Archive for the ‘Naming It’ Category

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. (more…)


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.

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. (more…)

Naming It–Is Islamofascism Islamic?

March 8, 2008

A critique from some is that Arab terrorism is not Islamic, it’s not religious, it’s nationalistic, political, whatever. These critics do not see the correctness of the phrase Islamo-fascism. 

The following excerpt from ynet news should correct those who are willing to listen.  We see an Islamic political movement AND people going to mosques to give thanks.. at an Islamo-fascist terrorist attack… on another people’s religious seminary… :

By: Ali Waked

Palestinians distribute sweets in celebration of Jerusalem terror attack as Hamas promises ‘this is only the beginning’

Gaza’s streets filled with joyous crowds of thousands on Thursday evening following the terror attack at a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary in which eight people were killed.

In mosques in Gaza City and northern Gaza, many residents went to perform the prayers of thanksgiving.

Armed men fired in the air in celebration and others passed out sweets to passersby.

Hamas stopped just short of claiming responsibility but issued a statement saying the group “blesses the (Jerusalem) operation. It will not be the last,” Hamas said in a statement. …

Naming It– Prager on islamo-fascism

November 29, 2007

The recent Islamo-fascism awareness week at colleges has prompted some attention and criticism of the term.
Dennis Prager weighs in on this in an excellent column:


The Left and the Term “Islamo-Fascism”
By Dennis Prager
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Last week, at universities around America, the conservative activist David Horowitz organized “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” …

Various Muslim student groups condemned these awareness weeks and the term itself, charging that both are no more than expressions of anti-Muslim bigotry, i.e., “Islamophobia.” Nevertheless, Muslim student groups decided not to actively disrupt the week. Therefore most of the opposition to Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week events came from leftist student groups.

…First, the term is not anti-Muslim. One may object to the term on factual grounds, i.e., one may claim that there are no fascistic behaviors among people acting in the name of Islam — but such a claim is a denial of the obvious.So once one acknowledges the obvious, that there is fascistic behavior among a core of Muslims — specifically, a cult of violence and the wanton use of physical force to impose an ideology on others — the term “Islamo-Fascism” is entirely appropriate. (more…)

Naming It–Bernard Lewis comments

October 24, 2007

The world’s premier historian of Islam, Bernard Lewis, discussed the conflict with Islamo-fasicsm in an interview in the New York Sun.. He emphasized a clear understanding of the problem and a clear definition, leads to a plan of action:


…”It’s misleading to say we are engaged in a war against terrorism,” Mr. Lewis said. “If Churchill had told us that we were engaged in a war against submarines and war craft, we’d be in a different world today. Terrorism is a tactic, it is not the enemy.”

The enemy, he said, is Islamism, which he placed as the third in a sequence of ideological deformations that have taken place in his lifetime, the first two being Nazism and Bolshevism.

“There is only one way to deal with Islamism: to mobilize the Muslims themselves on our side,” Mr. Lewis said. “Nazism and Bolshevism were a curse to their own people before they became a threat to the world. We must strive for the same situation. … Perhaps it is our only solution. We must free them or they will destroy us.”

Mr. Lewis said his optimism in facing Islamism derives from his expectation of foolishness and error on the part of our adversaries, noting historical examples such as Hitler’s exile of his best scientists…

Naming It– Islamofascism is Correct–Hitchens

October 22, 2007

Hitchens analyzes the use of this term at

He concurs that it is quite appropriate in this context:


Defending Islamofascism,  It’s a valid term. Here’s why.

By Christopher Hitchens

The attempt by David Horowitz and his allies to launch “Islamofascism Awareness Week” on American campuses has been met with a variety of responses. One of these is a challenge to the validity of the term itself. It’s quite the done thing, in liberal academic circles, to sneer at any comparison between fascist and jihadist ideology. People like Tony Judt write to me to say, in effect, that it’s ahistorical and simplistic to do so. And in some media circles, another kind of reluctance applies: Alan Colmes thinks that one shouldn’t use the word Islamic even to designate jihad, because to do so is to risk incriminating an entire religion. He and others don’t want to tag Islam even in its most extreme form with a word as hideous as fascism. Finally, I have seen and heard it argued that the term is unfair or prejudiced because it isn’t applied to any other religion.Well, that last claim is certainly not true. It was once very common, especially on the left, to prefix the word fascism with the word clerical. (more…)

Naming It– Refusing to Debate

October 20, 2007

Islamo-fascism, as I have discussed previously, is a description of the extreme ideology of a segment of Moslems, also known as Islamists or Political Islam.  It is an encompassing ideology which seeks to establish a global caliphate, convert Moslems to the extremist Washhabi sect, and destroy modernity/Western Civilization and dominate it.

