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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bush Ups Rhetorical Heat By Calling Enemies 'Islamic Fascists'

By J.M. Berger

In a short address today on the London terrorist threat against U.S. bound airliners, President Bush referred to America's enemies as "Islamic fascists."

The political terminology of the War on Terror is a complicated web of terms and characterizations. "Islamic fascist" or "Islamofascist" is considered highly offensive by many mainstream Muslims.

The perjorative is often applied very broadly to adherents of political Islam, which in turn is a phrase arguably applicable to mainstream Muslims, since Islam contains an inherently political component.

If Bush meant to employ the term consistent with its most common usage -- and given his history with language, he may not have -- it could represents a substantial escalation of the administration's definition of its "enemies" in the Arab-Muslim world and beyond.

If unintentional, the usage is notably insensitive and likely to produce controversy in the days to come.


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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