Hiding from the Words

December 1, 2011

        if we can’t speak about our enemies, how can we defeat them?

Obama Administration Bans Knowledge of Islam

by Raymond Ibrahim
Hudson New York
November 30, 2011

The Obama administration’s censoring of photographs of the late Osama bin Laden, lest they offend Muslims, is one thing; but what about censoring words, especially those pivotal to U.S. security?

The Daily Caller reveals that “the Obama administration has been pulling back all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive.”

The move comes after complaints from advocacy organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others identified as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the 2004 Holy Land Foundation terror fundraising trial. In a Wednesday Los Angeles Times op-ed, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) president Salam al-Marayati threatened the FBI with a total cutoff of cooperation between American Muslims and law enforcement if the agency failed to revise its law enforcement training materials. Maintaining the training materials in their current state “will undermine the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community,” al-Marayati wrote. Multiple online sources detail MPAC’s close alignment with CAIR. In his op-ed, Al-Marayati demanded that the Justice Department and the FBI “issue a clear and unequivocal apology to the Muslim American community” and “establish a thorough and transparent vetting process in selecting its trainers and materials.”

Accordingly, after discussing the matter with Attorney General Eric Holder, Dwight C. Holton said “I want to be perfectly clear about this: training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for. They will not be tolerated.”

Even before these Muslim complaints and threats, President Obama alluded to censoring words when he said soon after taking office: “Words matter … because one of the ways we’re going to win this struggle [“war on terror”] is through the battle of [Muslims’] hearts and minds” (followed by things like commissioning NASA to make Muslims “feel good” about themselves).

As if there were not already a lamentable lack of study concerning Muslim law war doctrine in the curriculum of American military studies—including in the Pentagon and U.S. Army War College—the administration’s more aggressive censorship program will only exacerbate matters. Last year’s Quarterly Defense Report [QDR], a strategic document, does not mention anything remotely related to Islam—even as it stresses climate change, which it sees as an “accelerant of instability and conflict” around the world.

This attempt to whitewash Islam goes back to a 2008 government memo that not only warned against “offending,” “insulting,” or being “confrontational” to Muslims, but tried to justify such censorship as follows:

Never use the terms “jihadist” or “mujahideen” in conversation to describe the terrorists. A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means “striving in the path of God” and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions [emphasis added].

Aside from the fact that the above definitions are highly misleading, the notion that the words we use can ever have an impact on what is and is not legitimate for Muslims is beyond incompetant: Muslims are not waiting around for Americans or their government—that is, the misguided, the deluded, in a word, the infidel—to define Islam for them. For Muslims, only Sharia law determines right and wrong: whatever falls inside Shra law is right; whatever falls outside Sharia law is wrong.

The U.S. government needs to worry less about which words appease Muslims and worry more about providing its intelligence community—not to mention its own citizenry—with accurate knowledge concerning the nature of the threat.

Without words related to Islam, how are analysts to make sense of the current conflict? What are the goals and motivations of the jihadists? What are their methods? Who might be “radicalizing” them? With whom are they affiliated? Who supports them? These and a host of other questions are unintelligible without free use of words related to Islam.

Knowledge is linked to language: the more precise the language, the more precise the knowledge. In the current conflict, to acquire accurate knowledge, which is essential to victory, we need to begin with accurate language.

This means U.S. intelligence analysts and policymakers need to be able to use, and fully appreciate the significance of, words related to Islam—starting with the word “Islam” itself: Submission—to a worldview based on Sharia law, a set of assumptions and imperatives thoroughly different from those in Western common law. Whatever falls inside Sharia law is right – including unequal justice under law; religious and gender inequality under law; criminalization of lifestyle choices as well as freedom of religion and speech – and whatever falls outside Sharia law is wrong.

It means the U.S. military needs to begin expounding and studying Islamic law and war doctrine—without fear of reprisal, such as when counter-terrorism strategist Stephen Coughlin was fired by the Pentagon for focusing on Islamic doctrine and therefore being politically incorrect. It means America’s leadership needs to take that ancient dictum—”Know thy enemy”—seriously.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Naming It– or Avoiding Names??

