CAIR bullies AP into changing the definition of 'Islamist'
Pretty soon the AP stylebook is going to be twice as long in order to explain all these formerly "perjorative" words like "illegal immigrant" and now "Islamist."
Following on the heels of the Tuesday decision by The Associated Press to discontinue use of the term "illegal immigrant," the news agency on Thursday revised its stylebook entry for another politically charged term.
The term "Islamist," the AP clarified in a Thursday afternoon alert to online stylebook subscribers, should not be used as "a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals."
"Islamist" is frequently used as a label for conservative Islamic political movements, particularly Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the group's Palestinian offshoot. It generally carries a negative connotation.
The AP first added the term to its stylebook in 2012. The definition initially read:
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 Council on American-Islamic Relations, an American advocacy group sometimes labeled "Islamist" by critics, previously lobbied for the AP to drop the term. In a January op-ed CAIR's communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, wrote the term "has become shorthand for 'Muslims we don't like'" and "is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context."
As of Thursday's update, the AP definition reads:
An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.
Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.
CAIR praised the AP's update. "We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims," Hooper said. "The key issue with the term 'Islamist' is not its continued use; the issue is its use almost exclusively as an ill-defined pejorative."
What else are" Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals" but Islamists? Does AP think they are "mainstream Muslims?"
This whole thing could be solved by simply calling "Islamists" terrorists. Oh...wait. The AP dropped the word "terrorist" several years ago.
Twisting our language and culture into knots in order to avoid offending Muslims does little to advance understanding, and much to muddy the waters. But then, that's what CAIR is after. Eventually, terrorists will be known as freedom fights" and we'll be forced to change the definition of the word "democracy" to include government's like the Muslim Brotherhood's Egypt.