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Good to see CONHOME throwing another political grenade into the blogosphere. Your description on yesterday's blogging was spot on and led to some extremely vigorous debate and even the threat of a libel action!

I'm sure this thread will do the same.

Islamic Facism does seem to be the most accurate description as will cause the least offence to law abiding muslims without seperating the fact that Al-qaeda is a religiously motivated grouping.

I completely disagree with you Michael. It is not accurate in any way, these people have about as much in common with the Fascist party of '20/30's Italy as I do. We may as well call them Islamocommunists if all we want to do is abuse them.
Not sure why we have to describe them as anything other than 'terrorists'.

First, I think that this line of thought is a mistake. Suppose that someone says that an abortion doctor in the US was shot by a Christian Fundamentalist. I may want to say: No, he wasn't a true member of God's Elect if he went around murdering people. But I wouldn't, because Christianity has a well-defined social meaning as well as a spritual meaning, and in the social sense perhaps he was a Christian.

Again, Richard Dawkins doesn't get to say that Stalin wasn't really an Atheist, becase a true Atheist would have recognised the irrationality and anti-scientific nature of repression. No, Stalin was an Atheist, at least in the social sense of the term.

The same should apply to Islam. Of *course* it isn't true that Al Qaeda is like ordinary Islam, any more than that all Christians are serial killers or Atheists merchants of genocide. But Al Qaeda is undoubtedly, in the ordinary sense of the term, an Islamic organisation. If we start restricting religious terms only to the truest mainstream members of the faith, we will start saying that Pentecostalists or believers in Six Day Creation are not "true" Christians and discussion of religiously-inspired politically-significant groupings will fall into an incoherent chaos in which we cannot discern the underlying (albeit perhaps misguided) religious motivations of the people involved.

However, if we must go down this misguided path, here are some suggestions:

Quasi-Islamist - Suggesting something near to Islam, but perhaps not quite there
Epiphenomeno-Islamic (or Epiphenomeno-Muslim) - arising out of Islam as an epi-phenomenon (rather as some people believe the mind arises as an epiphenomenon of the brain)
QIFE terrorists (Quasi-Islamist fundamentalist extremists) - This has the advantage of being shorter than the above.
QIVE terrorists (Quasi-Islamist violent extremists) - as above

I hope this helps...

I had rather thought David Cameron was behoven to clarify his remarks here with his proposed descriptors.

It is after all he alone who seems to find any connection with Islam to be malign when one considers those who make suicide videos, blow up citizens in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Alfgeria, Morocco, Spain, USA, Philippines, Bali, India.......

How does one describe such people ? Must we use such forms as Deranged Terrorists and Purported Followers of The Religion of Peace shortened on some Blogs to RoPers ?

How do we describe those who stand in London urging the beheading of Non-Muslims or those who murdered Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam ?

I do wish Mr Cameron would consider his tutorials with Vern Bogdanor at BNC and think rationally about this so we can discuss his propositions

Quasi-Islamist - Suggesting something near to Islam, but perhaps not quite there

but I think Bin Laden knows his Islam far better than those Mr Cameron visited in Brum....in fact I doubt if most Muslims know much about Islam apart from the recitation of mantras......I am convinced Bin Laden has studied Koran and Hadiths far more than the regular visitors to British mosques........maybe he knows much more than they do ?

"but I think Bin Laden knows his Islam far better than those Mr Cameron visited in Brum" - TomTom@16:39

You may be right TomTom, for all I know. But remember that my line is that we should not be redefining at all and that it is perfectly fine to say "Islamic" or even "Muslim", let alone "Islamist". But if we must play this game, then "QIVE terrorists" and "QIFE terrorists" are my preferred offerings...

Incidentally, I think that "Quasi-Islamic" is more elegant than "Quasi-Islamist", especially when there are more words afterwards...

Islamist terrorism (or indeed Islamic terrorism) should remain the term that is used, because it accurately describes the motivation of the terrorists. In the Northern Irish context, we used the terms Republican terrorism, and Loyalist terrorism, despite the fact that many Republicans and Loyalists disavowed terrorism - because it neatly described the motivations of the terrorists.


No description is perfect but fascism is apt as al qaeda shares many traits with movements such as Italian fascism, Franco in Spain, Nazism and even Mosley in Britain.

All view the rights of the individual as inferior to the master group, all are militaristic, they rally around a charismatic (as they view it) leader and all reject change and modernism.

Even a definitive description of fascism is hard to agree on as it's a flexible ideology that adapts to the host conditions.

I think Islamic-Fascism is absolutely the right term as one of the components of fascism is its total inability to tolerate any other way of thinking and its total and uncompromising self-belief with absolutely no margin for error.

