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Recently, the Associated Press added a new word into their influential industry Stylebook. That word? “Islamist”.

According to the AP Stylebook the definition of Islamist is – (A) 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 word Islamist has been floating around for decades, but it wasn’t until recent years when the word really took off in the public sphere - this boom can obviously be attributed to the Wars on Terror, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, etc. So while the word has been out there on the tongues of the general populace, it wasn’t until now with its inclusion into the AP Stylebook that there is a national validation of the term – and more importantly, its multifaceted use.

The word Islamist has been championed by The Right and their sympathizers for years as a way to both refer to foreign extremists and to discredit domestic intellectuals who stand against their ideology. Using the word against these domestic voices is where Islamist is at its most dangerous, and why its validation by the Associated Press is so disheartening. Recently, Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spoke up against the accreditation of this word in his op-ed, blandly entitled ‘Media Urged To Drop The Term ‘Islamist’ In The New Year’ – and as if on cue, the right-wing establishment cried afoul. Immediately they pounced on, saying things like Hooper’s plea was a “War on Words”, or that Hooper’s article was the initiate of a “new word-squelching Jihad”.

Really?! One 489-word opinion piece on some random blog has become the catalyst igniting a global Jihad against the 1st amendment?    

So what do proponents of the term want? Why are there such staunch defenders of a word like this? Advocates for the use of the term say they want a word that accurately describes Muslims who strive for a political state governed by the teachings of Islam (or rather the scariest of all words 'Sharia Law'). On the surface that’s well and good, but what these avid proponents and staunch defenders actually want is a word that acts as a slur - with the plausible deniability of not being one.

In Islamist these pundits have a word that may on the surface simply means those who want a more politicized Islam but actually means “Jihidst” “Towelhead” “Hajji”. The word makes Islam exists separate from its religious brethren, to paraphrase Hooper, there isn’t a Christianist nor a Judist. Though when we look at the definition of what makes an Islamist an Islamist, why isn’t there? There is a large portion of American politicians who want to govern and create laws through the lens of extremist Christian dogma, whether they are Tea-Partiers, Evangelicals, or recently those who vigorously fight against marriage equality laws. You think the legislators who created the Defense of Marriage Act did so for any other reason other than their religious purview? The same goes for Judaism, what is Religious Zionism if not a politicization of Jewish religious beliefs?

But, thankfully, words like that are not part of the American lexicon, because a word like that – a word like Islamist – doesn’t just exist to simply define a group of people who warp politics through the veil of religious dogma, the word exists as a stealth slur. It is exists as a piece of coded language.

For a potent example of the warped and deformed view of the word Islamist, its multi-pronged usage, and how Muslims in America are perceived in general, one would only need to break the First Rule of The Internet and venture into the prudent tar pit that is The Comment Section.

Twitter collection website Twitchy.com – created by right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin – decided to join in on the conversation started by Hooper’s article, highlighting the Twitter “backlash” it enticed. In their tar pit, this little gem can be found:

Coded language is unfortunately not a new phenomenon here in America. In fact, since this past presidential election it has almost become common place. Between Mitt Romney’s comments that Palestinian culture is to blame for its economic hardships, to Newt Gingrich calling Obama the “food stamp President”, race-baiting has just become another weapon in the politician’s arsenal. Just as ugly terms like Welfare Queen trigger certain images in the collective brain, so too does Islamist.

Islamist conjures up the image of a bearded paranoid Arab despot, hiding and plotting Western civilization's demise inside the entrails of a cave in Pakistan. And to apply that image to politicians and intellectuals inside and outside “The Muslim World” is a purposed action by pundits that are calculating and counting on a specific collective response that will undermine (and most dangerously) dismiss any other ideology that isn’t their own.

The problem with Hooper’s original article, and that of the discussion that it started, was that they fail to mention that Islamist, as it stands right now, is used as a derogatory term to any Muslim who dares challenge the stances and practices of the American government on a national stage. This is what needs to be changed. The removal of its derogatory use. Not necessarily the omission of a word that describes someone who advocates “Political Islam”.

