The Myth of Muslim Support for Terror


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

October 25, 2005 (Revised August 31, 2006)
The Wisdom Fund
'Islamo-fascism' is an Oxymoron
by Enver Masud

The President and virtually every major U.S. news media persist in using 
oxymorons: Islamic extremism, Islamic terrorism, and now, in the President's 
October 6 address to the National Endowment For Democracy, "Islamo-fascism."

The President repeated this rhetoric in his address today, October 25, at the 
Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon.

For anyone with sufficient knowledge of Islam, Islamic extremism, Islamic 
terrorism, Islamo-fascism, etc. are oxymorons. Muslims, as the Quran teaches 
(2:143), are "a community of the middle way." While some Muslims may properly be
addressed as terrorists, etc., to define them as "Islamic" is an oxymoron.

Perhaps this is a little difficult for non-Muslims to understand because, unlike
other faiths, the faith and the believer have different names: Islam and Muslim 

Leaving aside for the moment the contentious issue of defining terrorism, Muslim
terrorist would be more accurate, but then one should be consistent when 
referring to Christian, Jewish, or Hindu terrorists.

However, what news media generally do is to refer to non-Muslim terrorists as 
belonging to a "cult", thereby, taking care not to smear non-Islamic faiths - 
Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism.

As for Islamo-fascism, Islam has no central authority - it does not meet the 
definition of fascism. Even when the community of Muslims (the ummah) had a 
central authority (the caliphate), it was neither totalitarian nor fascist.

The term "Islamic fundamentalism" presents another problem. Christian 
fundamentalistism was defined in The Fundamentals - a 12-volume collection of 
essays written in the period 1910-15. There is no generally accepted definition 
of Islamic fundamentalism. In one sense all Muslims are fundamentalists because 
they believe that the Quran is the Word of God.

When news media use the term "Islamic fundamentalism" they are not stating a 
fact, but a conclusion about Islam. They should then be prepared to provide the 
reasoning behind such usage by a scholarly analysis of the Quran that indeed 
this is what Islam teaches.

It would be more accurate to use the term Muslim fundamentalist, rather than 
Islamic fundamentalist. Hopefully, then the writer has checked out the fact that
the person is a Muslim - "fundamentalist" is a conclusion they may draw 
independent of the Quran and/or Islam.

Looking at the issue from another perspective consider the terms "terrorism", 
"fundamentalist" etc. when applied to persons of other faiths or religions.

Thus one would say Jewish terrorist - not Judaic terrorist. Judaic or 
Christianic terrorism would be the equivalent of saying Islamic terrorism. 
Jewish or Christian terrorist would be the equivalent of saying Muslim 

Yet another way to look at the issue of "Islamic terrorism" is to ask: "What is 
the difference between Islamic terrorism, Christianic terrorism, and Judaic 

Is the terrorism itself, somehow, different in each case, or is it merely the 
fact that it is being carried out by a Muslim, Christian, or Jew?

If one cannot define the difference, then isn't the term "Islamic terrorism" 
synonymous with Christian (or Christianic?) terrorism and Judaic terrorism? 
Could a Muslim perpetrate Christianic terrorism or Judaic terrorism? Clearly, 
this leads to absurd statements.

More importantly perhaps, the use of the term Islamic terrorism has a more 
pernicious effect. It paints an entire faith as suspect, lets governments off 
the hook too easily by not forcing them to more precisely define the "enemy," 
and it endorses the propaganda of the hate-mongers.

It also distorts the true nature of the problem, and solutions such as the 
Patriot Act, do not receive the scrutiny they deserve, thereby, giving 
governments the freedom to conduct war or take punitive action for purposes that
have little to do with the real threat.

"This country faces a new type of fascism," says MSNBC commentator Keith 
Olbermann. "American democracy is in grave danger," warns former Vice-president 
Al Gore. We're "living in a fascist state," writes Lewis H. Lapham, editor of 
the American monthly Harper's Magazine.