Sally, not sure how far that gets you becaause Fascism has no monopoly of that mindset: Maoists and other Marxists suffer from much the same syndrome not to mention quite a few soi-disant Tory Modernisers.

Islamo-facism is both truthful and accurate and makes clear the difference between those that adhere to it and the vast majority of Muslims who both fear and despise it.

But they reject the nation state and corporatism which is essential to all European fascists. And if Al-queda are Islamofascists what then are the Shia killers responsible for the deaths of our soldiers in Basra or do we just all call them the same even 'though they would regard themselves very differently.

Attempting to combine several different political/relgious factions under one collective label helps nobody - Hizbollah have their own power base and intentions, Iran has nationalist and internal constitutional issues, and Al-Qaeda affiliates are something else entirely. Mentally collating the latter two is especially daft, considering that Iran helped overthrow the Taliban, and that Iraqi-based (and US tolerated) terrorist groups have been setting off bombs in Khuzestan and elsewhere for the last 2/3 years.

Personally, I'd go for something like Jihadi terrorists for the Al Qaeda types. The Jihadi concept is a contributing factor to this sort of terrorism, because of its appeal to disaffected urban youth - whether you're talking socially isolated teenagers in Leeds, or more openly radical elements in Karachi, there's a common psychological core in its appeal.

Please don't connect this with local struggles though - Abu Sayyaf, GAM, JEM, GMIP and the various Thai groups, the Chechyan/Dagestani rebels etc are all principally separationist in character. Hezbollah is a proto-state sustained by external power brokers. Completely different entities.

What's wrong with "Islamic extremism"??


So Mr Cameron has found the EU polcy on this matter and is implementing it


So Editor how can we know if we are "correct" in our proposals unless we have access to the EU Common Lexicon

Can you obtain a copy so we can align our thoughts with the EU Commission ?

Michael McGowan, Fascists can be of the right OR of the left! It is their intolerance towards others that makes them what they are.

whether you're talking socially isolated teenagers in Leeds,

They weren't "socially isolated" at all. Khan had £120.000 in his bank account and worked as a Classroom Assistant, his mother-in-law had been at Buckingham Palace, and his wife was employed as a "community enrichment officer,". Both were employed in the public sector.

If that is social isolation - and if a 30-year old man is a "teenager" - I think we are having definitional problems with more than how to describe Muslim terrorists

The problem David Cameron has is that either he is called a woolly headed appeaser or risk being accused of fanning the flames of racial hatred. Yes, there is a worldwide problem in that a small minority of misguided (and brainwashed)muslims think that they must resort to terrorism to impose Islam on everyone else. What to call them ? simple they are muslim fanatics.
A Hindu fanatic shot Mahatma Gandhi and all Hindus say exactly that. The Hindus also know that all Hindus are not fanatics. Similarly the vast majority of the muslims are not fanatics and so the term Islamic or Muslim fanatics should not cause any offence.

Michael McGowan, Fascists can be of the right OR of the left! It is their intolerance towards others that makes them what they are.

Only in a superficial sense - it is true that Mussolini started out as a Socialist, and that some members of the Baader-Meinhof ended up in the Neo-Nazis......but ideologically Fascism and Socialism/Communism are different even if both are dictatorships.

One is the Unity of Tribe and the other the Unity of Class. Each use The State as a vehicle to attain objectives. The fact is that Islam never really created a State as such and no Islamic country is a real nation-state today with nation above tribe.

Islam is an Arab Pan-Nationalism and the only binding force in the Arab world; it is through Islam that Arabs develop coherence and influence. Without oil Islam would be impotent.

Fascism was an attempt to recreate the hierarchical structures of Pre-World War One Europe after the monarchies of Russia, Austria and Germany were destroyed

Actually Islamo-fascists do subscribe to the belief in a the supremacy of their chosen state, however that chosen state is the worldwide Islamic caliphate that they seek. That is one of the things that defines them as fascist.

Fair point, Tom Tom!

Islamofascism all the way. Does exactly what it says on the tin. If run together in this way it's clear that it's a phenomenon different to moderate, sane Islam.

Failing that Wahhabi fundamentalism.

I've said this before but to even think of using the term fascism is a kick in the teeth to those who suffered so much during the last war. It's sick and brings up all the wrong associations.

Qutbism would be the best choice on offer here, it refers to the specific ideology and its use would require education rather than the usual laziness.

I'm sorry but I hold all those who use the term islamofascism in utter contempt, they are no better than those who have tried to portray all right wing supporters as fascists. Do you really want to be seen as similar to that type of political flotsam?