This isn’t that tough of a goal either. Now more than ever the English language is a malleable ball of Play-Doh that can be morphed and changed at will. It just takes one talking head to introduce a new word into the atmosphere that uses the same definition pundits say Islamist does, then this would no longer be an issue – politicos would still have a term to use for the extremists out there, and those with an agenda against Muslims (specifically Muslims Americans who try to enter the national conversation) will no longer have a weapon to use.

Though, as theoretically easy as that may be, will that happen? Probably not. Language is a powerful tool, and having a word like Islamist – something that simultaneously works to describe a perceived threat, and alienate an undesirable minority of the national community – is too precious a weapon to give up.

Originally posted to Fahad Arman on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Muslims at Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  what word would you suggest? n/t (5+ / 0-)

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:51:15 AM PST

  •  My uncle married a Jewish woman (4+ / 0-)

    Who hates the term Zionist. She says not all Jews support all of the policies of the state of Israel a she doesn't want to be associated with apartheid.  She's a real spitfire!  A modern Orthodox woman who wants peace, female Orthodox rabbis and better Kosher wines!
    And an end to circumcision.

    I agree the word Islamist is a loaded term. A dog whistle.

    "I have spent many years of my life in opposition and I rather like the role." - Eleanor Roosevelt. I would like to add that I am a happy atheist!

    by Rogneid on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:58:59 AM PST

  •  'Christianist' is used around these parts. (6+ / 0-)

    Obviously it has a negative connotation, but I'm not opposed to folks who lean theocratic having that negatively viewed.

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 12:00:22 PM PST

  •  I prefer the term (7+ / 0-)

    fundamentalist extremist, as it can be applied to adherents of any faith. fundamentalism is essentially its own religion, as fundamentalist sects are so incredibly similar across cultures.

  •  So (3+ / 0-)

    ...the Catholicists and the Evangelicalists and the Baptistists and the Pentecostalists and the Republicanists cried foul, did they?

    Quelle surprise.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 12:29:20 PM PST

  •  Nonsense. "Islamist" is fine, and belongs to us (5+ / 0-)

    progressives, not the right. (They can use it, too, for all I care.)

    "Islamist" as used by AP is a perfectly acceptable usage:

    "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."

    As progressives, we stand for things like freedom to choose one's religion, to switch religions without persecution (from Islam to Judaism or Hinduism, for example), for adult-children to choose a different faith than their parents, or to have no religion at all.

    We stand strongly for the separation of religion and state.

    We stand for the right of consenting men and women (above 18) to freely choose their sexual partners, and their marriage partner, of either gender, without government (or societal) interference.

    We oppose child marriages (under 18), we recognize that sex by an adult with a child (under 16) is rape. We think bigamy should be outlawed.

    Most Islamists differ with us, on these things.

    More interesting to me is the new trend of the past couple years, for former-Islamists to renounce Islam and begin exploring atheism. THAT is newsworthy. E.g., see "Leaving Islam in the age of Islamism" by Mohamed Abdelfattah, in Daily News Egypt: http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/...  

    The past several years have witnessed every single young man or woman with a shred of critical thinking to leave the Islamist movement. Starting with the Egyptian revolution and the Islamists’ shameful position against it, young middle class educated members have ever since continued to trickle out. ... The young Islamist dropout was courageous enough to come out with these views publicly on his blog. ... Islamists themselves have been paying the price of coming out publicly with their archaic and medieval views. ... Islamists rising to power has not yielded their much-awaited fantasised moment of everything-turning-Islamic. Instead, it’s contributing to an unprecedented wave of skepticism, social secularisation and atheism. Young people feeling alienated by every Friday sermon that lacks substance or labels all non-Islamists as heretics and un-Egyptian are moving away from religion and “flying high above.”

    Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

    by Sharon Wraight on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 12:43:41 PM PST

    •  Sorry to rain in on your parade but... (0+ / 0-)

      the issue is the use of the name of a faith, "Islam," which has multiple meanings for most of its followers. In other words, as there is no one "Christianity," there is no one "Islam." Such "ism" labels falsely create an illusion of sameness where there is none.

      AP's usage:

      "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."
      is illogical because Quran, like all scriptures, is open to interpretation, and that means you'll never find an honest agreement among individuals about what a proper "political model" based on Quran is other than the nations ruled by tyrants who basically tell everyone what they are suppose to be. Likewise, the "laws of Islam" too are open to interpretation which means other than a tyrannical system imposed on public, there can be no agreement on what those "laws" should be.

      Islam, like all faiths, is open to interpretation. And thus it cannot be honestly and properly made into an "ism."

      The major problem with the label is its possible misleading effect on the persons who are not familiar with the many faces of "Islam" and its followers. In other words, there are many "Islams" as there are many individuals who call themselves "Muslims." "Isms" create false realities.

      They are never correct, for they fail to recognize the complexity of reality.

      About the fanatics, whatever guise they may be operating under... Muslim, Christian, Jewish, etc., they are all the same people.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:15:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't matter (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GoGoGoEverton, Sharon Wraight

        that there are multiple interpretations, if a person or group advocates that their interpretation is the one that should be enforced by law, or even if they advocate one of a number of "accepted" interpretations can be used. The question isn't one of faith or belief, but of using laws and government to impose that belief.

        "Let's do this!" - Leeroy Jenkins

        by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:42:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  also...;) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDsg
      As progressives, we stand for things like freedom to choose one's religion, to switch religions without persecution (from Islam to Judaism or Hinduism, for example), for adult-children to choose a different faith than their parents, or to have no religion at all.

      We stand strongly for the separation of religion and state.

      We stand for the right of consenting men and women (above 18) to freely choose their sexual partners, and their marriage partner, of either gender, without government (or societal) interference.

      We oppose child marriages (under 18), we recognize that sex by an adult with a child (under 16) is rape. We think bigamy should be outlawed.

      Most Islamists differ with us, on these things.

      A good number of Christian fundamentalists in U.S. would also disagree with these.

      Therefore, a better term to call these people-who may be calling themselves Christians, Jews or Muslims- would be "fanatics."

      That's who they are.

      Not "Islamists" or "Christianists" or "Judists" but simpy...

      FANATICS.

      Best.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:24:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pardon me, let's not be naive. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GoGoGoEverton

        It sounds to me like you haven't lived in a Muslim-majority county for any period of time, is that correct?

        'Christianist' works very well, also. Although Dominionists are extremely rare, compared to the prevalence of Islamists in Muslim-majority countries.

        In the first Egyptian presidential election, for example, Islamists won 60% of the vote: the Muslim Brotherhood FJP got 36% and the even more conservative Salfists got 24% (a coalition of Al-Nour, Authenticity Party (Hizb el-Asala), and al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya's BDP). 60%.

        Among native Arabic (and Farsi and Urdu) speakers, such groups are most-often referred to simply as Islamic parties -- obviating the nice distinctions you're trying to make. Press a little further, and they may refer to them as 'political Islam' (إسلام سياسي‎), or critics may joke and call them mutaween (singular mutawa) -- after the Saudi religious police.

        (Wait, wait: don't forget to tell me that more Muslims live east of Pakistan than west of it...)

        >as there is no one "Christianity,"
        *laf* Tell that to an Islamist. ;-)
        >Such "ism" labels falsely create an illusion of sameness where there is none.
        All words create an illusion of sameness. (There's a wonderful short-story by a famous Latin American novelist -- I'm blanking on his name -- of a man who begins to use a different word for each different object or idea, then a new word for them at different times, etc. Communication becomes rather difficult. ;-) )  But in fact, there is a great deal of similarity among the various groups who call for government to be based on Shariah Law, etc. It's fascinating to me that two such arch-enemies as Iran and Saudi Arabia, the centers of rabidly-opposing Shiite and Sunni Islam, respectively (some Sunnis consider Shiites as non-believing infidels), have so many similarities when it comes to their view of the Quran as a political model. As the AP definition states, the term encompasses a wide range of moderates and militants.
        >because Quran, like all scriptures, is open to interpretation
        C'mon, this is a 1960s argument. It's 2013. Yes, there are different interpretations (of anything), and yes there are many commonalities even among those who strongly disagree (or even fight each other).

