As if the term “Islamic terrorism” isn’t redundant to begin with.

U.S. aims to unlink Islamic, terrorism (May 7)

U.S. officials are being advised in internal government documents to avoid referring publicly to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as Islamic or Muslim, and not to use terms like jihad or mujahedeen, which “unintentionally legitimize” terrorism.

“There’ s a growing consensus [in the Bush administration] that we need to move away from that language,” said a former senior administration official who was involved until recently in policy debates on the issue.

Instead, in two documents circulated last month by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the multiagency center charged with strategic coordination of the U.S. war on terror, officials are urged to use terms such as violent extremists, totalitarian and death cult to characterize al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

“Avoid labeling everything ‘Muslim.’ It reinforces the ‘U.S. vs. Islam’ framework that al Qaeda promotes,” according to “Words that Work and Words that Don’t: A Guide for Counter-Terrorism Communication,” produced last month by the center.

“You have a large percentage of the world’ s population that subscribes to this religion,” the former official said. “Unintentionally alienating them is not a judicious move.”

Daniel Sutherland, who runs the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, insisted that the avoidance of the term Islam in conjunction with terrorism “is in no way an exercise in political correctness. … We are not watering down what we say.”

“There are some terms which al Qaeda wants us to use because they are helpful to them,” he said.

The “Words That Work” guide notes, “Although the al Qaeda network exploits religious sentiments and tries to use religion to justify its actions, we should treat it as an illegitimate political organization, both terrorist and criminal.”

By employing the language the extremists use about themselves, the guide says, officials can inadvertently help legitimize them in the eyes of Muslims.

“Never use the terms ‘jihadist’ or ‘mujahedeen’ … to describe the terrorists,” the guide says. “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.”

A longer document produced by Mr. Sutherland’ s office and also circulated by the NCTC compiles advice from Islamic community leaders and religious professionals in the United States about terminology officials should use and avoid.

“Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims,” says officials should use “terms such as ‘death cult,’ ‘cult-like,’ ’sectarian cult,’ and ‘violent cultists’ to describe the ideology and methodology of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

It also recommends eschewing the terms Islamist or Islamism — the advocacy of a political system based on Islam — “because the general public, including overseas audiences, may not appreciate the academic distinction between Islamism and Islam.”

The use of the term may be accurate, the document says, but “it may not be strategic for [U.S. government] officials to use the term.”

So they want to de-link Islam from terrorislam — I mean from terrorism. (See? It’s going to take longer to program this head; I’m from the Soviet Union, so I’ve seen this kind of mind control before.) So what are we going to call them, then? The Bad People? “Watch out for the bad people!” What, are we in an M. Knight Shylaman movie? “This was done by those of whom we dare not speak!” This is like that “Twilight Zone” episode in which a sadistic child controlled everything and could kill you just by looking at you, and you were supposed to just smile and say what a beautiful day it is today and every day, acting like nothing in the world is wrong and eating peanut butter sandwiches three times a day is perfectly normal. People, we are living the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and we don’t even know it.