"Terrorist" not "Jihadist": US Lexicon
& Newspapers - Sat. Apr. 26, 2008
CAIRO — The Bush administration has produced a lexicon of phrases and terms that should be used by US diplomats and other officials to avoid any link between Islam and terrorism, reported the Guardian
on Saturday, April 26.
"We should not concede the terrorists' claim that they are legitimate adherents of Islam," said a guide prepared by the national counterterrorism center.
The "Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims
" guide asks diplomats to use "violent extremists", not jihadists, when describing America's enemies.
"Don't use the term jihadist, which has broader religious meanings beyond war, or mujahedeen, which refers to holy warriors," says the guide.
"Use the terms 'violent extremist' or 'terrorist.' Both are widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has dropped references to "jihad" in her public speeches since last September.
The 14-point guide also asks diplomats to drop ill-defined and offensive terminology.
"Don't use "Islamo-fascism" and other terms that could cause religious offense," it says.
US President George W. Bush upset American Muslims in 2006 when he said the US was at war with "Islamic fascists."
Last week, Republican White House contender John McCain has rebuffed calls by American Muslims to stop labeling terrorists and extremists as "Islamic".
No Muslim Label
The US lexicon, which was approved for diplomatic use this week and circulated to all US embassies, also calls for not labeling groups as "Muslims".
"Do use descriptive terms to define how a group fits into society. For example: South Asian youth and Arab opinion leaders."
US diplomats are also asked to drop the term "Al-Qaeda movement because this makes Al-Qaeda seem like a legitimate political movement."
"We must carefully avoid giving Bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders the legitimacy they crave, but do not possess, by characterizing them as religious figures or in terms that may make them seem to be noble in the eyes of some."
The guide also calls for not using the term "caliphate" when explaining Al-Qaeda's goals. "It's not what you say, but what they hear," said the guide.
It further urges diplomats to drop using the terms "salafi," "*******st," "sufi," "ummah" and other words from Islamic theology.
The British government recently produced a lexicon of phrases and terms that should be used to avoid any implication that there is a link between Islam and terrorism.
Compiled by the Home Office, the phrasebook describes those carrying out attacks in the name of Islam as criminals, murderers or thugs rather than "fundamentalist-jihadi" or "terrorists."
The EU drafted in 2006 a document of common vocabulary on Islam to avoid stigmatizing terminology in dealing with the other.