The language police win again: AP bans term “Islamist” (Update: List of Muslim leaders who already have violated AP style guide)
The language police are getting crazy. There now no longer are Illegal Immigrants. And as of today at AP, there are no Islamists.
We use the term Islamist here to distinguish the fundamentalists and radicals from the non-radicals. The Muslim Brotherhood is Islamist. Hamas is Islamist. Hezbollah is Islamist. The Mullahs in Iran are Islamist. The King of Jordan is not.
Not good enough for the thought and language police. Via Politico:
On Thursday, after much prodding from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the AP moved to disassociate the term “Islamist” from its negative connotations with “Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.”
CAIR had complained late last year that the AP’s old definition of “Islamist” — a “supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam [and] who view the Quran as a political model” — had become a pejorative shorthand for extremist Muslims or “Muslims we don’t like.”
The Stylebook’s entry for Islamist now reads as follows (bold mine): “An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists. Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.”
CAIR commended the AP’s decision in a statement released on Friday: “We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims,” Ibrahim Hooper, the National Communications Director for the civil liberties group said. “The key issue with the term ‘Islamist’ is not its continued use; the issue is its use almost exclusively as an ill-defined pejorative.”
New definition announced today for Islamist adds more nuance explaining members of the political movement. #aces2013
— AP Stylebook (@APStylebook) April 4, 2013
Previously: CAIR demands media drop term “Islamist”.
UPDATE — quick Google search reveals numerous Muslim leaders who already have violated AP’s new style guide by using the term Islamist (just a sample here, feel free to research and add in comments):
Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner (as quoted by The Guardian):
“The Brotherhood have not served themselves well — they have scared people right, left and centre with some of the extremist views put forward from them and other Islamist groups….”
Mohamed Abu-Hamed, the deputy leader of the liberal Free Egyptians Party (as quoted by AP):
“The most important element that led Islamists to win is their use of Islamic language in their outreach,” Abu-Hamed told The Associated Press. “They pressured people’s religious conscience”
Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University (as quoted in Al-Jazeera in op-ed titled Wresting Islam from Islamists):
Rescued from the Islamists – their triumphalist politics and totalitarian jurisprudence alike – Islam will resume its multifarious course of creative and critical conversation with the world and will thus become what it has always been to Muslims – integral to their expansive cosmopolitan cultures but not definitive to them.