Calling them Islamic fascists can’t help

“After 9/11, President Bush described our fight against terrorism as a ‘crusade’ – a statement he later retracted. In his first press conference after the recently thwarted terrorist plot to blow up planes flying from Britain to the United States, the president said, ‘This nation is at war with Islamic fascists.’

“The phrase ‘Islamic fascists’ has drawn the ire of the American Muslim community. We use ‘Islamic ethics’ to mean ethics based on Islamic teachings that guide our behavior. Similarly, Islamic art draws its inspiration from Islamic teachings that discourage certain types of art (immodest imagery or certain life forms). When the president uses ‘Islamic fascists’, it conveys that fascism is rooted in or inspired by Islam. This is the way the Muslims see it, regardless of what Bush may claim he really means.

“Bush earlier said that Islam is a religion of peace. Now, caving in to extreme right-wing pressure, he’s equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism. Such rhetoric contributes to fear of and backlash against American Muslims. A recent Gallup poll shows four out of 10 Americans feeling ‘prejudiced’ against Muslims.”

Parvez Ahmed of CAIR at Scripps News, 24 August 2006