All You Need To Know About Sciatica Islamofascism Awareness Week

Let’s get past the question of why anyone would think that Americans forgot about angry muslims attacking us six years ago. That seems vanishingly unlikely when at any given time a Republican is running for office somewhere. Rather, what strikes me the about David Horowitz’s latest publicity stunt is the remarkable degree to which David and his drooling followers seem utterly unaware of the actual threat. Reading through a typical rightwing blog or speech by 9/11-humping candidates like Giuliani you get the impression that they have no idea that al Qaeda is a Sunni movement that detests Shiites and secular Arab leaders as much as they detest us, that Zarqawi spent most of AQI’s energy attacking the Shiite community, that Iran and the Sunni Arab world view one another with thinly veiled hostility. The idea that Israel and Iran shared a 20th century strategic arrangement that ranged from diplomatic refuge during the Holocaust to Israel intervening on Iran’s behalf during the hostage crisis has not and will never penetrate Horowitz’s pointy little head.

This is not a trivial point. Our true enemies, in the sense of the people who attacked us unprovoked, represent a small minority of hardened extremists. Their long-term strategy and even their very survival depends on mainstreaming their radical ideas into a broader arab movement. To the degree that we nurture the modernist and moderate factions of muslim society and emphasize the differences between them and the cave-dwelling nuts, al Qaeda loses. But to the degree that we lump all of Islam into a mistrusted category that gets strip searched, disappeared, tortured and denounced without discrimination bin Laden’s fringe movement wins big time. When moderate muslims cannot travel in the west without narrow-eyed suspicion or even open abuse from a Malkin-inspired hysteric, anti-western preachings sound more and more credible.

So yes, an Islamofascism Awareness Week sounds like a fine idea. Maybe one day we should have one.

***Update***

What a sad spectacle.

I can definitavely say that there are no plans for TAW week at Drexel University. I thought it was worth pointing out that one of the “participating” colleges is most decidedly not participating. There are no speakers, movies, or other events planned, and there has been no announcement of TAW either. I suspect that Drexel is not the only ghost participant in that list. Apparently, all it takes to be listed as a participating school is for a single conservative student to email Horowitz and say “I’d like to do that on my campus.” No follow-through.

Can’t these doofuses do one thing right? Maybe we need an Islamofascism Awareness Week Awareness Week.

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76 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2

    Sure, you say this now.

    But after bin Laden invokes Sharia law in the United States, you’ll look back at this and whimper!

  3. 3

    Is that too over the top? I want to strike a balance between Malkin crazy and Horowitz insanity. I think I might have gone off into WingNut Daily territory though.

  4. 4
    Jim Henley says:

    Tim, once you realize a main purpose of stunts like IF Awareness Week is to prevent Muslim-Americans from being able to play the same interest-group politics that Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans and Cuban-Americans et al have played for decades, you’ll understand that the actual effect on foreign terrorist recruitment is beside the point. It’s all about delegitimizing domestic political activity by a suspect class.

  5. 5
    D-Chance. says:

    I don’t want to say that Islamofascist Awareness Week is bombing; but, when Uncle Jimbo from Black Five pans Horowitz’s speech and notes, “Horowitz sucked Hoover” and “I actually had more common ground with the Muslim Student Association tonight than with my zionist neocon overlord“…

  6. 6
    Jake says:

    Our true enemies, in the sense of the people who attacked us unprovoked, represent a small minority of hardened extremists.

    Bu-but! A Small Minority of Hardened Extremists Awareness Week cost too much to print on the banners!

    So yes, an Islamofascism Awareness Week sounds like a fine idea. Maybe one day we should have one.

    Fixed.

  7. 7
    Pb says:

    what strikes me the about David Horowitz’s latest publicity stunt is the remarkable degree to which David and his drooling followers seem utterly unaware of the actual threat

    …where have you been…

    “We have come to a post-Cold War historic turning point. We have entered the era of a new civil war between the forces of freedom and the powers of Islamo-fascist and communist darkness, and once again the left is clearly detemined to take its stand on the other side. The good news is that America is back. Our military has performed superlatively. Our leadership has stood tall. We ourselves can celebrate over this and look confidently towards what lies ahead.” — David Horowitz, April 9, 2003

