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The guide asks diplomats and officials to use "violent extremists", not jihadists, when describing America's enemies. (Photo through Google)

The Bush administration has produced a lexicon of phrases and terms that should be used by US diplomats and other officials to avoid any link between Islam and terrorism, reported the Guardian on Saturday, April 26.
"We should not concede the terrorists' claim that they are legitimate adherents of Islam," said a guide prepared by the national counterterrorism center.

The "Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims" guide asks diplomats to use "violent extremists", not jihadists, when describing America's enemies.

"Don't use the term jihadist, which has broader religious meanings beyond war, or mujahedeen, which refers to holy warriors," says the guide.

"Use the terms 'violent extremist' or 'terrorist.' Both are widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has dropped references to "jihad" in her public speeches since last September.

The 14-point guide also asks diplomats to drop ill-defined and offensive terminology.

"Don't use "Islamo-fascism" and other terms that could cause religious offense," it says.

US President George W. Bush upset American Muslims in 2006 when he said the US was at war with "Islamic fascists."

Last week, Republican White House contender John McCain has rebuffed calls by American Muslims to stop labeling terrorists and extremists as "Islamic".

No Muslim Label

The US lexicon, which was approved for diplomatic use this week and circulated to all US embassies, also calls for not labeling groups as "Muslims".

"Do use descriptive terms to define how a group fits into society. For example: South Asian youth and Arab opinion leaders."

US diplomats are also asked to drop the term "Al-Qaeda movement because this makes Al-Qaeda seem like a legitimate political movement."

"We must carefully avoid giving Bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders the legitimacy they crave, but do not possess, by characterizing them as religious figures or in terms that may make them seem to be noble in the eyes of some."

The guide also calls for not using the term "caliphate" when explaining Al-Qaeda's goals.

"It's not what you say, but what they hear," said the guide.

It further urges diplomats to drop using the terms "salafi," "Wahhabist," "sufi," "ummah" and other words from Islamic theology.

The British government recently produced a lexicon of phrases and terms that should be used to avoid any implication that there is a link between Islam and terrorism.

Compiled by the Home Office, the phrasebook describes those carrying out attacks in the name of Islam as criminals, murderers or thugs rather than "fundamentalist-jihadi" or "terrorists."

The EU drafted in 2006 a document of common vocabulary on Islam to avoid stigmatizing terminology in dealing with the other.


the phrasebook advises civil servants to use terms such as "violent extremism" instead of "terrorism."

CAIRO — The British government has produced a lexicon of phrases and terms that should be used by civil servants when dealing with Muslims to avoid any implication that there is a link between Islam and terrorism.
"To engage effectively with local communities, we need consistent, clear and appropriate communications," a Home Office spokeswoman told the Guardian on Monday, February 4.

She said ambiguous messages will not reach or be understood by the target communities.

"We risk having a negative impact on our audiences."

Compiled by a Home Office unit set up last year to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, the phrasebook advises civil servants to use terms such as "violent extremism" instead of "terrorism."

It replaces "Islamophobia" with "discrimination" and describe those carrying out attacks in the name of Islam criminals, murderers or thugs rather than "fundamentalist-jihadi" or "terrorists"

Counter-terrorism officials are advised not to talk of a struggle for values or a battle of ideas which are often interpreted as a "confrontation/clash between civilizations/cultures."

Referring to "the West" and "the Muslim community" is also frowned upon.

It says officials should "highlight diversity, rather than reinforcing the concept of a homogenous Muslim world".

The Policy Exchange think-tank said in a report on Monday that officials must stop treating Muslims as a monolith with special needs that are different to the rest of the population.

The Home Office spokeswoman said the lexicon had been forwarded to senior government officials and police chief constables.

The British Foreign Office had already told UK diplomats and spokespeople around the world to stop using the controversial "war on terror" phrase, which is offensive to the Muslim minority and stokes up tensions in the Muslim world.

The European Union drafted in 2006 a document of common vocabulary on Islam as part of linguistic efforts by the then 25-member bloc to issue the first public communication lexicon aimed at avoiding stigmatizing terminology in dealing with the other.


Another Home Office paper calls for addressing grievances that alienate minorities such as unemployment and inequality.

It said these social ills are being exploited by extremist groups to recruit vulnerable youth.

"No perceived grievance can justify terrorism. But where concerns are legitimately expressed then we must be prepared to debate them," the paper says.

It underlined that the UK foreign policy should not be used as a pretext to justify terrorism.

British Muslim leaders have called on the government to re-think its foreign policy and adopt more balanced strategies.

The London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs has said that the Iraq war gave a momentum to Al-Qaeda's recruitment and fundraising and made Britain more vulnerable to terror attacks.

Britain is home to a sizable multi-ethnic Muslim minority of nearly 2 million, mostly of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali backgrounds.

The minority has been in the eye of the storm since the 9/11 attacks, complaining of a growing Islamophobic climate in the European country.

A government-backed study conducted by university researchers in Birmingham, Derby, Oxford and Warwick showed last year that 14% of Muslims aged over 25 were unemployed, compared with the national unemployment rate of 4%.

