Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Global Search and Replace All?

According to this article (via Stand-To!), using the term "jihadi" grants to that enemy a legitimacy within Islam that we should not bestow:

In dealing with Islamic extremists, the West may be giving them the advantage due to cultural ignorance, maintain Dr. Douglas E. Streusand and Army Lt. Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV. The men work at the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C.

The two believe the right words can help fight the global war on terror. "American leaders misuse language to such a degree that they unintentionally wind up promoting the ideology of the groups the United States is fighting," the men wrote in an article titled "Choosing Words Carefully: Language to Help Fight Islamic Terrorism."

A case in point is the term "jihadist." Many leaders use the term jihadist or jihadi as a synonym for Islamic extremist. Jihad has been commonly adapted in English as meaning "holy war." But to Muslims it means much more. In their article, Steusand and Tunnell said in Arabic - the language of the Koran - jihad "literally means striving and generally occurs as part of the expression 'jihad fi sabil illah,' striving in the path of God."

This is a good thing for all Muslims. "Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad thus indicates that we recognize their doctrines and actions as being in the path of God and, for Muslims, legitimate," they wrote. By countering jihadis, the West and moderate Muslims are enemies of true Islam.

Much like calling them "militants" or "Minute Men" makes them seem like something other than the murdering scum they are in our society, I guess.

So what do we call the thugs who murder in the name of Islam?

The men asked Muslim scholars what the correct term for Islamic extremists would be and they came up with "hirabah." This word specifically refers to those engaged in sinful warfare, warfare contrary to Islamic law. "We should describe the Islamic totalitarian movement as the global hirabah, not the global jihad," they wrote.

Should I start using "hirabah" to describe our Islamofascist enemies? Although from context I do hope nobody mistakes what I think of them.

But I concede that using a term that doesn't make it seem to Moslem audiences that we consider them legitimate expressions of Islam is important.

And equally important is identifying our enemies to our own population so not all Moslems appear to be the enemy. Refusing to admit that hirabah scum draw their inspiration from Islam makes it seem like all Islam must be guilty. Why else hush up the links?

So are members or believers of the hirabah called "hirabahi"? "Hirabists"?

Or maybe just "scum" is an easier term all around.