    What has David Horowitz ever been right about, or knowledgeable about, past “how to exploit the wingnut welfare system”? What issue was he ever on the right side of, and why should I care about what he says, except to help guage how utterly ridiculous and abhorrent a given opinion might be? He’s a pathetic, foppish hack; what’s worse, he makes a good living doing so.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    This is not a trivial point. Our true enemies, in the sense of the people who attacked us unprovoked, represent a small minority of hardened extremists. Their long-term strategy and even their very survival depends on mainstreaming their radical ideas into a broader arab movement. To the degree that we nurture the modernist and moderate factions of muslim society and emphasize the differences between them and the cave-dwelling nuts, al Qaeda loses. But to the degree that we lump all of Islam into a mistrusted category that gets strip searched, disappeared, tortured and denounced without discrimination bin Laden’s fringe movement wins big time. To moderate muslims who cannot travel in the west without narrow-eyed suspicion or even open abuse from a hysteric like Michelle Malkin, anti-western preachings sound more and more credible.

    War is Peace, John.

    This isn’t an accident. Republicans need scary shit to frighten people or they don’t get votes. This is why Reagen needed to “win” the Cold War and Bush needs to wage the Long War against islamic extremism. Because if you look at Rethugs as the Big Daddy Party, you have a reason to elect them to public office. If all you are left with is economic issues and moral crusades, why would any soccer mom or NASCAR dad vote for you?

    So make a bunch of desert-born goat herders the greatest enemy America has ever faced. If a cave-dwelling Osama isn’t anything more than a rather lethal pest, pick a fight with an entire country or two. If watching airliners crash into tall buildings on rerun just isn’t scary enough for some people, start showing anthrax attacks and mushroom clouds as computer generated prophecies in cable TV newsrooms.

    Republicans want a big scary enemy. They need you to be perpetually aware of the Islamofascist Menace. Because fear makes people do stupid and irrational things – like building a fail-out shelter in your basement, or buying an armful of Smith & Wessons, or donate $100 to the Fred Thompson campaign – and Republicans know how to exploit that. But they don’t want you to do the smart thing or the rational thing to protect yourself, because then you’ll start feeling safe and you might have the self-confidence to ask for better leadership. So saber-rattle with Iran, then get broadsided by Saudi terrorists, then bomb Syria, then get hit by Jordanian ultra-nationals, then watch another federal building get blown up by the next Timothy McVeigh and go on a crusade against illegal immigrants.

  9. 9
    Jake says:

    How is this playing in the news?

    I’m sure Horridwitz is dismayed by the lack of calls for his head. Imagine what a fatwah would do for his book sales!

  10. 10
    Sstarr says:

    ISLAMOFACISM: Is it much worse than plain old EuroFacism? Or is it when Muslims wander around carrying bundles of sticks? I feel so ignorant. Thank goodness for the nice college republicans telling me what to believe!

  11. 11
    r€nato says:

    if I were the Muslim David Horowitz, I’d declare a National American Imperialism Awareness Week, and I’d actually have some basis in reality for it.

    Oh, who am I kidding. Every week we are in Iraq and otherwise meddling in ME affairs, Arabs are reminded of American imperialism.

  12. 12
    Billy K says:

    Liberal!

  13. 13
    Snail says:

    I know this is somewhat off-topic, but this just seems like a story that needs to get a lot more attention:

    http://www.psychsound.com/2007.....r_how.html

  14. 14
    Bombadil says:

    War is Peace, John.

    Tim.

  15. 15
    KCinDC says:

    I’m hoping that Virginia Republicans’ latest attempt to capitalize on this idiocy ends up yielding severe backlash (Macaca II) in their election in two weeks.

  16. 16

    Does it make me unaware of the threat that Islamofascism poses that I’m more frightened of traffic on I-95 than I am of the possibility that a terrorist is going to blow me up?

  17. 17
    Tim F. says:

    Does it make me unaware of the threat that Islamofascism poses that I’m more frightened of traffic on I-95 than I am of the possibility that a terrorist is going to blow me up?

    Statistically speaking, autofucktardism is a much greater threat in America than islamofascism.

  18. 18
    Punchy says:

    what the fuck does “Islamofascism” even mean? Isn’t Islam a religion, not a government or even a government ideology?

    I say it’s time we make up nonsensical words that mean nothing but are sure to find there way on CNN:

    DeadBlondeTeenager Awareness Week
    IslamoAbortionistsEatFetuses Awareness Year
    DemoFascistMadrassaHomos Awareness Week

  19. 19
    capelza says:

    punchy I agree…if they want a catchy phrase..wouldn’t Islamoluddite be better, seeing as how they want to take us back to the middle ages or something?