Congrats to the Editor for sticking up for DC....

....for once!

I should also add that I'd be perfectly happy with islamic (or better islamist) terrorists. The preferred option as stated above is much worse and deliberately inflammatory and everyone knows it.

Bravo. Yet another great contribution from the chocolate orange inspector.

The big problem in my view with Islamist or Islamofascist or other word plays which refer to Islam is that it provides the fellow travellers with the ability to crate and highlight "islamophobia". Any discussion on Al-Qaeda or other radical Salafist inspired terror groups on the Sunni side or Iranian inspired Shi'ite terror groups then becomes mired in the equivalence of islamophobia to anti-semitism.

There are those who are anti-Islam but vast majority are not - what we are is anti-terrorist. There is a need to classify terror groups by their motive and beliefs but in doing so we shouldn't tar whole religions or comunities who do note share those particular philosophies with the same brush.

They are a millenarian cult of violence attempting the restoration of a 7th century theocracy.

I'd suggest Al Qaedist terrorism for the Sunni version ( like Al Qaeda rather than being Al Qeada) which is the one we most fear. Doesn't matter if its inexact or if teror groups aren't officially Al Qaeda, they are its followers. Al Qaedist points to its violent roots.

A good balanced post Ted but the one thing that concerns me is, that by using Al Qaeda in the name, you are building them up into a power that they needn't be.

Failing that Wahhabi fundamentalism

wahhabism is Sunni, and specfically Saudi. It does not describe Hezbollah as a Shia group, nor Hamas, nor the Iranians, nor Taleban

Surely it should be 'Islamist fascism'?

I trust that one of our most important aims politically is to work for a nation at peace with itself and, to that end, to help non-UK nationals who wish to live here to integrate as best they may in our society.

We do not therefore want to use inflammatory language, either to describe them or to describe extremists who wish to harm us.

As we cannot always know exactly who the perpetrators of outrages are until well after the event, why not opt for the generic word "terrorist" to cover all cases and thus avoid offending any one group, whose co-operation we need to the maximum at such times?

I would humbly suggest to our Leader that he visits Saudi Arabia and some other Moslem Countries and distribute Bibles there and see where he lands. Can he explain the terrible plight of Christians in these Countries. There is no doubt many excellent people who worship in the Islam faith and I know many of them personally and they are appalled at the behavior of a few who give them all a bad name. Islam is a peaceful religion but does not allow the preaching of the Christian Faith in many Countries in the World. A new name should be found to correctly describe terrorists but one should recognise that there are problems on the horizon.

I don't view the likes of Al Qaida as being particularly fascist; they're more communist/socialist than anything.

What about calling them "Mohammedan theocrats" ? Or, as a friend who's spent quite a bit of time in Iraq simply calls them, Targets.

Definately Qutbism and Qutbist terrorists. Will require some education as Tim says, but that is what we and our British muslims need.

It seems clear to me that these people are fascists. They want an unelected master group to control the country or world and are prepared to use force to carry out their aims.

Don't think much of Phillips's comments, I suspect she has deliberately misunderstood the point Cameron was making in order to let off steam. Where were all these people using such castigating language at Cameron when New Labour where running the debates?

why not opt for the generic word "terrorist" to cover all cases and thus avoid offending any one group, whose co-operation we need to the maximum at such times?

Why not ignore the videos they put out on Al-Jazeera and ignore the Al-Qaeda claims ?

We could even ignore Abu Hamza and say he is just a "politician" and say that Al-Masri is simply a "drunk"

We could even say that people blowing up cars in Iraq and killing innocents are "exuberant youths going through puberty" and that Hezbollah is really a group of folk dancers

There is something David Cameron ought to know. The doctrine that jihad is a religious duty for muslims, that muslims should impose muslim rule on the whole world was developed by Mohammed himself. The idea that islam is a peaceful religion is, quite simply, bunkum. Islam is permanently at war with all other religions.
Yes, there are plenty of moderate muslims. There is no such thing as a moderate islam, any more than there could be a moderate imperialism.

Somewhat off topic, but the discussion about whether this movement is fascistic. I think one could argue that Iran is an Islamofascist state, because of its strange merge of nation, state and faith, but I don't think you could call al-Qaeda fascist, because as someone rightly said, the nation means nothing to them: we are all Allah's. I think though, that Baathism is definately a variant of fascism.

As for what we should replace Islamism with...Last night I was arguing on Cameron's side, because I could see where he's coming from. On the other hand, I can see where others are coming from. It's tricky.

Another issue, though linked, is what we should call the war on terror. Apparently the US has started using the term 'the Long War', a la 'the Cold War'. I certainly think the war on terror is a somewhat inadequate phrase.

