U.S. Muslim groups criticized President George W. Bush on Thursday for calling a foiled plot to blow up airplanes part of a "war with Islamic fascists." Let's examine the legitimacy of the complaint of Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as reported by Reuters.
According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, "Islamic" is the adjective form of "Islam," which means:
1 : the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet2 a : the civilization erected upon Islamic faith b : the group of modern nations in which Islam is the dominant religion.So since all of the plotters in the terrorist plot to blow up airplanes were, in fact, Muslims, the use of the adjective "Islamic" would seem accurate.
Now let's turn to "fascist." The Merriam Webster online dictionary identifies "fascist" as a noun or adjective derivative of "fascism," which it defines to mean:
1. often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. 2. : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.That definition could be problematic for the President. While they do seem quite autocratic and dictatorial, Islamic terrorists rarely exalt a particular nation or race--they are quite ecumenical in that respect--but rather promote the Ummah--the association of all Islamic people. So it would appear that if there is any inaccuracy in the use by W. of the phrase "Islamic facsists," it would be the inclusion of the word "fascist," not the word "Islamic."
Of course, there are Islamic democrats and Democrats, Islamic republicans and Republicans. There are freedom-loving, loyal and patriotic Islamic soldiers serving in the United States Armed Forces, the armed forces and security agencies of Great Britain, and even in the Israel Defense Forces (usually Bedouin). But there are also Islamic Fascists trying to blow up airplanes, and the sooner that CAIR realizes that the problem lies not with the President's choice of language, but with the hateful theology spread by some of their co-religionists, the sooner it can contribute to the solution of that problem.
Lowell adds: I am frankly glad that President Bush actually used the term to describe them. Caling them simply "terrorists" is only a step above calling them "militants," in my book.