    I read about this somewhere else and the term Islamophobofacist was used to descibe Hrowitz and his ilk. I really liked that.

  20. 20
    Bombadil says:

    The other Cole (Juan) says:

    Then there are other problems with what Bush said. He contrasted “Islamic fascism” to “democracy,” presumably a reference to the Lebanese Hizbullah.

    This point is incorrect and offensive for many reasons.

    It is a misuse of the word “Islamic.” “Islamic” has to do with the ideals and achievements of the Muslims and the Muslim religion. Thus, we speak of Islamic art. We speak of Islamic ethics.

    There can be Muslim fascists, just as there can be Christian fascists (and were, in Spain, Italy and Germany, and parts of Central and South America; the Spanish fascists and the Argentinian ones, e.g., were adopted by the United States government as close allies.)

    But there cannot be “Islamic” fascists, because the Islamic religion enshrines values that are incompatible with fascism.

    Fascism is not even a very good description of the ideology of most Muslim fundamentalists. Most fascism in the Middle East has been secular in character, as with Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party. Fascism involves extreme nationalism and most often racism. Muslim fundamentalist movements reject the nation-state as their primary loyalty and reject race as a basis for political action or social discrimination. Fascists exalt the state above individual rights or the rule of law. Muslim fundamentalists exalt Islamic law above the utilitarian interests of the state. Fascism exalts youth and a master race above the old and the “inferior” races. Muslim fundamentalists would never speak this way. Fascism glorifies “war as an end in itself and victory as the determinant of truth and worthiness.” Muslim fundamentalists view holy war as a ritual with precise conditions and laws governing its conduct. It is not considered an end in itself.

    Still, it rolls off the tongue nicely, so all the CoolCons will use the term, even if it makes no sense.

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  21. 21
    jrg says:

    When the aquacamels come ashore on Virginia Beach and decimate our once-proud Navy using box cutters and Kalashnikovs, you’ll wish you had wet your bed early, and often.

    If you’re not paralyzed with fear, the terrorists have already won.

  22. 22
    Wilfred says:

    , once you realize a main purpose of stunts like IF Awareness Week is to prevent Muslim-Americans from being able to play the same interest-group politics that Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans and Cuban-Americans et al have played for decades, you’ll understand that the actual effect on foreign terrorist recruitment is beside the point. It’s all about delegitimizing domestic political activity by a suspect class.

    My compliments, Jim, for such an astute observation. I would add that it also deflects attention from the real-time fascistic activities of some of the ardent champions of the event.

  23. 23
    Bombadil says:

    When the aquacamels come ashore on Virginia Beach and decimate our once-proud Navy using box cutters and Kalashnikovs, you’ll wish you had wet your bed early, and often.

    Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get cranberry juice out of cotton?

    I need to stop reading these during lunch.

  24. 24
    The Populist says:

    John,

    Beautiful post. A lot of your points are my points as well when arguing with my hard right friends. They have no concept of nuance. To them it’s the Bubba-fied mantra of “A good muslim is a dead muslim.” Not all say this, but they sure do imply it.

    We can’t nuke them into the stone age just because of a few nuts. We can’t ignore them nor can we risk not trying to engage them.

    I really wish we’d elect people who can think out of the box on this issue. Not doing so is a disservice to us all (including the nutjob righties who can’t understand that the majority of Muslims aren’t the enemy).

  25. 25
    Punchy says:

    Statistically speaking, autofucktardism is a much greater threat in America than islamofascism.

    Finally, a libtard on this blog willing to utilize proper post-1908 thinking.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    I believe the greatest joke of all is that Muslim-Americans….tend to be Conservative Republicans.

    We live in an age of perfect irony.

  27. 27
    Bombadil says:

    John,

    Beautiful post.

    Tim.

  28. 28
    Zifnab says:

    War is Peace, John.

    Tim.

    Gah, I should have recognized. Tim uses bigger paragraphs and less blockquotes and pictures.

  29. 29
    Face says:

    Tim uses bigger paragraphs words spelled correctly and less blockquotes and pictures whining.

    Fixed.

  30. 30
    Wilfred says:

    I believe the greatest joke of all is that Muslim-Americans….tend to be Conservative Republicans.

    That used to be the case; Iraq, abu Ghraib, renditions and show trials like the one that ended yesterday changed all that. The Muslim-American vote in Northern Virginia went overwhelmingly to Webb and will vote 90% Dem from now on.