May 14, 2009

We learn from Raymond Ibrahim of Pajamas media that the US Government is moving away from speaking factually and accurately about Islamo-fascism.



Knowledge is inextricably linked to language. The less accurate words are, the less accurate the knowledge they impart; conversely, the more precise the language, the more precise the knowledge. In the war on terror, to acquire accurate knowledge — which is pivotal to victory — we need to begin with accurate language.

Would the free world have understood the Nazi threat if, instead of calling them what they called themselves, “Nazis,” it had opted to simply call them “extremists” — a word wholly overlooking the racist, expansionary, and supremacist elements that are part and parcel of the word “Nazi”?

Unfortunately, the U.S. government, apparently oblivious to this interconnection between language and knowledge, appears to be doing just that. Even President Obama alluded to this soon after taking office when he said, “Words matter in this situation because one of the ways we’re going to win this struggle [war on terror] is through the battle of [Muslims’] hearts and minds.”

According to an official memo, when talking about Islamists and their goals, analysts are to refrain from using Arabic words of Islamic significance (“mujahidin,” “salafi,” “ummah”); nor should they employ helpful English or anglicized words (“jihadi,” “Islamo-fascism,” “caliphate”). Instead, vague generics (“terrorists,” “extremists,” “totalitarians”) should suffice. Read the rest of this entry »

Methods– Lying and Islamo-fascism

March 4, 2009

Raymond Ibrahim presents the viewpoint that lying and deceit is sanctioned for Muslims based on his reading and interpretation of the Koran.


War, peace, Deceit in Islam

by Raymond Ibrahim

Pajamas Media February 12, 2009

Read the rest of this entry »

Fighting It– Mumbai Moderate Muslims Won’t Bury…

February 21, 2009

In a response to terror, rarely if ever seen among Muslims, Mumbai muslims have refused to bury the terrorists who massacred hundreds in Mumbai a month or two ago.  If only this would spread..

excerpts:   Thomas Friedman writes in the NY Times—

The nine Pakistani Muslim terrorists who went on an utterly senseless killing rampage in Mumbai on 26/11 – India’s 9/11 – gunning down more than 170 people, including 33 Muslims, scores of Hindus, as well as Christians and Jews – are still in the morgue because the leadership of India’s Muslim community is refusing to allow them to be buried in the main Muslim cemetery of Mumbai. “People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim,” said Hanif Nalkhande, a spokesman for the Muslim Jama Masjid Trust which runs the cemetery. M.J. Akbar, the Indian-Muslim editor of Covert, an Indian investigative journal, explained: “Terrorism has no place in Islamic doctrine. The Koranic term for the killing of innocents is ‘fasad.‘ Terrorists are fasadis, not jihadis.
The in-your-face defiance of Islamist terrorists by Mumbai’s Muslims stands out against a dismal landscape of predominantly Sunni Muslim suicide murderers who have attacked civilians in mosques and markets from Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan, but who have been treated by mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera, or by extremist Islamist spiritual leaders and Web sites, as “martyrs” whose actions deserve praise. The only effective way to stop this trend is for “the village” – the Muslim community itself – to say “no more”; for the culture and faith community to delegitimize this kind of behavior, openly, loudly and consistently. India’s Muslims, the second-largest Muslim community in the world after Indonesia, do a great service to Islam by delegitimizing suicide-murderers. ..

Naming it– Whose hearts and minds have been won?

January 18, 2009

Daniel Pipes, always brilliant, writes about the West’s linguistic response to Islamo-fascist terror:

excerpts: …

I documented this avoidance by listing the twenty (!) euphemisms the press unearthed to describe Islamists who attacked a school in Beslan in 2004: activists, assailants, attackers, bombers, captors, commandos, criminals, extremists, fighters, group, guerrillas, gunmen, hostage-takers, insurgents, kidnappers, militants, perpetrators, radicals, rebels, and separatists – anything but terrorists.

