ISLAM-OPED: A Sensible Way to Describe Terrorists


The European Union will soon distribute new guidelines to its 25-member nations that recommend using "non-emotive lexicon for discussing radicalization."

EU officials say that the guidelines, which are not legally binding, will ask European governments to shun the phrase "Islamic terrorism" in favor of "terrorists who abusively invoke Islam." Other terms being considered by the review include "Islamist," "fundamentalist" and "jihad."

This first-of-its-kind effort to separate terrorism from its perceived roots is laudable. Associating the criminal enterprise of terrorism with the faith of 1.4 billion Muslims, 99.99 percent of whom will never come near any act of terrorism, much less use Islam as a justification for their
crimes, is just plain wrong.

Unfortunately, all too often "Islam" and "terrorism" are juxtaposed in news reports and editorials. A word search on news stories published in major newspapers over the past decade shows that reporters are hundred of times more likely to associate Islam with terrorism or militancy than all other faiths combined. Such lopsided portrayal is indicative of deep-seated misunderstandings about Islam, and sometimes just plain prejudice. Surely all terrorists are not Muslim, neither are all Muslims terrorists.

The 9-11 attacks brought home the horrors of a new form of suicidal terrorism. In order to eradicate terrorism, it is important to explore its root causes.

More and more scholarly writings are delving deeper into this issue offering us new insights. Robert Pape's book Dying to Win uses more than two decades of data to show the paucity of connection between suicide terrorism and any of the world religions. The pioneering instigators and the largest purveyors of suicide terrorism are the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are overwhelmingly Hindu. (MORE)

CONTACT: Parvez Ahmed of Jacksonville is board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil-rights and advocacy group. He may be contacted at: pahmed@cair-net.org.

 


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