A Clarification on Term Usage
In my previous post I used the term, “extremist Muslims” in opposition to “moderate Muslim”. For those who have read other posts of mine and seen my admonishment of those who use modifiers with the words, “Islam” or “Muslim”, a clarification is in order as to why I did that myself on that post.
My complaint about those modifiers isn’t necessarily that they’re inaccurate. Some of them are accurate, but their problem is they give a false impression. This is not so much the fault of those modifiers as it is the fault of our PC-polluted environment, but if we’re to wake up people, we have to take such ingrained impressions into account. The term, “extremist Muslims”, for example, is accurate, but gives a false impression because, as I said on that post, people in our day are fixated on thinking extremists to be a minority, always and everywhere. On the other hand, the term, “extreme Islam” is inaccurate, because a moderate Islam, as opposed to moderate Muslims, has not yet come into existence.
Here follow a few terms and their problems:
- Radical Islam
- Half-truth. In as much as Muslims in previous times may have abstained from some Islamic laws, the return to observance of those laws in our age can be considered “radical”. However, this does not mean the Muslims of previous times practiced a different, more tolerant Islam. Analogy: Jewish women wearing pants instead of dresses doesn’t mean those who wear dresses are practicing “radical Judaism”—it means those who wear pants are ignoring Jewish law on that particular.
- Militant Islam
- Diversion. Though terrorism is high-profile, lending itself easily to coverage on the news networks, violence is only one way of conducting the jihad against the non-Muslim world. The demographic jihad is another way, and it can be just as effective, if not more so, in furthering the goal of turning a non-Muslim state into a shariah-ruled one. The multicultural jihad is yet another, harnessing the West’s enlightened precepts in the service of neutralizing its resistance to the other forms of jihad. The focus on “militant Islam”, like the focus on specific groups such as Al-Qaeda, blinds the non-Muslims to the big picture.
- Political Islam
- Inaccurate. There is no apolitical Islam. There may be Muslims who separate their religion from their politics, but they cannot preach that separation, for they would then be branded as apostates.
- Redundant and misleading. The suffix “-ism” is affixed to a noun to signify an ideology or philosophy based on it, for example, “Taoism” = “Ideology of following the Tao”. “Islam” is already an ideology, so the effect is the same as if someone said, “Taoismism”. The purpose of the term is to distinguish between a tolerant, peaceful Islam and the “hijacked” ideology of the radicals; the problem is the former doesn’t yet exist while the radicals have no difficulty proving that their form is the original, unchanged Islam of Mohammed.
- Wahhabist ideology
- Diversion. Many sources of current Islamic radicalism (return to strict observance—see “Radical Islam” above) can be pointed out, but this doesn’t mean that if all such sources were to disappear today all of a sudden, there would be no Islamic radicalism. A moderate Islam, as opposed to moderate Muslims, cannot arise unless moderate Muslims manage to challenge their extremist brethren on religious, scriptural, canonical grounds.
- Islamic reformist
- Incomplete information. “Reform” may be to any direction, not just to that of moderation. Even the Protestant Reformation in Christianity, celebrated as being the harbinger of the Enlightenment, was not intended as such, and brought to it only as an eventual after-effect. Reformism in Islam in the past two centuries was what spawned the radicalism of today—a change for the worse, from the non-Muslim point of view.
These are the main faulty terms and modifiers I’ve encountered on Old (also called, “Mainstream”) Media, but often even on New Media (the blogosphere) too. Since the ideological front is the very first step toward victory in this war, my addressing of the problems of terminology isn’t just hair-splitting, it’s an effort to get people out of the PC frame of mind.