  31. 31
    The Other Andrew says:

    …wait, this awareness week thing is real? I thought it was from the Onion or something. This is the first time I’ve heard about it.

    If I were Obama, I’d simply say: “Who do you trust to fight this rabid minority of religious fundamentalists–our own rabid minority of religious fundamentalists, or those who know how to make them culturally obsolete?”

  32. 32
    tBone says:

    When the aquacamels come ashore on Virginia Beach and decimate our once-proud Navy using box cutters and Kalashnikovs, you’ll wish you had wet your bed early, and often.

    Good point. Those liberals that line up to shower their Islamolords with flowers and candy are in for a surprise when the merciless IF shocktroops reciprocate with exploding falafel balls.

  33. 33
    Bombadil says:

    Gah, I should have recognized. Tim uses bigger paragraphs and less blockquotes and pictures.

    Quite so. But in John’s defense, we’re more likely to read (and comment on) the short ones with the pretty pictures. Kind of like why more people read “People” than read “The Atlantic Monthly”.

  34. 34
    Bombadil says:

    exploding falafel balls.

    Leave O’Reilly out of this.

  35. 35
    HyperIon says:

    well, I for one am not distracted by this ploy. I will keep my eye on the REAL problem, which is addressed by the Cato Institute latest block buster “The Best Laid Plans”. See the PJ ad on this site! Because government planning is a bad thing!

  36. 36
    Sirkowski says:

    How about a Marxist Former Lawyer for the Black Panthers Awareness Week?

  37. 37
    Jake says:

    when the merciless IF shocktroops reciprocate with exploding falafel balls.

    Bill O’Shrilly will think he died and went to heaven. Dead libruls and hot balls of falafel!

  38. 38
    libarbarian says:

    Fascism involves extreme nationalism and most often racism. Muslim fundamentalist movements reject the nation-state as their primary loyalty and reject race as a basis for political action or social discrimination.

    I’ve heard this a bunch but from where I am standing it looks like a pedantic splitting of hairs that serves to obscure more than enlighten.

    Do Republicans abuse the term and misuse it to obscure the real differences between various Islamic parties? Of course.

    But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore whatever similarities are there on the basis of a few differences – especially when they seem to be tangential to the “fundamentals”.

    What is so special about the “nation-state” that it cannot be substituted by another arbitrary way of differentiating between “Us and Them” without much change in the final result?

    What evidence is there that you can’t substitute a Religious Elite for, say, a racial or national elite, and still get essentially the same barbaric behavior and eliminationist ideology that you did with previous incarnations of Fascism?

    Fascists have been secular? True. But maybe…just maybe…its a historical coincidence that the modern form of government we now call “Fascist” just happened to emerge during an extremely secular period in European development and that the particular traits of secularism as opposed to religiosity, or loyalty to a “nation state” based on common genetic descent as opposed to another definition of a community based on common belief, have nothing whatsofuckingever to do with the things that REALLY make fascism suck balls – and that a government with these differences would be as oppressive, odious, and fucked-up as a “REAL” fascist government would

    Just because these guys are religious and devoted to the Ummah instead of secular and devoted to the race, doesn’t mean that they can’t be every bit as odious and terrible as the very limited record of historical prototypes have been.

  39. 39
    Zifnab says:

    Still, it rolls off the tongue nicely, so all the CoolCons will use the term, even if it makes no sense.

    I’m sure if anyone asked a Neo-Con whether Osama Bin Laden was a communistic fascist, I imagine the average neo-con would bob his head excitedly, what with “communist” and “fascist” both being the equivalent of “bad”. If a neo-con were to be asked if Osama Bin Laden was a religious conservative, I somehow doubt they’d give a flat “no”, but they’d be far more cagey than to say “yes”, because religious conservatives are “good”.

    Kinda like how Glenn Beck isn’t a conservative and John Stewart isn’t a liberal, because Stewart is the most popular pundit in America and Beck is CNN ratings trash. Stewart can’t be a “liberal” because “liberal” is bad, but “popular” and “high ratings” are good. Likewise, Beck can’t be conservative because he’s not good enough.

    We live in a black-and-white world, baby. Get used to it. The average American doesn’t know who Karl Marx is or what the tenants of the Maoist Communist Revolution were about. They just know Ronald Reagen single-handedly defeated the entire Soviet Union with a tip of his cowboy hat and a well-placed round from his Colt 45.