And if terrorist is impolite, adjectives such as Islamist, Islamic, and Muslim become unmentionable. My blog titled “Not Calling Islamism the Enemy” provides copious examples of this avoidance, along with its motives. In short, those who would replace War on Terror with A Global Struggle for Security and Progress imagine this linguistic gambit will win over Muslim hearts and minds.

Post-Mumbai, analysts such as Steven Emerson, Don Feder, Lela Gilbert, Caroline Glick, Tom Gross, William Kristol, Dorothy Rabinowitz, and Mark Steyn again noted various aspects of this futile linguistic behavior, with Emerson bitterly concluding that “After more than 7 years since 9/11, we can now issue a verdict: Islamic terrorists have won our hearts and minds.”

What finally will rouse Westerners from their stupor, to name the enemy and fight the war to victory? Only one thing seems likely: massive deaths, say 100,000 casualties in a single WMD attack. Short of that, it appears, much of the West, contently deploying defensive measures against fancifully-described “activists,” will gently slumber on.

Methods– Islamo-fascist “War” Fighting

January 18, 2009

Haviv Rettig Gur in J Post identified at least five methods of “fighting” that Hamas is using that are war crimes. In fact, it is not just Hamas, but Islamo-fascists of all stripes that use these methods.

  • “First, the deliberate targeting of civilians is in and of itself a war crime,” he noted, referring to the Hamas rockets fired at southern towns for eight years.
  • “A second war crime is when Hamas attacks [from within] civilian areas and civilian structures, whether it be an apartment building, a mosque or a hospital, in order to be immune from a response from Israel….Civilians are protected persons, and civilian areas are protected areas. Any use of a civilian infrastructure to launch bombs is itself a war crime.”
  • Third, “the misuse and abuse of humanitarian symbols for purposes of launching attacks is called the perfidy principle. For example, using an ambulance to transport fighters or weapons or disguising oneself as a doctor in a hospital, or using a UN logo or flag, are war crimes.”
  • The fourth violation “is the prohibition in the Fourth Geneva Convention and international jurisprudence against the direct and public incitement to genocide. The Hamas covenant itself is a standing incitement to genocide.”
  • The fifth crime relates to the scope of the attack on civilians, which upgrades the violation to a crime against humanity. “When you deliberately hit civilians not infrequently but in a systematic, widespread attack, that’s defined in the treaty of the International Criminal Court and international humanitarian law as a crime against humanity.”
  • The final war crime for which Hamas is responsible is the recruitment of children into armed conflict.
  • “When Israel responds and civilians are killed because Israel is targeting an area from which rockets were launched, then it is Hamas which bears responsibility for the deaths…

Merry Christmas– Tolerance a 2-Way Street?

December 25, 2008

We hear a lot about larger and larger mosques being built in Europe, but nothing about churches in Arabia, controlled by Saud.  Finally an EU Parliamentarian questions this assymetry of tolerance:


  • EU Parliament Head: Allow Christian Churches to Be Built in Arab Countries Like Mosques Are Built in Europe
    EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering called on Arab governments on Tuesday to allow Christian churches to be built in their countries in the same way that mosques can be built in Europe. In Saudi Arabia, at the end of a tour of Gulf countries, Poettering said Arab governments need to be more tolerant of other religions. “It is vital that we get a better understanding of the Islamic culture,” he said. “But it’s a two-way road. We ask for tolerance for Christians…in the Arab world. It’s mutual.”
    Poettering noted that Saudi Arabia is host to millions of foreign workers, including more than one million Filipinos, most of whom are Christian. “There are hundreds of thousands of Catholics here. We have Christmas tomorrow and they cannot assemble in a church.”  (AFP)

Return to the Blog– Naming It

December 8, 2008

I have taken a break for a while, what with the US election, financial crisis, etc.

Has anything changed?

Well Mark Steyn’s recent piece in the National Review Online shows how Western Media and society continues to fail in clearly identifying the enemy– Islamfascism.