        The AP is correctly focused on current behavior, and on the behavior of the vast majority of practitioners, not on the possibilities of small (fringe) movements, nor on those who live outside of Muslim-majority regions.

        >you'll never find an honest agreement among individuals about what a proper "political model"  ...
        Nor such honest agreement among Democrats, nor Republicans, nor USA-Americans, nor North Americans, nor South Americans, nor Europeans, nor Arabs, nor Hindus, nor Buddhists, nor Confuciasts, nor Chinese, etc. Yet, somehow, we still find these words to be useful.
        >the "laws of Islam" too are open to interpretation
        Yes, but there is also much agreement (at least compared to Western laws), even among those who disagree violently at say Al-Azhar (Egypt), Al Akhawayn (Morocco), in Mecca (KSA), or Qom (in Iran).

        And yes, one can imagine and hope for far greater latitudes in interpretation -- a Reformation of Islam, in which the four main schools of jurisprudence that have governed shariah for 700-1,000 years are revolutionized, and suddenly it is acceptable to offer new interpretations of what is written in the Quran (a practice that today would get you condemned as a blasphemer and quite possibly killed in some places). Gay marriage in Islam? Bigamy illegal in KSA? Legalization of alcohol? Open pre-marital sex for women, without being treated as sluts and whores? Equal rights to build synagogues, Hindu temples, and atheist meeting houses throughout the Muslim world, and to openly proselytize these beliefs without fear of repercussions? Sure, why not? Perhaps in another 1,000 years?

        AP may well have other words, by then.

        >The major problem with the label is its possible misleading effect on the persons who are not familiar with the many faces of "Islam" and its followers.
        Ah, perhaps this is where we disagree most sharply: I argue the exact opposite: to hide the fact of the similarity of so much of political Islam is to delude naive, politically-correct liberals into tolerating or even supporting ideologies which they would find abhorrent if they knew more about them.
        >In other words, there are many "Islams" as there are many individuals who call themselves "Muslims." "Isms" create false realities.
        This implies that one can make no generalizations about Islam. (Or about any religion?) As a teacher might respond: "OK, that's one view. Who else has an idea?" Or, "What do the rest of you think about that?"

        Does the same hold for other social distinctions? So there's no capitalism, no socialism, no Republicanism, no Libertarianism, no Tea Party-ism, no democratism, just us individuals, living free and happy (under Shariah Law?)...

        >A good number of Christian fundamentalists in U.S. would also disagree with these.
        A 'good number' is not 60%. And we do in fact call them Xianists, and Dominionists, and other 'ists/'isms.

        ---------------------------------------------------------

        Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

        by Sharon Wraight on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:48:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I was born and raised in Turkey (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terra Mystica

          ...which means yes I have lived in a Muslim majority country. A good size one, too.

          Your response is indeed impressively wordy and lengthy which I appreciate very much. But the question I have here is that have you lived in a Muslim majority country? Have them as your relatives, family members, neighbors, community leaders, movie stars, teachers, artists, poets, writers, soldiers, janitors, judges, lawyers, street walkers, police officers, drunken hobos, homeless ones, prisoners, business people, cooks, maids, hotel managers, bus drivers, yacht owners, etc.etc.?

          I have.

          If I may analyze the following lines then...

          Gay marriage in Islam?
          It is as welcome as it is in traditional Christianity and Judaism :)
          Bigamy illegal in KSA?

          It is illegal in Turkey.

          Legalization of alcohol?