  40. 40
    John Cole says:

    The problem with Horowitz and company is not that they are scared and ignorant and tend to have violent streaks.

    The problem with them is that they are motivated to do something. Not to mention they have money.

  41. 41
    demimondian says:

    War is Peace, John.

    Tim.

    Tim is John, Bombadil.

  42. 42
    Lee says:

    Snail,

    Good link. I just read it.

    Not really surprised but still very sad that our country has fallen so far.

  43. 43
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    what the fuck does “Islamofascism” even mean? Isn’t Islam a religion, not a government or even a government ideology?

    Oh, the wingnuts are way ahead of you on this one. You see, “Islam” is, despite all appearances, not a religion. So all that holy scripture, ritual, obedience to the God of Abraham, etc.? That’s just a diversionary tactic. Islam is, in actuality, a cult that is bent on world domination (via the caliphate–which is most assuredly not a religious thing) in ways that make the New World Order guys look like a bunch of pikers.

    I learned it all from BlogsforBush.

  44. 44
    LITBMueller says:

    Fascists have been secular? True. But maybe…just maybe…its a historical coincidence that the modern form of government we now call “Fascist” just happened to emerge during an extremely secular period in European development and that the particular traits of secularism as opposed to religiosity, or loyalty to a “nation state” based on common genetic descent as opposed to another definition of a community based on common belief, have nothing whatsofuckingever to do with the things that REALLY make fascism suck balls – and that a government with these differences would be as oppressive, odious, and fucked-up as a “REAL” fascist government would

    Just because these guys are religious and devoted to the Ummah instead of secular and devoted to the race, doesn’t mean that they can’t be every bit as odious and terrible as the very limited record of historical prototypes have been.

    So, what, are you proposing Fascism Sucks Balls Week?

    THIS is why Islamofascism has become the word du jour on the right: because if you can’t call Osama an Islamofascist, then you have to call him what he is: a fundamentalist zealot.

    And that hits just a little bit too close to home…

  45. 45
    Face says:

    I learned it all from BlogsforBush.

    Is this Jeb’s or Neil’s website? Or is it just a blog for heterosexual men?

  46. 46
    Rudi says:

    The Week’s events will include speeches about Islamo-Fascism by prominent figures, including former Senator Rick Santorum (Penn State, Temple and UPenn), Sean Hannity (Columbia), Ann Coulter (Tulane and USC), Dennis Prager (UC Santa Barbara), Robert Spencer (Brown, Dartmouth, University of Rhode Island, and DePaul), Daniel Pipes (Northeastern and UPenn), David Horowitz (Columbia, Emory, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin), Michael Ledeen (Maryland), Nonie Darwish (UCLA and Berkeley), Wafa Sultan (Stanford) and radio talk show hosts Melanie Morgan (San Francisco State), Michael Medved (University of Washington), Martha Zoeller (Georgia Tech), Alan Nathan (George Mason), Mark Larson (to be named) and many others.

    Now this is quite a fine group assembled to teach our young. I wonder if Melanie Morgan will bake cookies or if Sanctorum will bring his foetus in a mason jar? Maybe after this, Ann Coulter will do a Jewish Awareness Week at Bob Jones University.

  47. 47
    Wilfred says:

    Some clarifications about fascism, which has traditionally, i.e. historically, been defined at three levels, beginning with the most superficial and historically contextualized, thus 1) Anti-Marxism – destroy the enemy (Marxism) with completely opposed but somehow related ideology and the same emphasis on national self-assertion and political autonomy, individual political consciousness raised to national levels;
    2)”the life and death struggle of the sovereign, martial, inwardly antagonistic group” as it was famously described, the group that sees fascism not as a form of politics but as the real basis of all politics – thus the discourse of Wingnuttia, and finally, and much more problematically,
    3) Resistance to transcendence – which describes fascism in meta-political terms. This is the absolute foundation of fascism, which substitutes religious and philosophical transcendence with purely political ‘Triumphs of the Will’. it is the logical, historical continuation of the bourgeois break with late medieval Catholicism. It continues today in cultural preoccupations and fascination with longevity.

  48. 48
    NickM says:

    libarbarian: “I’ve heard this a bunch but from where I am standing it looks like a pedantic splitting of hairs that serves to obscure more than enlighten.”