Another government-commissioned study has found that a torrent of negative and imbalance stories in the British media demonize the sizable Muslim minority and their faith by spreading prejudices and portraying them as the enemy within.

A recent Populus survey found a whooping 98 percent of British Muslims would feel shame if a family member decided to join Al-Qaeda.


"The overall picture presented by the media is that Islam is profoundly different from and a threat to the west," Livingstone said.

A torrent of negative and imbalance stories in the British media demonize the sizable Muslim minority and their faith by spreading prejudices and portraying them as the enemy within, a government-commissioned study has found.
"Muslims in Britain are depicted as a threat to traditional British customs, values and ways of life," concluded the 180-page study commissioned by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

The study is an amalgam of research projects individually prepared by 9 leading academics and professionals from the media industry and experts on Islam.

They examined newspaper articles published nationwide during the week from May 8-14, 2006, and found that 91 percent of articles about Muslims were negative "in tone and content".

Only 4 percent of the 352 articles studied were positive.

"The dominant view is that there is no common ground between the West and Islam, and that conflict between them is accordingly inevitable," said the study.

It accused the media of using a language that is "emotive, immoderate, alarmist or abusive" when reporting on Muslims.

"Facts are frequently distorted, exaggerated or oversimplified."

The study cited one report which claimed that Christmas were being banned in one area because it offended Muslim residents.

Researchers investigated the report and came to the conclusion that it was totally "inaccurate and alarmist".

Britain is home to a sizable multi-ethnic Muslim minority of nearly 2 million, mostly of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali backgrounds.


Mayor Livingstone described the study results as "damning indictment" of the media.

"The overall picture presented by the media is that Islam is profoundly different from and a threat to the west," he commented.

"There is a scale of imbalance which no fair-minded person would think is right."

The mayor noted that while there were few examples of good practice, the vast majority of reports on Islam and Muslims showed a "hostile and scaremongering attitude."

He warned that this demonization of Islam and Muslims "damages community relations and creates alarm among Muslims."

The study cautioned that imbalance media coverage is likely to be a major hurdle to the government’s outreaching and community cohesion policies.

It said such a coverage would provoke and increase feelings of "insecurity, suspicion and anxiety" amongst non-Muslims as well as feelings of "insecurity, vulnerability and alienation" amongst Muslims.

UK Muslims, who have been in the eye of the storm since the 9/11 attacks, complain of a growing Islamophobic climate in the European country.

The latest Financial Times opinion poll showed Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.

A poll of the Evening Standard on Tuesday found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

About 50 percent of those interviewed thought Islam was a "generally intolerant faith".

An earlier British study had accused the media and film industry of perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by projecting Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening people.

Click hereto read the study in full.


"It's not a question of being politically correct but rather a small tool among many others for reducing incitement to radicalization," said Abbing.

BRUSSELS — Austria, the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, has drafted a document of common vocabulary on Islam as part of linguistic efforts by the 25-member bloc to issue the first public communication lexicon aimed at avoiding stigmatizing terminology in dealing with the other.
"Unintended stigmatization resulting from an ill-considered choice of words may have serious negative psychological effects and thus contribute to the process of radicalization," says the text's preamble cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The document warns European governments and officials against the use of religious language or interference in any religious debate.

It said such interference "may discredit the efforts of mainstream Muslims to curb extremist interpretations of Islam."

It urges EU governments to "ensure that they do not inadvertently and inappropriately impose a sense of identity solely linked to religious affiliation."

Since taking over the EU's presidency in January, Austria has hosted conferences involving experts on Islam, religion and linguistics, hoping to finalize the document by December.

The 25-member bloc has been trying to define a "common vocabulary" to differentiate between Islam as a religion and individuals hijacking the Muslim faith.

For the European Commission, the EU's executive body, the common vocabulary's aim is to help all those who have no special knowledge of Islamic culture.

"It's not a question of being politically correct but rather a small tool among many others for reducing incitement to radicalization," said the commission's justice affairs spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing.

In Context

Rather than dictionary-style definitions, the EU lexicon tries to place words in their cultural, historical and political context to inform users and give them a better idea of how their use could be misunderstood.

The common lexicon, for the moment, consists of just three terms: "Islamist", "fundamentalism" and "jihad".

The document ruled out "Islamic terrorism," because it brackets Islam as a religion with terrorism.

It further has reservations about "Islamist terrorism" though the suffix -ist links terrorism to a distinct political ideology, not to a religion as a whole.

Most Islamists, the lexicon goes on, do not use violence to achieve their political goals and indeed the difference between Islamist and Islamic might not be obvious to the average European.

"As a rule of thumb, a reference to the name of the group or individual responsible for a terrorist attack, or the location of a terrorist attack, is a good choice," reads the text.

Or alternatively: "terrorism that invokes an abusive interpretation of Islam."

The lexicon also advised the Europeans to steer clear of the offensive "Islamic fundamentalism."

