After doing everything it can to ensconce a new word, "Islamophobia," into conversational English, the nation's most visible Islamist group is trying to stop use of a well-established word: Islamist.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper released a column urging journalists to "Drop the term 'Islamist.'"
It was added to the latest Associated Press Stylebook – the guide for spelling, punctuation and other rules – that is used by journalists at the smallest community papers and the largest television networks, Hooper wrote. AP defines Islamists as "Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi."
Journalists should ignore that, Hooper argued, because it is used in a negative way, and used by "Islam-bashers" who really hate the faith of Islam but want to cover their tracks. "Yet they fail to explain how a practicing Muslim can be active in the political arena without attracting the label 'Islamist.'"
Plenty of practicing Muslims work bravely in opposition to Islamist ideology. Britain's Quilliam Foundation was started by Muslims who walked away from radical Islamist thought and now counter the arguments Islamists offer.
"Challenging extremism is the duty of all responsible members of society," the foundation's website says. Not least because cultural insularity and extremism are products of the failures of wider society to foster a shared sense of belonging and to advance liberal democratic values. With Islamist extremism in particular, we believe a more self-critical approach must be adopted by Muslims." [Emphasis added]