    What serves to obscure is taking terms that have clearly defined meanings and stretching them to mean whatever the hell you want at that moment because it sounds good. That’s deliberate obscuration because without clear definitions you can’t have clear thought; insisting that words have meaning was, I thought, a conservative value.

    You could define fascist to mean “anything oppressive that sucks” I guess. In that case, fascism could be aptly applied to Islamic extremism. But it also could be aptly applied to my dad when I was a teenager.

  49. 49
    libarbarian says:

    So, what, are you proposing Fascism Sucks Balls Week?

    Would you object? Hitler looks funny already – how much more so if he’s juggling a pair of nutz in his mouth?

    THIS is why Islamofascism has become the word du jour on the right: because if you can’t call Osama an Islamofascist, then you have to call him what he is: a fundamentalist zealot.

    I agree- they don’t want to call him a “fundamentalist” because they use that term as something good when they apply it to themselves.

    However, in general, “fundamentalist” can also be a bad name because for both the Christian and Islamic cases they are often NOT actually “getting back to the fundamentals” at all – they are interpreting the religion as much as anyone else and use the label “fundamentalist” to FALSELY imply that they are going back to basics when really they are as or more innovative as any of the camps with rival religious interpretations.

    Take one example from the Christian case – there is NOTHING fundamental or even remotely literal about “the rapture”. Belief in “The Rapture” is based on WILD and relatively modern interpretations of passages scattered throughout the bible without regard to their order, chronology, or literal wording – and they ignore the CLEAR and LITERAL statements elsewhere which flatly contradict their notions*. Calling the kind of American Christians who currently profess belief in the Rapture “fundamentalists” is probably MORE inaccurate than calling them “Christian Supremacists/Nationalists” or even, for some of them, “Chritofascists”.

    *Jesus on Predictions of the End Times: “”But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

  50. 50

    The Week’s events will include speeches about Islamo-Fascism by prominent figures, including former Senator Rick Santorum (Penn State, Temple and UPenn), Sean Hannity (Columbia), Ann Coulter (Tulane and USC), Dennis Prager (UC Santa Barbara), Robert Spencer (Brown, Dartmouth, University of Rhode Island, and DePaul), Daniel Pipes (Northeastern and UPenn), David Horowitz (Columbia, Emory, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin), Michael Ledeen (Maryland), Nonie Darwish (UCLA and Berkeley), Wafa Sultan (Stanford) and radio talk show hosts Melanie Morgan (San Francisco State), Michael Medved (University of Washington), Martha Zoeller (Georgia Tech), Alan Nathan (George Mason), Mark Larson (to be named) and many others.

    With a speaking list like that, there’s only one recourse–get transcripts of everything they say, and then do the opposite of everything they recommend. We’ll solve all the world’s ills in six months.

  51. 51
    libarbarian says:

    So I have to wonder why some people are so very quick to point out some, to my eyes, relatively small technical and definitional differences between “Islamofascism” and “Fascism” but ignore the very clear differences between so-called “Islamic Fundamentalism” and the practice of actually stressing the “fundamentals” of the Quran?

    Why does improper use of “Fascism” annoy much more than improper use of “Fundamentalist”?

    ALSO:
    If they had never coined the term “IslamoFascism” and had used “Fundamentalist Islam” are you sure you would not be accusing them of using THAT term as a covert way of implying that “real Islam” was synonymous with terrorism? I remember one motivation for the coinage of the term “Islamofascism” specifically being to come up with a term that characterized groups like Al Queda while avoiding connecting “real Islam”, or the Fundamentals of Islam, with assholes who fly planes into buildings.

  52. 52
    Punchy says:

    The Week’s events will include speeches about Islamo-Fascism by prominent figures, including former Senator Rick Santorum (Penn State, Temple and UPenn), Sean Hannity (Columbia), Ann Coulter (Tulane and USC), Dennis Prager (UC Santa Barbara), Robert Spencer (Brown, Dartmouth, University of Rhode Island, and DePaul), Daniel Pipes (Northeastern and UPenn), David Horowitz (Columbia, Emory, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin), Michael Ledeen (Maryland), Nonie Darwish (UCLA and Berkeley), Wafa Sultan (Stanford) and radio talk show hosts Melanie Morgan (San Francisco State), Michael Medved (University of Washington), Martha Zoeller (Georgia Tech), Alan Nathan (George Mason), Mark Larson (to be named) and many others.

