The candidates are linking Islam with terrorism? Really? As if they weren’t linked already! Wasn’t it Osama bin Laden who made this link? Wasn’t it Khomeini who made this link, when he said, “Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you!…There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim”? Or maybe it was the Qur’an itself, which tells Muslims to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (8:60). Maybe it was the perpetrators of those 10,000-plus terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since 9/11. Maybe it was the British Muslim Omar Brooks, who said in 2005 that it was imperative for Muslims to “instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar” and added: “I am a terrorist. As a Muslim of course I am a terrorist.”
Naaaah. It was Mike Huckabee. And McCain. And Giuliani.
“US primaries anti-Islam terminology due to Muslims’ inaction, absence,” by Heather Yamour for the Kuwait News Agency (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (KUNA) — In the 2008 presidential race, White House hopefuls, mainly Republicans, are linking Islam with terrorism as a tool to scare up support among US voters, an election style experts describe as “shameful”, as Muslims are still too absent from the scene to make the contenders re-consider.
Republicans fiercely attacking Islam as a religion interwoven with terrorism are targeting evangelical churches and conservative Americans seeking to preserve the strict Christian faith in the government and fear the possibility that the future president may open the door wider for Muslims to enter mainstream society.
Republican Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, called Islamo-fascism “the greatest threat this country has ever faced”, while his party challenger Arizona Senator John McCain rejected US trade with nations accused of sympathizing with terrorist groups, saying “I’m not interested in trading with Al-Qaeda.” “Islamic terrorists are at war with us,” Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor-turned presidential hopeful told voters in Maryland. “They want to kill us,” he warned supporters in New Hampshire.
Rudy, you Islamophobe. Obviously they just want to give us a hug. If you knew Arabic you would know that, you ignorant hatemonger.
Giuliani criticized Democrats for not using the words “Islamic terrorist, Islamic extremist, Islamic fascist”, in their campaign speeches, adding “You don’t insult anyone who is Islamic who isn’t a terrorist.” According to Dr. Juan Cole, history professor at the University of Michigan and founder of the Global Americana Institute, an organization that translates classical American texts into various Middle Eastern languages, this kind of rhetoric is “shameful and alarming” because it presumes the essence of Islam and generalized Muslims, all 1.5 billion of them, as being related to terrorism.
“There are Muslim, Christian, and other terrorists. But the term ‘Islamic terrorist’ suggests there is something about Islam,” he said.
What’s shameful and alarming is that Juan Cole peddles this sort of thinking and anyone takes him seriously. Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether or not there is “something about Islam,” the term “Islamic terrorism” does not suggest that “Muslims, all 1.5 billion of them” are “related to terrorism” any more than the term “Italian fascist” suggests that all Italians are fascists, or than the European designation “Christian Democrat” suggests that no Christians are monarchists.
“Islamic” in “Islamic terrorist” is a simple modifier referring to those terrorists who are operating, by their own account, in the name of Islam and in accord with Islamic teachings. They are, after all, the ones who destroyed the World Trade Center on 9/11, and have wrought so much havoc around the world. If the people who were doing these things were Christians who quoted the Bible to justify their acts of violence, it would be perfectly legitimate to call them Christian terrorists. But they are Muslims who quote the Qur’an to justify their acts of violence, and it is perfectly legitimate to call them Islamic terrorists.
A popular phrases used by the Bush Administration, “Islamo-fascism”, conflates Islam with Mussolini’s fascist movement.
Use of the phrase outraged Muslims worldwide, including Saudi Arabia, which reportedly issued a plea to the US to stop using the term.
It’s interesting to note that while in America some are concerned that the term “Islamo-fascism” somehow separates Islam from any connection with terrorism, the Muslims who are “outraged worldwide” about this term seem to have no such impression.
Cole points out that this term marked the first instance in which a religion has been fused with a political movement.
“If you put two things together in one word like “Islamo-fascism” it implies that Islam is essentially fascist,” explained Cole, who referred to fascist movements in modern history including the Romanian Iron Guard who were very invested in Christianity, “but nobody talks about Christo-fascism, as they shouldn’t.” Prejudice against Islam has also extended across party lines and into the Democratic Party.
Here again, Cole’s implication here is contradicted by simple English usage and every compound term that has ever been used since the beginning of time. Try it at home, kids! Try to think of any compound term that implies that everyone in the first part of the term is part of the second part. Green coffee mugs: does that imply that all coffee mugs are green? Nope. Cute babies — all babies are cute? Sorry. Islamic scholars — all scholars are Islamic? Nope. Just keep going — you’ll never find one.
Say, Juan Cole, if you’re up for a debate about the accuracy and appropriateness of the terms “Islamic terrorism” or “Islamo-fascism,” I’m ready. Contact me at email@example.com.