For a legal definition of "international terrorism" see U.S. Code Title 18, Part
I, Chapter 113B, Section 2331

[. . . by surreptitiously justifying a policy of single-minded obduracy that 
links Islamism to a strategically important, oil-rich part of the world, the 
anti-Islam campaign virtually eliminates the possibility of equal dialogue 
between Islam and the Arabs, and the West or Israel. To demonize and dehumanize 
a whole culture on the ground that it is (in Lewis's sneering phrase) enraged at
modernity is to turn Muslims into the objects of a therapeutic, punitive 
attention.--Edward Said, "A Devil Theory of Islam," The Nation, August 12, 1996]

[By making the disciplined effort to name our enemies correctly, we will learn 
more about them, and come one step nearer, perhaps, to solving the seemingly 
intractable and increasingly perilous problems of our divided world.--Karen 
Armstrong, "The label of Catholic terror was never used about the IRA ," 
Guardian, July 11, 2005]

Enver Masud, "Fatwa Against Terrorism: Questions," The Wisdom Fund, July 28, 

David E. Sanger, "President prepares U.S. for conflict with 'radical Islam' from
Spain to Indonesia," New York Times, October 17, 2005

Enver Masud, "Letter on Oxymorons to Ombudsman, The Washington Post," The Wisdom
Fund, October 23, 2005

["Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other 
religions, including Christianity,"--Andrew Alderson, "Prince Charles to plead 
Islam's cause to Bush," The Telegraph," October 29, 2005]

["Distinctions have sometimes been blurred by inflationary language and 
headlines such as Islamic terrorism, and in many cases the use of terms Islam, 
Muslim, fundamentalism seems to confuse rather than educate the reader," the 
report concludes.--Daisy Ayliffe, "EU praised for terror response,", November 10, 2005]

[Others were white and so, following Phillips's description of the darker 
skinned rioters as 'Arab Muslims', should presumably be referred to as 
'Caucasian Christians'.--Jason Burke, "France and the Muslim myth," Observer, 
November 13, 2005]

["In print stereotypes are not so obvious, except in cartoon caricatures, but 
they still occur and anti-Muslim bias is more insidious. The terms Islamic or 
Muslim are linked to extremism, militant, jihads, as if they belonged together 
inextricably and naturally (Muslim extremist, Islamic terror, Islamic war, 
Muslim time bomb).

"In many cases, the press talks and writes about Muslims in ways that would not 
be acceptable if the reference were to Jewish, black or fundamentalist 
Christians."--" Media has anti-Muslim bias, claims report," Guardian, November 
14, 2005]

[It's really amazing how much easier it has become to understand the myriad 
political situations between Morocco and Indonesia, or Nigeria and Chechnya 
since September 11, 2001. Gone are the tiresome days of having to study each 
country and its historical and social circumstances, its language and thought, 
before you can write authoritatively about it. You just whip out your Handy 
Islam Template and presto: everything falls into place.--Maher Mughrabi, 
"Confused about Islam? Get your HIT: How not to let facts get in the way of a 
good religious stereotype," The Age (Australia), November 16, 2005]

[United States, in condemning IRA terrorism in Northern Ireland or Basque 
terrorism in Spain, does not describe it as "Catholic terrorism," a phrase that 
Catholics around the world would likely find offensive.--Zbigniew Brzezinski, 
"Do These Two Have Anything in Common?," Washington Post, December 4, 2005]

["I think the smart thing to do if you're the president of the United States is 
to sort of de-Islamicize the problem," said Kirstine Sinclair, a University of 
Southern Denmark researcher--Karl Vick, "Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not 
Entirely Radical," Washington Post, January 14, 2006]

[European governments should shun the phrase "Islamic terrorism" in favour of 
"terrorists who abusively invoke Islam", say guidelines from EU 
officials.--David Rennie, "'Islamic terrorism' is too emotive a phrase, says 
EU," Telegraph, April 4, 2006]

Jonathan Cook, "How I found myself standing with the Islamic fascists,", August 11, 2006

[Colombia University Professor Robert Paxton's superb 2004 book, 'The Anatomy of
Fascism' . . . defines fascism's essence, which he aptly terms its 'emotional 
lava' as: 1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional 
solutions; 2. belief one's group is the victim, justifying any action without 
legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, 
relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to 
dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign 

Fascism demands a succession of wars, foreign conquests, and national threats to
keep the nation in a state of fear, anxiety and patriotic hypertension. Those 
who disagree are branded ideological traitors.--Eric S. Margolis, "The Big Lie 
About 'Islamic Fascism',", August 28, 2006]

Charley Reese, "Bigotry and Ignorance of Islam,", August 29, 2006

VIDEO: Kieth Olbermann, "There Is Fascism, Indeed," MSNBC, August 30, 2006

Jim Lobe, "Fascists? Look who's talking," Inter Press Service, September 2, 2006

VIDEO: Kieth Olbermann, "A Special Comment About Lying," MSNBC, October 5, 2006

[Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any 
major Muslim country except for Nigeria.--Kenneth Ballen, "The myth of Muslim 
support for terror," Christian Science Monitor, February 23, 2007]

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