The term "fundamentalism," according to the lexicon, refers to beliefs and convictions which do not always have immediate political repercussions and when it is coupled into "Islamic fundamentalism" could be offensive to Muslims.

The third term is "jihad" which is commonly used in the media to mean "holy war".

The lexicon explains that the word refers to an intellectual, social or other kind of personal exercise -- "great jihad" -- or to a war in defense of Muslims; "little jihad."

"The latter is either regarded as a collective duty or as an individual obligation incumbent on any capable Muslim," says the document, adding that the word's misuse can also cause offence.

The UN Commission on Human Rights adopted in April last year a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that seeing Islam as a "monolith" and distorting its tenets are among the many practices that now make up the term Islamophobia.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest US Muslim civil liberties, has called for issuing an annual report on Islamophobia across the world on a par with the global anti-Semitism report.


How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America
Zbigniew Brzezinski

The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done -- a classic self-inflicted wound -- is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a "war on terror" did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized in part by the notion that "a nation at war" does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being "at war."

To justify the "war on terror," the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own -- and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes even with blueprints for their implementation.

That America has become insecure and more paranoid is hardly debatable. A recent study reported that in 2003, Congress identified 160 sites as potentially important national targets for would-be terrorists. With lobbyists weighing in, by the end of that year the list had grown to 1,849; by the end of 2004, to 28,360; by 2005, to 77,769. The national database of possible targets now has some 300,000 items in it, including the Sears Tower in Chicago and an Illinois Apple and Pork Festival.

Just last week, here in Washington, on my way to visit a journalistic office, I had to pass through one of the absurd "security checks" that have proliferated in almost all the privately owned office buildings in this capital -- and in New York City. A uniformed guard required me to fill out a form, show an I.D. and in this case explain in writing the purpose of my visit. Would a visiting terrorist indicate in writing that the purpose is "to blow up the building"? Would the guard be able to arrest such a self-confessing, would-be suicide bomber? To make matters more absurd, large department stores, with their crowds of shoppers, do not have any comparable procedures. Nor do concert halls or movie theaters. Yet such "security" procedures have become routine, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and further contributing to a siege mentality.

Government at every level has stimulated the paranoia. Consider, for example, the electronic billboards over interstate highways urging motorists to "Report Suspicious Activity" (drivers in turbans?). Some mass media have made their own contribution. The cable channels and some print media have found that horror scenarios attract audiences, while terror "experts" as "consultants" provide authenticity for the apocalyptic visions fed to the American public. Hence the proliferation of programs with bearded "terrorists" as the central villains. Their general effect is to reinforce the sense of the unknown but lurking danger that is said to increasingly threaten the lives of all Americans.

The entertainment industry has also jumped into the act. Hence the TV serials and films in which the evil characters have recognizable Arab features, sometimes highlighted by religious gestures, that exploit public anxiety and stimulate Islamophobia. Arab facial stereotypes, particularly in newspaper cartoons, have at times been rendered in a manner sadly reminiscent of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaigns. Lately, even some college student organizations have become involved in such propagation, apparently oblivious to the menacing connection between the stimulation of racial and religious hatreds and the unleashing of the unprecedented crimes of the Holocaust.

The atmosphere generated by the "war on terror" has encouraged legal and political harassment of Arab Americans (generally loyal Americans) for conduct that has not been unique to them. A case in point is the reported harassment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its attempts to emulate, not very successfully, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Some House Republicans recently described CAIR members as "terrorist apologists" who should not be allowed to use a Capitol meeting room for a panel discussion.

Social discrimination, for example toward Muslim air travelers, has also been its unintended byproduct. Not surprisingly, animus toward the United States even among Muslims otherwise not particularly concerned with the Middle East has intensified, while America's reputation as a leader in fostering constructive interracial and interreligious relations has suffered egregiously.

The record is even more troubling in the general area of civil rights. The culture of fear has bred intolerance, suspicion of foreigners and the adoption of legal procedures that undermine fundamental notions of justice. Innocent until proven guilty has been diluted if not undone, with some -- even U.S. citizens -- incarcerated for lengthy periods of time without effective and prompt access to due process. There is no known, hard evidence that such excess has prevented significant acts of terrorism, and convictions for would-be terrorists of any kind have been few and far between. Someday Americans will be as ashamed of this record as they now have become of the earlier instances in U.S. history of panic by the many prompting intolerance against the few.

In the meantime, the "war on terror" has gravely damaged the United States internationally. For Muslims, the similarity between the rough treatment of Iraqi civilians by the U.S. military and of the Palestinians by the Israelis has prompted a widespread sense of hostility toward the United States in general. It's not the "war on terror" that angers Muslims watching the news on television, it's the victimization of Arab civilians. And the resentment is not limited to Muslims. A recent BBC poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries that sought respondents' assessments of the role of states in international affairs resulted in Israel, Iran and the United States being rated (in that order) as the states with "the most negative influence on the world." Alas, for some that is the new axis of evil!

The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. "war on terror" against "Islamo-fascism." Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.

Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, "Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia"? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, is the author most recently of "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower" (Basic Books).

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