    Here’s what’s f’in amazing about that list–the East and West Coasts are supposed to be liberal, the Central States Conservative (with some exceptions). Yet, with few exceptions (OSU, Depaul, UM), all the schools holding speakers are EAST AND WEST COAST SCHOOLS.

    Shorter–it would seem their strength would be schools like Bama, Tennessee, Missouri, etc. Yet not one of those listed. Mostly liberal elites. Speaks volumes about how their message doesn’t even resonate here in the sticks. At all.

  53. 53
    Bombadil says:

    I remember one motivation for the coinage of the term “Islamofascism” specifically being to come up with a term that characterized groups like Al Queda while avoiding connecting “real Islam”, or the Fundamentals of Islam, with assholes who fly planes into buildings.

    As may be, but the word “Islam” is still front and center. What would you expect the outcry to be like if Timothy McVeigh and his ilk were labeled “Caucasianfascists”? Would that avoid connecting white folks in general to the assholes that bomb day care centers?

  54. 54
    Horselover Fat says:

    “what the fuck does “Islamofascism” even mean? Isn’t Islam a religion, not a government or even a government ideology?”

    they ask!

    It is equivalent to “kikeism” or “snapperism,” reifying a religious slur into supposed “ideology.” Only difference, it would be politically incorrect to accuse someone of “kikeism” – the preferred euphemism is “New York liberalism.”

  55. 55
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Here’s what’s f’in amazing about that list—the East and West Coasts are supposed to be liberal, the Central States Conservative (with some exceptions). Yet, with few exceptions (OSU, Depaul, UM), all the schools holding speakers are EAST AND WEST COAST SCHOOLS.

    That’s because those dirty liberals with their “education” are the ones who most need to hear the oh-so-enlightened ramblings of, say, Senator Man-on-Dog.

    I do, however, take exception to Coultergeist speaking at Tulane. Hasn’t New Orleans suffered enough already?

  56. 56
    libarbarian says:

    I doubt it will be influential, but Hitchens defends the term here

    I have ixed feelings on Hitchens but he makes some good points (I think):

    On Religion:

    It was once very common, especially on the left, to prefix the word fascism with the word clerical. This was to recognize the undeniable fact that, from Spain to Croatia to Slovakia, there was a very direct link between fascism and the Roman Catholic Church.

    Nation-State & Racism:

    As to the nation-state, al-Qaida’s demand is that countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia be dissolved into one great revived caliphate, but doesn’t this have points of resemblance with the mad scheme of a “Greater Germany” or with Mussolini’s fantasy of a revived Roman empire?

    Technically, no form of Islam preaches racial superiority or proposes a master race. But in practice, Islamic fanatics operate a fascistic concept of the “pure” and the “exclusive” over the unclean and the kufar or profane….In the attempted destruction of the Hazara people of Afghanistan, who are ethnically Persian as well as religiously Shiite, there was also a strong suggestion of “cleansing.” And, of course, Bin Laden has threatened force against U.N. peacekeepers who might dare interrupt the race-murder campaign against African Muslims that is being carried out by his pious Sudanese friends in Darfur.

    Are they the same? No.
    Are they so different that we can dismiss any parallels? I’m not sure, but right now I lean to “no” as well.

  57. 57
    Punchy says:

    “snapperism,”

    Is it wrong to be laughing hysterically at this, or have I just offended someone (a snapper?) by admitting so?

  58. 58
    LITBMueller says:

    Why does improper use of “Fascism” annoy much more than improper use of “Fundamentalist”?

    Because righties use fascism to try and get people to wet their pants. Intentionally confusing Muslim terrorists with Nazis is an attempt to get the more gullible among us to think Osama commands a great army that is poised to sweep across the globe like Genghis Khan!

    Plus, the terms is designed to get people to support war and violence. You don’t arrest fascists, you fight them! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! Whereas simple terrorists are criminals who must be found, captured, and tried so they can either pay for their crimes or stopped before committing them.

    Words have meaning. And, guys like Horowitz betray their true intent with the words they choose, as well as the words they try to spread across the country like an advertising campaign for Volkswagen.

  59. 59
    Wilfred says:

    Libarbarian, quickly:

    1) Fascist, Catholic connection – sure, especially in Action Francaise, but in all cases specifically because fascism emerged as a reaction to Marxism/Communism – common enemy, not causal.

