Following on its ban of the term "illegal immigrants," the Associated Press has issued a new guideline on the word "Islamist."
Here's how the AP's stylebook reads for "Islamist":
"An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists. Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi."
As to the folly of this, let me illustrate by pulling out a quote from the new definition:
"Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists."
Ooops. AP, how can an "Islamist fighter" -- your words -- not be Islamist? See what you've created?
Look, I can split hairs with the best of them and develop a hypothetical in which a guy straps on a suicide belt, screams Allah Akbar before blowing himself up and claims to be an atheist. That is ridiculous and so is this change.
I am not saying every Muslim, such as the vast majority of American Muslins, want to live under the rule of Islam. Like almost all Americans, they have separated their faith from our law. Thus, they are not Islamists.
The purpose of journalism is to present the facts as fast and clear as possible, with the fewest words. It should not obfuscate or cloud the facts, which is what AP is doing. It is not "taking sides" to describe an "Isalmist fighter" as an "Islamist fighter."
In earlier times, Nazis were described as Nazis. Not all Germans were Nazis. Not all Nazis were German.
In Korea, we fought Korean and Chinese communists. The Germans and Chinese and Korean (and Russians) were driven by political and ecnomic beliefs, and it was fair to call them communists.
Now we have murderous, suicidal, homophobic, misogynous, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-Western fanatics driven by religious beliefs and we can't call them "Islamists?"
Sorry, AP, I'm not on that bus.