds of terminologies is hijacking it too from a different side,” he said.
“The president’s use of the language is going to ratchet up the hate meter, but I think it would have caused much more damage if he had done this after 9/11,” Elibiary said, adding that tensions were not running as high as they had been in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks.
Awad, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called on Muslims to step up security at mosques and community centers to counter any negative backlash to news of the plot.
But you’ll notice that he didn’t call upon Muslims to step up cooperation with law enforcement officials to root jihadists out of their ranks.