Tuesday, July 03, 2007

'"Islamist" is the word...'

Anyone who's been a regular reader of anti-jihad blogs for the past four or five years is familiar with the term 'Islamist' and most people, left- or right-leaning, don't dispute its meaning. The word is generally used to separate Islamists as political-military activists from Muslims as practitioners of a religion.

In today's Telegraph, British MP Denis MacShane has an opinion piece which suggests that even this term, accurate though it may be, is too offensive for the sensitivities of some.
Six weeks ago, David Cameron wrote an article in the Observer criticising those who used the word "Islamist" to describe the ideological roots of the terrorist threat. Yet "Islamist" is an accurate description of a global ideology that has been slowly incubating for decades. It took 69 years between the writing of the Communist Manifesto and the imposition of Bolshevik terror on Russia after 1917. Hitler's hatred of Jews was derived from writings and ideologues active before he was born. The Islamist equivalent of Marx's revolutionary appeal can be found in the writing of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, with a growing presence in Egypt, as well as off-shoots such as Hamas and a European network, including prominent members of the Muslim Council of Britain.
A few weeks back, I made the distinction between Islamists and Muslims in a question I put to Robert Spencer in a Q&A over at Hot Air. Mr. Spencer, who knows far more about this stuff than I, replied that the notion of Islamists v. Muslims was a Western one and that it wouldn't wash in the Islamic world.

Mr. Spencer is certainly correct, but in the "selling" of the anti-jihad movement to the Western world, does it matter?

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