Changes to the AP stylebook show that we’re blinding ourselves to the connections between Islamic extremism and terrorism.
By Andrew C McCarthy, THE NEW CRITERION
It was a report of the now numbingly familiar sort. Witnesses at the synagogue in Paris recounted that an Iranian immigrant had been screaming “Allahu Akbar!” while he chased the rabbi and his son. When he finally caught up, he slashed away at them with a box-cutter, causing severe lacerations. Nevertheless, the Associated Press assured readers that “[a]n official investigation was underway to determine a possible motive.”
Quite a mystery, that.
It is necessary to search for some “possible” motive because to notice the actual and perfectly obvious motive is verboten in the judgment of both the legacy media and Western governments. The motive, of course, is adherence to Islamic supremacist ideology, a mainstream interpretation of Muslim doctrine commonly referred to by the shorthand “Islamist.”
Indeed, just this April, the AP revised its stylebook to posit new guidelines for use of the term “Islamist.” In so doing, the news service deferred to admonitions from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood’s influential public-relations-cum-lawfare arm in the United States, is a longtime supporter 0f Hamas, the terrorist organization that doubles as the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.
Before these revisions, the definition off which the AP had been working was reasonably accurate. An Islamist, according to the old guidelines, was “a supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam.” Such supporters make up a sizeable percentage of the 1.4 billion-strong global Islamic ummah (the community), and thus reflect a wide range of Muslim notions about how best to impose these “laws of Islam”—the societal framework and politico-legal system known as sharia (the path). But all Islamists agree that they must be imposed. That is what makes an Islamist an Islamist. The dramatic ascendancy of Islamists—the implementation of their substantially anti-democratic system through democratic procedures—is the story of the so-called Arab Spring.
There is plenty of disagreement within the ummah about what constitutes sharia, which is derived from the Koran and other sources of Islamic scripture, in particular the hadith—authoritative collections of the words and deeds of Mohammed, Islam’s warrior prophet. Some claim it is merely a set of aspirational guidelines intended as a private behavioral compass designed to achieve a Muslim’s personal experience of the divine. This construction, though held by various reformers and modernizing “secular Muslims,” flies in the face of some stubborn realities.
Sharia, for example, is the law of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, bastions of fundamentalist Islam that admit of no other legal systems, that employ “religious police” to promote strict sharia compliance, and that routinely apply Islam’s harsh corporal punishments, such as scourging and even stoning. Furthermore, even in Islamic countries that attempt to meld sharia with other legal systems (e.g., Napoleonic law), sharia is given pride of place and enforced both officially, in civil and criminal court cases, and culturally, by public mores.