I think we should be objecting to the use of the terms "Islamism" and "Islamicism" used to describe the small fraction of observant Muslims who engage in terrorism. The problem is in the implication that anyone whose main ideology is centered on Islamic religious beliefs is somehow complicit in fanaticism or terrorism.

Daniel Pipes is one of the key pundits promoting this term, but I am seeing the terms more frequently in mainstream reports.

You can see the language problem in terms of relative usage. If "Islamicism" is Muslim fanaticism, then is "Judaism" thus Jewish fanaticism? I think not.

An "ism" is just a belief structure. Being an observant Muslim or even a "fundamentalist" Muslim does not mean that one supports theocracy or violence.

Those who perpetrated the terrorist attacks on the WTC towers and the Pentagon may turn out to be Fundamentalist Muslim zealots, but note that it takes three words to even approach an accurate description. Phrases such as demonizing apocalyptic fundamentalist, theocratic authoritarian, religious totalitarian, even clerical fascist, can be appended to any religion to describe the most zealous and violent adherents.

Let's not spread bigotry through careless use of language. "Islamism" and "Islamicism" are inherently bigoted terms.

Chip Berlet    

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