In the days following 9/11, Americans across the ideological spectrum united in support of increased protections against terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. But a handful of conservatives used the attacks to promote division among Americans and their allies abroad.
For example, conservative writer Stephen Schwartz employed the term “Islamofascism” in a Weekly Standard article to describe the ideology of America’s enemies in its newly minted “war on terror.” Unfortunately, the moniker stuck with many prominent conservatives. Right-wing pundits, policy makers, and journalists started using the term, and even President Bush has employed it to describe terrorist networks in the Middle East.
That’s a shame, because Islamofascism is a misleading and harmful label: Instead of correctly identifying America’s enemies, it inaccurately describes modern terrorism, wrongly demonizes Islam as a violent religion, and dangerously obscures America’s real national security threats.
Here are the top four reasons why conservatives should stop using the term Islamofascism, and an explanation of what ideas and policies they should be promoting instead.
Islamofascism misrepresents modern terrorism and Islam.
It makes little sense to use the word “fascism” to describe today’s terrorism threat. Al Qaeda and other 21st century terrorists do not rely on the nation-state concept that defined 20th century fascism. Whereas fascists used violence to create control out of disorder, contemporary terrorists derive ammunition from chaos. (MORE)