You might have thought that Absurd Britannia couldn’t possibly get any more absurd. You’d have been wrong. The Daily Mail reported Monday that British “police are considering dropping the terms ‘Islamist terror’ and ‘jihadi’ because they ‘don’t help community relations.’” The cops were apparently mum about whether jihad terrorism and jihadis themselves “don’t help community relations.” They’re much more concerned about nomenclature. If we don’t offend the poor dears, you see, all will be well, and jihad will become a thing of the past.
Well, that is, not “jihad,” but whatever Britain’s politically correct elite decide to call it. Maybe they could take a page from the Washington Redskins and call jihadis The London Football Team. The Daily Mail notes that “alternatives suggested include ‘faith-claimed terrorism’, ‘terrorists abusing religious motivations’ and ‘adherents of Osama bin Laden’s ideology.’”
What exactly is Osama bin Laden’s ideology? Don’t expect the British police to tell you. This entire rebranding endeavor is an effort to ignore and obfuscate the answer to that question. Now who would want to do that? The Daily Mail tells us that “a Muslim police organisation claimed today’s official terminology fuelled negative perceptions, stereotypes, discrimination and Islamophobia.” Why, we can’t have people thinking ill of people for blowing up commuters on buses and subways and little girls at concerts. And so “the 3,000-strong National Association of Muslim Police advocated ‘a change in culture by moving away from using terms which have a direct link to Islam and jihad. These … do not help community relations and public confidence.’”
The National Association of Muslim Police is ready with just the right phrase: “It instead suggested an Arabic word, ‘Irhabi,’ could be deployed. It is used throughout the Middle East to describe those with extremist views. The group said that the word ‘jihad’ was complicated by its figurative meaning of the ‘struggle’ of being faithful, as well as being used to to [sic] denote self-defence in the context of a physical struggle.”
Labeling jihadis “irhabis,” those who wage unlawful warfare, of course assumes that jihad activity goes against the teachings of Islam. The U.S. chose this willful ignorance nearly a decade ago. On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates, who had complained for years about supposed Muslim profiling and entrapment, sent a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” It criticized “the FBI’s use of biased experts and training materials.” Khera complained that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a powerpoint presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; and that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia,” and “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”
These were supposed to be terrible things because I was bigoted and hateful. But many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were not actually bigoted and distorted at all, but simply accurate. What was distorted was Khera’s representation of them. For instance, Khera stated,
A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:
- “Wearing traditional Muslim attire”
- “Growing facial hair”
- “Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”
- “Travel to a Muslim country”
- “Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”
But the FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that converts to Islam were necessarily “on the path” to becoming “extremists” if they wore traditional Muslim attire, grew facial hair, and frequently attended a mosque; it simply included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators to “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Others included “travel without obvious source of funds’; “suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”; “large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”; and “formation of operational cells.” Khera selectively quoted and misrepresented the list to give the impression that the FBI was saying that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”
Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and more — to ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.
Brennan immediately complied. In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera, that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan promised that the government would “ensure that federal officials and state, local and tribal partners receive accurate, evidence-based information in these crucial areas.”
Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged — and the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate.
It’s the same situation in Britain now. Obligingly calling jihadis irhabis will prevent British authorities from being able to confront or challenge the fact that jihadis make recruits among peaceful Muslims by presenting themselves as the authentic exponents of Islamic teachings. Pretending those teachings don’t exist does nothing to blunt their influence.
This is just still more Islamopandering in Britain, which seems determined to commit societal suicide rather than discard its politically correct fantasies.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
* * *