City of Brass

City of Brass


giving aid and comfort to terrorists

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Rod Dreher approvingly quotes Steve Emerson about what an outrage it is that the various news channels omitted the adjective, “Islamic” from all descriptions of the extremists who terrorized Mumbai last weekend. Emerson argues that the omission is “craven” and “politically correct”:

It is time to stop caving in to the PC crowd. If we refuse to use the term Islamic terrorist, we conveniently take away any onus of responsibility for Islamic groups to halt the murderous ideology they propagate. In fact, in nearly EVERY claim of responsibility, which I studied, for hundreds of violent Islamic attacks which took place since 9/11, the common justification by the Muslim terrorist perpetrator was that there was a “war against Muslims” by the West and the Jews that had to be avenged. The real truth is that there is war against the West and the Jews by Islamic jihadists. And no amount of territorial withdrawal or peace negotiations will assuage them.

Emerson says that the “onus of responsibility” for these murderous ideologies rests upon muslim groups as a whole. I reject that categorically; muslims have condemned and rejected the terror ideology time and again, and we will not submit to the loyalty test mentality. A million muslims marching in the streets would not dampen the murderous resolve of even one armed fanatic. We muslims who are loyal, law-abiding and patriotic citizens have no responsibility for the actions of these barbarians, nor should we apologize for them.
I also do not comprehend why Emerson finds the ravings of terrorist madmen barbarians so credible. Yes, these thugs “justify” their actions (slaughtering innocents, in direct contravention to Qur’an 5:32) by claiming that the West is waging a war against Islam. Does Emerson believe that to be true? Does Emerson think that the average mainstream muslim like myself believes that to be true? And what benefit does our usage of the word “Islamic terrorist” actually confer with regards to that specific belief, anyway? Emerson never explains the relevance, his argument is essentially just hand-waving.
Emerson says that there is a real war being waged on the West (and Jews) by these madmen. Well, I agree with that. But given that we are waging war against them in return, and them only (and not all of Islam as they like to claim), doesn’t use of the phrase “Islamic terror” actually cloud the issue rather than clarify who our enemies are?
Emerson simply has no argument that these phrases would confer any benefit. In fact, using the terms “Islamofascism” and “Islamic terror” etc actually do more harm than good, because they confer religious legitimacy upon the terrorists that they desperately seek. They try to claim they are waging a holy war (jihad), but in actuality they are committing hirabah, not jihad. The use of these terms helps them in their own propaganda that they are acting on behalf of Islam and that the West is engaged in a war against the faith. Ironically, the very reasons that Emerson quotes as for why we should use these terms, are actually the very reasons we should not!
Related reading: My affirmation of four principles of freedom, supported by Qur’anic citation. Also, an important followup to my initial hirabah post, titled hirabah, the muharabib, and hujjat. Also, I am fond of this post which discusses the issue of whether collateral damage is morally acceptable and whether there is any such thing as a civilian.


  • Randall

    Any suggestions for a sucdinct term that accurately describes both their tactics and their motivation?
    Islamic in Name Only Terrorism – INOterrorism?
    Islamoheriticalism?
    Pseudo-Islamic Terrorism?
    Seriously, IslamIST Terrorism is a term that is succinct and accurately describes their goals and tactics, and is a term that smart, good looking people recognize as making a distinction with (from?) IslamIC terrorism

  • Randall

    I should add that I am open to the possibility that IslamIC Terrorism might (might) not, at this time, be a fair term.
    It would help if one these (numerous) slaughters committed in the name of Islam were protested by REAL Molsems with at least one tenth of the vigor with which they protest offensive cartoons.

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