          It is legal in Turkey. I had my share of "college age" drinking yaaahooos!(It was fun, believe me :)

          Open pre-marital sex for women, without being treated as sluts and whores?
          There is no law against it in Turkey. Treated as sluts and whores? Attitudes similar to the West.  Progressive Turks vs. Conservative Turks. Example: My mother is uneducated and backwards thus for her it is "unladylike" for her while a good number of my relatives wouldn't give a hoot.
          Equal rights to build synagogues, Hindu temples, and atheist meeting houses throughout the Muslim world, and to openly proselytize these beliefs without fear of repercussions?

          Ey. Turkey has many synagogues, Jewish citizens, Churches, Christian citizens, plus a number of Turks are openly atheists (Facebook is full of them).

          Sure, why not? Perhaps in another 1,000 years?
          Instead of waiting 1000 years, I recommend you visit Turkey and spend some time there.

          Regards.

          ps# As a teacher, I make sure that my students learn not to generalize about anything. It is a well known logical fallacy, as you must know.

          "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

          by zenox on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:42:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've not heard anyone characterize Turkey (0+ / 0-)

            as an "Islamist" country, although some of the political parties have been characterized that way. But given that the leading political party there is an Islamic party, I'd say that the political atmosphere may have changed in recent years.

            "Let's do this!" - Leeroy Jenkins

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:06:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  True but the fact is Turkey IS a majority (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Terra Mystica

              Muslim country. Indeed the leading political party of the recent times identify its political views as "Islamic," which was and still is to a certain degree a concern of mine but there is something interesting about this politically "Islamic" party of Turkey: They are staunchly secular. More on the market and business friendly, they seem to steer clear from any "sharia" implementations. In other words, despite the politically "Islamic" leading party being in power for over a decade, Turkey is still majority Muslim and proudly welcoming of all religious worship, no worship, alcohol sale and purchase, men/women dressing whatever they like to choose and an increasing tolerance about people living together without being married.

              Are things perfect? Not even close. Especially problems with freedom of press, speech, etc. need improvement, to put it lightly. But to claim that one has to wait 1000 years to see alcohol being sold freely (in addition to the other ones) in a majority Muslim country one must pretend Turkey does not exist.

              This approach reminds me of a friend of mine, British, who is well meaning but a bit on the racist side, telling me that she never thought of Colin Powell as black.

              Well my dear fellow, Colin Powell IS black and Turkey IS a majority Muslim country thus such generalizing labeling like "Islamist" fail to represent reality.

              It is a slur based on ignorance and prejudice.

              "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

              by zenox on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:50:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Just saw this, on Turkey. (0+ / 0-)

            Sorry I hadn't replied earlier, I hadn't seen your reply.

            As you well know, Turkey is not the major thought-leader for the Islamic world, despite the wishes of many Turks for it to regain its former heyday, and it is the most liberal and secular of all Muslim-majority countries (and I wish all were more like it!!).

            Certainly there are some Turkish writers and thinkers who are influential among broader Islamic religious circles. Perhaps the best-known of these is Fethullah Gülen. But as you also know well, the Gülen (Hizmet) movement is more akin to a business mafia than a religious reformation.

            Your response is indeed impressively wordy and lengthy which I appreciate very much. Regarding your question, yes, I have lived in a Muslim majority country, and have Muslims as relatives, neighbors, community leaders; movie stars, artists, poets, writers, teachers (none of these are my favs); soldiers, janitors, judges, lawyers, police officers, business people, cooks, maids, hotel managers, bus drivers, yacht owners, etc. etc.  (I don't know about street walkers, drunken hobos, homeless ones, and prisoners; presumably them as well but I don't want to overstate my familiarity, so I trust your judgement that you are more familiar with these, than I. ;-) ) Among the Muslim-majority countries that I have traveled, researched, and worked in are Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Mali, Senegal, Guinee, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Muslim regions in India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. How about you?

            If I may analyze the following lines then...

