Speaking at Paul Weyrich’s recent symposium on the November elections, the “war on terror” came up as a campaign issue. Robert Novak said it was really a war on radical Islam but it’s politically incorrect to say this. John Fund of the Wall Street Journal noted that President Bush called the enemy “Islamic fascists” on one occasion in August but hasn’t used the term since. He said this was because various Arab governments and the State Department objected.
By State Department, he undoubtedly means Karen Hughes, now in charge of our “public diplomacy” effort. She believes we can make progress in the Arab world by having U.S. officials appear on the Al-Jazeera terrorist TV channel. That’s a big mistake.
The reaction to the term “Islamic fascists” demonstrates that words do matter in this global war. It touched a nerve and rattles the enemy.
Katha Pollitt of the left-wing Nation magazine, and the Council on American Islamic Relations were among those objecting to Bush’s use of the term. The Muslim American Society reprinted a David Ignatius column from the Washington Post in which he said the term “blurs the conflict, widening the enemy to many if not all Muslims.” Ignatius has no credibility on this, having later traveled to Doha, Qatar, where he wrote a column whitewashing Al-Jazeera’s terrorist connections.
Writing in The Australian newspaper, Frank Devine noted that Al-Jazeera devoted an hour to discussing Bush’s use of the phrase. “Viewers who called in said they were infuriated,” he reported. Devine’s reaction: “Tough.”
He added, “Personally, I consider Islamo-fascist among the most useful of the present neologisms, acceptably accurate in its portrayal of our enemies and filling an awkward gap in English vocabulary.”
He said that “Not having a name to call enemies who describe us as satanic puts us on the back foot.”
While some commentators have claimed that “Islamic fascist” is historically inaccurate, Devine noted that American historian Paul Berman has pointed out that “when fascism arose in Europe in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, similar movements cropped up in the Arab world. While different from their European counterparts, they had ‘similar mythology and paranoia: a cult of hatred and a cult of death.’
“One such movement was the Muslim Brotherhood, originating in Egypt with the mission of creating a unified Muslim theocracy. According to Berman, the Brotherhood ‘schooled many young radicals,’ among them Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the No.2 man and reputedly the brains of al-Qaeda.”
It is the Muslim Brotherhood that has reportedly “hijacked” and taken control of Al-Jazeera.
For those interested in the connections between radical Islam and fascism, please consider viewing the new eye-opening film, Obsession.