‘Jihad’, ‘Islamist’ necessary terms: US army report

(Systemic racism reacts in this US Military ‘Red Team’ report.)

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: A US military ‘Red Team’ charged with challenging conventional thinking says that words like ‘jihad’ and ‘Islamist’ are needed in discussing 21st Century terrorism and that federal agencies that avoid the words soft-pedaled the link between religious extremism and violent acts, according to a Washington Times (WT) report.

“We must reject the notion that Islam and Arabic stand apart as bodies of knowledge that cannot be critiqued or discussed as elements of understanding our enemies in this conflict,” the WT quoted he report as saying.

The report, “Freedom of Speech in Jihad Analysis: Debunking the Myth of Offensive Words,” was written by unnamed civilian analysts and contractors for the US Central Command, the report said.

“The fact is our enemies cite the source of Islam as the foundation for their global jihad,” the report said. “We are left with the responsibility of portraying our enemies in an honest and accurate fashion.”

The WT said a January 2008 memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties stated, “Unidentified American Muslims recommended that the US government avoid using the terms ‘jihadist’, ‘Islamic terrorist’, ‘Islamist’ or ‘holy warrior’, asserting that would create a ‘negative climate’ and spawn acts of harassment and discrimination”.

The WT said a second document mentioned by the report was developed for the State Department by the National Counter-terrorism Centre’s Extremist Messaging Branch.

It urged officials to use the term ‘violent extremist’ and never to use ‘jihadist’ because that will ‘legitimize’ terrorists.

The Red Team report said the government documents in question reflected “the views and opinions of a very small [number] of Americans whose contributions may have escaped critical review. … While there is concern that we not label all Muslims as Islamist terrorists, it is proper to address certain aspects of violence as uniquely Islamic,” the report said as quoted by the paper.

It said the report noted “some terms for terrorists, such as ‘Islamo-fascist’, are conspicuously offensive’”.


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