Sunday, July 07, 2013
The not so subtle dog-whistle of the term "Islamist"
Okay, I've got a beef with the word "Islamist." LOTS of respected news organizations use it -- from the NY Times to Smithsonian Magazine. It is supposedly used to differentiate fundamentalist-Muslims-who-want-to-hurt-us (the Islamists) from moderate and liberal Muslims. But my sense is that the term "Islamists" is a code word for "it's okay to kill these guys." We do not have a corresponding term for fundamentalist Christians, Buddhists, Jews, or Hindus. Either we should start dividing up all religions between their violent fundamentalist wing and their more moderate wing using the "ist" construction (Christianists, Buddhistists, Judaists, Hinduists, etc.). Or we should drop the term altogether and treat people as individuals according to their actual words and deeds.