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Bush alters ‘jihadist’ rhetoric

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    U.S. administration alters `jihadist rhetoric By Khody Akhavi Jun 2, 2008 http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_4795.shtml The nonbinding 14-point
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2008
      U.S. administration alters `jihadist' rhetoric
      By Khody Akhavi
      Jun 2, 2008
      http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_4795.shtml



      The nonbinding 14-point guide on counterterrorism communication,
      prepared by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, urged U.S.
      officials to drop language and terminology that may offend Arab and
      Muslim communities; to use terms such as `violent extremist'
      or `terrorist' instead of `jihadist.'


      WASHINGTON (IPS/GIN) - Elements within the George W. Bush
      administration appear to have started questioning the value of
      abstractly ominous phrases such as the "war on terror" and the "axis
      of evil," according to a memo leaked to the Associated Press in
      April. The nonbinding 14-point guide on counterterrorism
      communication, prepared by the U.S. National Counterterrorism
      Center, urged U.S. officials to drop language and terminology that
      may offend Arab and Muslim communities; to use terms such
      as "violent extremist" or "terrorist" instead of "jihadist;" and to
      shift the discussion away from the dualistic "Clash of
      Civilizations" or battle between "Islam and the West," a paradigm
      that casts Islam as inherently violent.

      "A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the
      context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means `striving in the path
      of God' and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our
      enemies `jihadis' and their movement a global jihad unintentionally
      legitimizes their actions," according to the report.

      "We need to emphasize that terrorists misuse religion as a political
      tool to harm innocent civilians across the globe."

      It goes on to suggest using the word "totalitarian to describe our
      enemy" because, according to the report, the term is widely
      understood in the Muslim world. Keep the focus on the terrorist, not
      us, it said, and don't ascribe "al-Qaeda and its affiliates motives
      or goals they have not articulated. Our audiences have more
      familiarity with the terrorist messages than we do and will
      immediately spot U.S. government embellishment."

      Lastly, "Try to limit the number of non-English terms you use if you
      are speaking in English," because "it's not what you say, but what
      they hear."

      In other words, mispronunciation could make a statement
      incomprehensible, such as in the example of "Qutbism," which refers
      to author Sayyid Qutb, a Muslim Brotherhood member during the mid-
      1950s who penned the controversial book, "Milestones," and whose
      ideas inspired al-Qaeda. The word Qutb in English is often
      mispronounced to mean "books."

      Talking tough on terror has been the main currency of the Republican
      Party and the main project of neoconservative pundits in Washington.
      But in the aftermath of the Bush administration's failed Middle East
      policy, many officials, including the bullhorn-in-chief himself,
      have pushed to reform the public diplomacy machinery and to correct
      the rhetorical missteps that unintentionally serve to legitimize
      groups that share al-Qaeda's ideology.

      The inspiration may have come from Bush confidante and hand-holder
      Karen Hughes, who acted as an adviser to the administration until
      she was appointed undersecretary for public diplomacy and public
      affairs, a position she left in November 2007. Ms. Hughes had never
      been to the Middle East and had no expertise in the Muslim
      communities that were the main targets of the White House's public
      diplomacy goals. But her year-long effort to change the U.S. image
      abroad did yield the National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and
      Strategic Communication, a 34-page document that calls for the U.S.
      to mind its language.

      "Avoid characterizing people of any faith as `moderate'—this is a
      political word which, when extended to the world of faith, can imply
      these are less devout and faithful. The terms `mainstream'
      or `majority' are preferable," according to Hughes report.

      In the face of increased calls from analysts and officials within
      the intelligence community to focus on the very serious public
      diplomacy problem on its hands, the Bush administration appears to
      have taken Ms. Hughes' advice to heart. The president has used the
      phrase "Islamic terrorist" only once since the beginning of 2007 and
      has buried the "Islamo-fascist" neologism embraced by right-leaning
      U.S. officials and terrorism analysts. Secretary of State
      Condoleezza Rice has also refrained from using the word "jihadi" in
      her public speeches since last September.

      Recent developments appear to have caused a split among Republicans
      on how to define terrorism, and the recent disclosure has ruffled
      the feathers of members on the House Permanent Select Committee on
      Intelligence. In April, every Republican voted for an amendment to
      an intelligence bill that would ban the use of federal cash to
      produce documents that used the same terminology as the U.S.
      National Counterterrorism Center report. The amendment, authored by
      the panel's ranking Republican was defeated.

      In response to the new U.S. National Counterterrorism Center
      recommendations, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the U.S.
      was crippled by "political correctness" as it tried to meet "the
      threats around the world."

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