The EU bowdlerizes the language of jihad

Europe is once again indulging in wishful thinking about Islam. Reuters reports

The European Union, tiptoeing through a minefield of religious and cultural sensitivities, is discreetly reviewing the language it uses to describe terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam. 

EU officials are working on what they call a "lexicon" for public communication on terrorism and Islam, designed to make clear that there is nothing in the religion to justify outrages like the September 11 attacks or the bombings of Madrid and London. 

The lexicon would set down guidelines for EU officials and politicians. 

"Certainly 'Islamic terrorism' is something we will not use ... we talk about 'terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'," an EU official told Reuters.

Other terms being considered by the review include "Islamist", "fundamentalist" and "jihad". The latter, for example, is often used by al Qaeda and some other groups to mean warfare against infidels, but for most Muslims indicates a spiritual struggle.

"Jihad means something for you and me, it means something else for a Muslim. Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself," said the official, speaking anonymously because the review is an internal one that is not expected to be made public.

Nice try, but not at all convincing. As our contributor Andrew Bostom has documented in his book The Legacy of Jihad, these people are deluding themselves. To be sure, some Muslims regard jihad as a spiritual quest, but to pretend that jihad has not been militarily applied for almost the entirety is Islamic history is whistling past the graveyard.

Thomas Lifson   4 12 06

Europe is once again indulging in wishful thinking about Islam. Reuters reports

The European Union, tiptoeing through a minefield of religious and cultural sensitivities, is discreetly reviewing the language it uses to describe terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam. 

EU officials are working on what they call a "lexicon" for public communication on terrorism and Islam, designed to make clear that there is nothing in the religion to justify outrages like the September 11 attacks or the bombings of Madrid and London. 

The lexicon would set down guidelines for EU officials and politicians. 

"Certainly 'Islamic terrorism' is something we will not use ... we talk about 'terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'," an EU official told Reuters.

Other terms being considered by the review include "Islamist", "fundamentalist" and "jihad". The latter, for example, is often used by al Qaeda and some other groups to mean warfare against infidels, but for most Muslims indicates a spiritual struggle.

"Jihad means something for you and me, it means something else for a Muslim. Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself," said the official, speaking anonymously because the review is an internal one that is not expected to be made public.

Nice try, but not at all convincing. As our contributor Andrew Bostom has documented in his book The Legacy of Jihad, these people are deluding themselves. To be sure, some Muslims regard jihad as a spiritual quest, but to pretend that jihad has not been militarily applied for almost the entirety is Islamic history is whistling past the graveyard.

Thomas Lifson   4 12 06