            Gay marriage is emphatically not as welcome even in Turkey as in traditional Christian and Jewish countries. And I'm not speaking merely theoretically, I'm speaking of the reality of walking down the street or in the office, as an 'out' gay couple -- especially outside of Istanbul. The only countries which recognize gay-marriage are Christian- or Jewish- majority. It may not be recognized in traditional Christianity or Judaism as a holy union, but in Israel and many Christian-majority countries, there are civil unions (if not marriage) and legal protections. In Turkey, by contrast, as an EU Commission report noted:

            There have been several cases of discrimination at the workplace, where LGBT employees have been fired because of their sexual orientation. Provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code on ‘public exhibitionism’ and ‘offences against public morality’ are sometimes used to discriminate against LGBT people. The Law on Misdemeanours is often used to impose fines against transgender persons.
            Also as you well know, in most Muslim-majority countries, homosexuality is illegal, and in some Muslim-majority countries it is a capital offense. A map of public opinion about homosexuality also shows a correlation with the most opposition residing in Muslim-majority countries and the most support in Christian-majority countries: http://en.wikipedia.org/...  Less than 20% of Turks surveyed agreed that homosexuality should be accepted in society; even in the US it is more than 40%, and in Europe and most of Latin America it is more than 60%.

            Bigamy illegal in KSA?
            I wrote "KSA," I think you know this means the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Why did you reply about Turkey, when I singled out KSA for the "1,000 years" joke?

            In fact, bigamy is legal in the following countries (and illegal in most others): Egypt, Iran, India (legal only for Muslims, up 10 years of imprisonment for others), Malaysia (permitted for Muslims, illegal for others), Maldives (permitted for anyone; Islam is the official religion of the Maldives and open practice of any other religion is forbidden and liable to prosecution), Morocco (permitted for Muslims, not others), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (legalized for indigenous, black traditionalists in 1998).

            Do you recognize anything in common among these countries? If you answered "with the exception of indigenous South Africans, they are all Muslim-majority, or Muslims as singled out in India," you are correct!

            You're also correct that I didn't specify "in KSA" for the other issues, such as legalization of alcohol, though I had it in mind. But KSA is hardly ephemeral to Islam; it is the origin of Islam, the home of Mecca and Medina, and every Muslim in the entire world should make a pilgrimage (haj) to Mecca if they are able, indeed this is one of the five pillars of Islam (along with avowing the shahada, daily prayers, zakat alms, and fasting). The haj is not to Istanbul (although it's a wonderful city! :-) ).

            Besides your Turkish origins, why your focus on Turkey when discussing Islam, when you acknowledge it is one of the very few secular-Islamic states?

            In the following countries, any form of sexual activity outside marriage is illegal: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Sudan, and Yemen. Spot a pattern?  

            There are only 7 Jewish synagogues outside of Istanbul, and antisemitism is common -- although certainly less so in Turkey than in much of the Muslim world. In Saudi Arabia, of course, it is illegal to publicly practice any other religion than Islam. In most Muslim-majority countries, one needs official government permission to open a church/temple etc., and it is often difficult to obtain. (The 'liberal' UAE, for example has only 2 Hindu temples, for the roughly 1 million Hindus living there.) In KSA,  non-Muslim worshipers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in overt religious activity.

            I was joking about 1,000 years; in fact it is difficult for anyone to see beyond 30-50 years in most places, as so much can change. One hopes for the best...

            I've certainly visited Turkey (the Archeology Museum in Istanbul is one of my favorites, anywhere), had very close Turkish friends, a best friend is Turkish (born Muslim, loves to drink), and spent some time there.

            How much time have you spent in the Arabian Gulf, the epicenter of Islamic thought, with its funding of Al Azhar, Al Akhawayn, and madrasses and mosques throughout the world? I recommend you visit and spend some time there.

            the leading political party of the recent times identify its political views as "Islamic," which was and still is to a certain degree a concern of mine
            Mine, too! I'm glad we found common ground. :-)  Tell us some of your concerns about it?