As we cannot always know exactly who the perpetrators of outrages are until well after the event, why not opt for the generic word "terrorist" to cover all cases and thus avoid offending any one group, whose co-operation we need to the maximum at such times?

Posted by: David Belchamber | May 14, 2007 at 18:31

Once we know the identity of those responsible for acts of terrorism
then we should call a spade a spade.
The use of the word terrorist on its own tells us little. Peaceful followers of Islam do not need to be patronised and should readily accept their responsibility to the rest of us. We know that the majority of Muslims are not religious fanatics.

IRA stands for Irish Republican Army which the bulk of the population was aware of. There are many Irish people living in Britain: I am not aware of any politician wanting to drop the term IRA for fear of offending peaceable Irish folk.

Cameron is vote hunting and at any cost. We should have the courage to call a spade a spade and not as Cameron thinks - a spoon. Islamic terrorists (as opposed to peaceful followers of Islam) are Islamic terrorists pure and simple and they mean to do us great harm. Read Melanie Phillips.

"Jihadi terrorist" seems the most sensible, mainly because it's already in common usage.

So as you struggle to name it and catagorise it. When are you actually going to do something substantial to tackle it ?

In the article, you seem to be looking for a term to describe the terrorist threat rather than the idealogy that inspires the threat.

My glossary:

Islamism: an ideology insisting on plaving Islam at the centre of politics. Those expousing it are likely to view it as simply "Islam".

Islamic Fascism: a version of Islamism including a very authoritarian state.

For the request you make here, I would suggest "Islamist Terrorism", which identifies a section within Islam insisting on the implementation of politics defined exclusively by the religion. It also recognises that other sections of the Islamic population have de-emphasised the political side.


What's wrong with "Islamic extremism"??

I recall Sir Ian Blair saying extremism was acceptable!

A very valid, and probably most important point there, Vote Freedom. What would you do?

When Hitler's Mein Kampf (translated, "My Struggle") was translated into Arabic, the translator titled Hitler's book, “Jihadi” — as in “My Jihad.”

As such, "Jihadi" is apparently a top-selling book in the Muslim world.

Seems to me, the terms "Jihadi Terrorism" and "Islamic Jihadists" precisely describe the evil that now confronts the West: a hatred of freedom, political equality, democracy, capitalism, and secular, liberal government.

Do not permit the extremists or their fellow travelers to control the terms of the debate with their vague, oppressive claims of sensitivity. Jihadist is no more inherently offensive than the term "crusader."

However, moderate Muslims would do well to control the language of the radicals in their midst before purporting to control the language of the world's English-speaking peoples.

Here's a new word for Islamism: 'change the record you boring white pro-war hypocritical Tory'.

What do you reckon - you like?

Call me boring but how about just plain simple TERRORISM

Those who follow Christ are Christians. Buddhists followed Buddha. Therefore Muhammadians is the word. Or as descendants from Ishmael -Ishmaelians. And those against anti-Ishmitic.

This idea would return to us the word "muslin".

"Muslin (which sounds the same as muslem) is a plain-weave cotton fabric" originally from Iraq.

"Muslin Cloths - Kind on skin, pure muslin cloths provide a gentle way to exfoliate skin and enhance daily cleansing. They slough away dead skin cells and impurities whilst stimulating the circulation."

I think the word "fascism" has become generic over time, so we could use Islamist Fascism. The word originates from the Italian "fascismo" "fascio" a bundle, a group. Latin, "fasces" Its been worldwide for so long, the original blackshirt connotations have been lost in the mists of history!

Why not simply call them Freedom Fighters ? I doubt that will find many objections from those who find other terms unpalatable

Back in January I suggested "Harbarians"

I think that's the best one other than Islamofascism William. Apt that it sounds like barbarians.

If we're interested in accuracy, Al Qaeda terrorism is Islamist terrorism, just as IRA terrorism was Irish terrorism. If we don't care about accuracy and truth we can call it whatever we like, Islamo-fascism is nicely obfuscatory; in reality the IRA's ideology is much closer to fascism than Al Qaeda's is.

How about Murderous groups and individuals who incorrectly use Islam as their reasonings behind terrorist attacks?

MGAIWIUIATRBTA for short...?

I'd go for Qutbism, although I think there would be great support for arguing that that word is missing an "n".

Isn't the approved BBC terminology "radicals"?

There is a lot of anti-Ishmitic blog here.

I see the sons of Sem are bombing the sons of Ishmael yet again!

(Israel bomging Gaza)

Now if one side were Christian they would be loving their neighbour.

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