 Some who disagree that there is such a problem in the Moslem world have taken to criticizing the use of the term Islamo-fasicsm.  Now Alan Colmes has attempted to silence those calling attention to this worldwide problem by calling the phrase “hate speech”.

See below from–

excerpt from an exchange that took place between FoxNews Channel anchor Alan Colmes and myself, over my efforts to organize Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week:

Alan Colmes: “The words, the phrase ‘Islamo-fascism’ is hate speech. It equates an entire religion with fascism. That’s what people object to. It conflates the two, and it’s wrong.” In other words, students can’t even hold a discussion about “Islamo-Fascism” because the idea itself is hateful, is forbidden.

This argument clearly doesn’t make sense. Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is explicitly designed to raise public awareness about the oppression of Muslim women by Islamic radicals who abuse them. How can that be equating all Muslims with oppressors? The term “Islamo-Fascism” was itself coined by moderate Muslims in Algeria who were being slaughtered in the tens of thousands by Islamic radicals bent on jihad. How does using a term invented by Muslims to describe their oppressors equate all Muslims with the fascists?

Does the term “Italian Fascism” equate all Italians with fascism? Or does it just identify those Italians who were followers of Mussolini? Is the term “Italian Fascism” hate speech? What about the term “white racism?” By Colmes’ logic, such a term equates an entire race– including Alan Colmes – with racism, and is therefore hate speech.

Obviously, the attacks on Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week by liberals such as Colmes and radicals such as the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Muslim Students Association are based on reasoning that is absurd. Their only logic is emotional… hatred for those who want to raise awareness of the threats we face from radical Islam. This hatred has only one purpose, which is to put a metaphorical bullet in the head of those who oppose the jihad. The purpose is to silence them.

Naming It– Brits Avoid This

July 11, 2007

In an Orwellian twist, the British have eliminated the word Muslim from discussions of recent terror attacks and are describing “communities” and “criminal acts” instead.  I have argued that if one cannot name what one is fighting, one cannot win.  Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, gives an update:


Britain’s war against . . . well, you know

Terrorists targeting the West populate a virulent strain of Islam. Skirting that unfortunate truth — as the new prime minister seems apt to do — will only prolong the battle and embolden the enemy.

By Melanie Phillips

Britain is now fighting a war it dares not name. The recent failed car bomb attacks on a London nightclub and Glasgow airport demonstrated once again that Britain is a principal target for al-Qaeda. But even now, the British response is dangerously confused.

After eight people in the medical profession were arrested over these attacks, there was widespread shock that those who cure should also want to kill. This naive and ahistorical reaction demonstrated yet again the extraordinary state of denial about the Islamist jihad. After all, Osama bin Laden’s sidekick, Ayman al-Zawahri, is a doctor. So are other Islamist terrorists, including Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas strongman in Gaza.

But because the deeply empirical British do not understand how religious fanaticism twists the human mind, they tell themselves that Islamic terrorism must be driven by rational grievances such as deprivation, “Islamophobia” or British foreign policy.

Many continue to believe that Britain is a target because of its involvement in Iraq. While the war is undoubtedly used to whip up hysteria in the Muslim world, the irrationality of believing that it is the cause of Islamic terror is clearly demonstrated by the fact that British Muslims who have been jailed for terrorist offenses were recruited even before 9/11. Al-Qaeda is also heavily engaged in places such as Indonesia or Africa, which have no connection to Iraq or the Middle East. (more…)

Naming It– House Democrats Won’t

April 4, 2007

As I’ve emphasized in this blog, one must identify and name the problem (islamo-fascism) and the enemy (islamo-fascists) in order to develop a coherent strategy (media, education, diplomatic, military, special ops, etc.) to defeat it. But again we find that some refuse to even acknowledge the global nature of this conflict.  They won’t call it the “War on terror” and certainly not the more accurate– “War against Islamo-fascism”.  James Taranto writes in about this “9/10” thinking style:


…A story in the Military Times gives a window into the strategic thinking–or lack thereof–of the Democrats who now control the House:

The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.

This is not because the war has been won, lost or even called off, but because the committee’s Democratic leadership doesn’t like the phrase.

A memo for the committee staff, circulated March 27, says the 2008 bill and its accompanying explanatory report that will set defense policy should be specific about military operations and “avoid using colloquialisms.”

The “global war on terror,” a phrase first used by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the “long war,” which military officials began using last year as a way of acknowledging that military operations against terrorist states and organizations would not be wrapped up in a few years. (more…)