A Closer Look at the Term 'Islamist'

Friday, December 02, 2011

In response to the coverage of Egypt's elections, the Takeaway has heard a lot from listeners about our use of the term "Islamist" to describe the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and other parties in Egypt. One Takeaway listener wrote on our Web site, "Is there Christianists and Jewists? It is about time that sensitivity was built in the media discourse."

Playwright, attorney and commentator Wajahat Ali joins the program to help us pinpoint how the term "Islamist" is used and misused. He's also the lead writer of a Center for American Progress report titled "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America."


Wajahat Ali

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [3]


Celeste Headlee just Tweeted:

CelesteHeadlee Awful - an Afghan teen is raped by a relative,jailed for adultery, not released until she agrees to marry rapist bit.ly/tVu8Nwabout 1 hour ago · reply · retweet · favorite

I wonder what we would call the officials who were the inspiration for that particular Afghan legal resolution. "Islamists" seems like a rather mild and not-inapporpriate descriptive. Wouldn't "Islamic theocrats" be an accurate and fairly clinical term?

Dec. 02 2011 10:55 AM

How about discussing the use of the word "conservative" in this context? Is this just so-called "progressives" being cute with the language in an effort to confuse the public?
In an effort to avoid "the lumpage factor" we also should not dilute the language with politically correct jargon to the point it has no meaning and can be deceptive.

Dec. 02 2011 10:15 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

I was going to answer with a reference to Jesse Jackson but I think he's a Baptist.

America doesn't like "lumping". Racists like lumping. I've never used "Islamist". I assumed the media means Islamic-_____. I forget sometimes that being a reporter doesn't make that individual intelligent by default. Though I can't believe that an intelligent person wouldn't question the terms they use daily and correct themselves when appropriate.

I would also like to see an end to "Arab Spring". It paints several "coups" of varying intensity levels into one unified movement and falsely so.

Dec. 02 2011 10:10 AM

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