The media bends over backwards to avoid “offending” Muslims and “root cause” explanations still abound, ignoring the hate ideology of Radical Islam.

excerpts from Steyn:

By Mark Steyn

Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnar wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”

Indeed. And so it goes. This time round — Bombay — it was the Associated Press that filed a story about how Muslims “found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. In fact, you’d be hard pressed from most news reports to figure out the bloodshed was “linked” to any religion, least of all one beginning with “I-“ and ending in “-slam.” In the three years since those British bombings, the media have more or less entirely abandoned the offending formulations — “Islamic terrorists,” “Muslim extremists” — and by the time of the assault on Bombay found it easier just to call the alleged perpetrators “militants” or “gunmen” or “teenage gunmen,” as in the opening line of this report in the Australian: “An Adelaide woman in India for her wedding is lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen ran amok…”

Kids today, eh? Always running amok in an aimless fashion. Read the rest of this entry »

Accomplices– Self Censorship BBC

September 10, 2008

Remarkably, a well researched piece on the London Tube Bombers has been rejected by the BBC as “Islamophobic”.  This self-censorship of a nationally owned and subsidized outlet suggests that the UK is unwilling to confront and publicize terror in its midst and in fact, is phobic, or fearful, of Islam.


Essay: Self-censorship and the BBC

Sep. 4, 2008

Far in the distance, a protracted scream comes out of a dark tunnel. As it rises, the ground begins to shake. A dot of light speeds toward the viewer. In seconds, it fills the screen and a rattling blur of cold steel shrieks past the camera.

The action cuts to the forecourt of King’s Cross station. Hasib Hussein, a gawky 18-year-old with soft eyes, looks imploringly at the authoritative figure of Sidique Khan.

“…”There is nothing to fear in death, Hasib,” he says. “When the time comes, we’ll face toward Mecca together, as one.” He looks Hussein in the eyes. “Our lives begin today.” Hussein nods. Khan ruffles his hair and disappears to slaughter commuters on the London Underground. Hussein screws up his courage and prepares to murder an equally random collection of passengers on a bus heading out from King’s Cross.

So begins The London Bombers, one of the most thoroughly researched and politically important drama-documentaries commissioned by British television. A team of journalists, at least one of whom was a British Muslim, reported to Terry Cafolla, a writer who won many awards for his dramatization of the religious hatred which engulfed the Holy Cross School in Belfast. The reporters spent months in Beeston, the Leeds slum where three of the four 7/7 bombers – Sidique Khan, Hasib Hussein and Shehzad Tanweer – grew up. They didn’t find that the “root cause” of murderous rage was justifiable anger at the “humiliation” America, Israel, Britain and Denmark and her tactless cartoonists had inflicted on Muslims.

Instead, they inadvertently confirmed the ideas of Ernest Gellner, the late professor of …

His answer was that Wahhabism and its ever-more-zealous theocratic variants could appear as modern as secular humanism. They represented the pure religion of scholars and the city, which could free Muslims from their peasant parents’ embarrassingly superstitious faith. Read the rest of this entry »

Hate Education–Saudi Funded– At a Mosque Near You?

September 8, 2008

The Washington Post reports on a London mosque:

Saudi-Backed Hate Propaganda, Exposed – Jack Fairweather (Washington Post)

  • British Muslim leaders have helped generate the impression that everyone is working together to separate rogue extremists from the religious establishment. But Monday night, the “Dispatches” documentary series on Channel 4 TV in the UK revealed a very different picture of what goes on in some of the UK’s flagship Muslim institutions.
  • The filmmakers went undercover at the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park to show the discord between what imams preached outwardly to the public and what they preached to their faithful in private. According to the documentary, they teach the faithful that God orders them to kill homosexuals and apostates; that they should curtail the freedom of women; and that they should view non-Muslims in a derogatory manner and limit contact with them.
  • Many of these leaders are trained in Saudi Arabian Wahhabi philosophy, and use Saudi-approved textbooks and pedagogical materials to teach young students.
  • Saudi Arabia’s education and religious outreach programs, whether in the form of textbooks, library endowments or madrassah construction, constitute one of the largest aid programs in the world – roughly $4 billion a year – and introduce hundreds of millions of schoolchildren to radical Wahhabi doctrine via Saudi Embassy-run schools and educational programs in mosques.