            Surely you know that Turkey is the main exception when it comes to sharia law, and that in fact for most Muslim-majority countries (now even including Egypt) shariah is explicitly mention in the Constitution as the basis of law? Is it not misleading, to our readers who have not traveled throughout the Muslim world, to pretend that Turkey is the norm, rather than the exception? Even if one would like to see the more liberal Turkish interpretation and practice of Islam (and even more liberal, than that!) spread elsewhere in the Muslim world, isn't it more intellectually honest and more pragmatic to acknowledge reality, to be globally-minded and reality-based?

            problems with freedom of press, speech, etc. need improvement, to put it lightly.
            We agree, on this! :-)

            Generalizing is what much of social science social science does, it is not a slur, and it is not based on ignorance.

            Regards.

            ps# As a professor, I make sure that my students learn to  generalize when and as appropriate, to avoid the ecological fallacy, but also to recognize that 'data' is not the plural of 'anecdote'.

            Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

            by Sharon Wraight on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:51:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  ever heard of Dominionists? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight

    Islamist is a descriptive and accurate term, and it distinguishes the religion from the politics.  And frankly, what many Islamists want is much more extreme than 99% of evangelicals in the US.  

  •  As a generic term... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight, Terra Mystica

    I have no problem with "Islamist" and "Islamism." It would be preferable if people noted (assuming they understood) the precise distinctions among the various strands within generic "Islamism," but that's likely far too much to expect.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 02:20:09 PM PST

  •  I hear your concerns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenox, Sharon Wraight

    But when I hear the word Islamist I tend to think "Republican".  The way I've heard the AK in Turkey described (pious rural businessmen who despise the liberal urban elites) its hard not to think of them as Republicans.  And most other parties and politicians I've read about that are described as Islamists seem to be pretty run of the mill religious conservatives.

    That's why I always think its so hilarious when our right demonizes their right.  You guys are on the same side, stupids!

    So instead of trying to delegitimize the term Islamist, maybe "Christianist" should start gaining wider traction.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 03:31:20 PM PST

  •  I find it interesting that many of the comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenox, JDsg

    here seem to try and say its not a slur. Look how Muslims are homophobic, pedophiles and just generally Philistines! (By the way, the  slur "philistine" comes from the word Palestinian.)

    Yet many Christians think the USA is a Christian country. They advocate for rule by the 10 commandments. They believe a raped woman must give birth. They sound much like the Islamists we find so offensive. But I have never heard the term Christianist before reading the comments herein.

    Obama was called Muslim as a slur. Only Colin Powell, as I recall, noted that there was nothing wrong with being Mulsim. That comment didn't resonate with very many folks, not even "progressive Dems" .

    I find the term Islamist, as used by the right, quite offensive. I agree with the diarist and I will call out any that hurl it as a slur aimed at someone that doesn't fit the AP definition.

    Thanks for the enlightened diary!

  •  Excellent post. Tipped and rec'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people, JDsg

    Thank you.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:48:46 PM PST

  •  Were there toilets in Europe during 13th century? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg

    I believe the original Louvre had no toilets. The method of "flushing the toilet" meant dumping of the potty from the back door well into the middle ages, in Europe. Aaaand, during the crusades, Europeans were introduced to SOAP as a result of their contacts with the Muslims.

    Anyone knows anything about of these historical facts?

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:35:18 PM PST

  •  Tipped, recced and republished... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to Muslims at Daily Kos.

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 09:58:42 PM PST

  •  I think "theocrat" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg

    is the term to use for anyone who seeks to put political power in the hands of religious authorities, or seeks to enforce religious laws using the state. It doesn't matter which religion one is talking about. So when referring to Islam, perhaps "theocratic Islam" or "Islamic theocrat" would be preferable to "Islamist"

    "Let's do this!" - Leeroy Jenkins

    by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:34:53 PM PST

  •  Congrats, Fahad! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fahad Arman

    This diary made the CAIR daily newsletter.  I wish one of my diaries had done that.

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 06:43:25 AM PST

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