    2)So? What about the United States, Nato, etc. The longed for caliphate is the Dar as-Salaam that already existed. It is a case of Islamic revivalism not pie-in-the-sky crypto-Imperialism. if was a non-secular, anti-colonial pan-Arab nationalist project, would anyone be likely to support it?

    3)The last is absurd; Hitchens must have been drunk when he wrote it. How about trying out the formula “Technically this but practically that”, substituting your own this and thats from any religion, country, political philosophy – you can try it as a drinking game.

    Fascism is a word of power, usually hissed out by frustrated undergraduate who don’t do their work or emo adolescents bemoaning the unfairness of life. It has a specific cultural-historical ground that is not Islamic. Period. By the way, try Hitchens’ formulaic approach with Zionism.

  60. 60
    NickM says:

    The term “Islamofascism” annoys me because the word is meant to be used as a political bludgeon, not as a tool for thought. It’s like any Orwellian term – it’s meant to control thought rather than aid it. You can call Al Qaeda a lot of things – death cultists, fundamentalists, extremists, theocrats – all of them useful descriptors. But calling them fascists no more fits than calling them falangists or Marxists. The term is used more for its political resonance than because it accurately describes reality.

    I also think that the term is used by people who would like to discredit Islam generally. I understand that Islam has its unsavory elements, but there’s something about “Islamofascists” that seems similar to me to insisting on calling abusive priests “Christopederasts.” Even if it was correct in some techinical sense it taints any attempt to discuss the issue.

    Hitchens is smart and writes well but he’s clearly just defending his new party line in the above-cited article. Not surprising that this student of Orwell isn’t above a little Orwellianism himself.

  61. 61
    Jon H says:

    As a Drexel alumnus, I can only ROFLROFLROFL at the idea of a political event on campus.

    Drexel’s far more oriented towards careers and partying.

  62. 62
    Tim F. says:

    I have ixed feelings on Hitchens

    I don’t. In all respects Hitchens strikes me as an angry, bitter drunk whose facility with words hides a vast wasteland of intellectual vapidity and empty egoism. His writings on religion are just as contemptible as his writings on war, politics and any other topic.

  63. 63
    Jake says:

    Apparently, all it takes to be listed as a participating school is for a single conservative student to email Horowitz and say “I’d like to do that on my campus.”

    Not too surprising if you take a few moments to wonder about the fricking logistics of running any type of event at this many locations in such a narrow time frame.

    Can’t these doofuses do one thing right?

    They have the “Look at me, I’m a blithering jackass!” act down pat.

  64. 64
    dslak says:

    I have to wonder why some people are so very quick to point out some, to my eyes, relatively small technical and definitional differences between “Islamofascism” and “Fascism” but ignore the very clear differences between so-called “Islamic Fundamentalism” and the practice of actually stressing the “fundamentals” of the Quran?

    Because the word ‘fundamentalist’ has its origins in a particular Christian movement in the US, which published a list of teachings called “The Fundamentals,” and described themselves as ‘fundamentalists’ thereafter.

    Eventually, ‘fundamentalist’ just came to mean Christians who were overly zealous, and then it was applied to overly zealous people in other religions. That’s why, despite the liberality of the “fundamentalist” Muslims who only rely upon the Qur’an rather than the Haditha and other traditions, some of those who do rely upon them all (as well as Wahhabi thinkers, etc.) are called Islamic fundamentalists.

    We already had the word ‘Islamist’ for these people, anyway. ‘Islamofascist’ is just a new word for ‘Islamist’ coined by neocons who get off on comparing everybody they don’t like to Hitler.

  65. 65
    sglover says:

    I think that a life like that of Horowitz, marked by mad swings from one extreme to the other, strongly suggests some pretty deep emotional problems. Plus, he’s notoriously dishonest.

  66. 66
    libarbarian says:

    Fascism is a word of power, usually hissed out by frustrated undergraduate who don’t do their work or emo adolescents bemoaning the unfairness of life. It has a specific cultural-historical ground that is not Islamic. – Wilfred

    Because the word ‘fundamentalist’ has its origins in a particular Christian movement in the US, which published a list of teachings called “The Fundamentals,” and described themselves as ‘fundamentalists’ thereafter. – dslak

    We can’t call them “Fascist” because Fascism has a “specific cultural-historical” background that is not Islamic. But “Fundamentalist” ALSO has a “specific cultural-historical” background – 19th century American Christian – that is EQUALLY UN-ISLAMIC … but who here objects to the use of that term to describe 20th century Muslims from Arabia?

    I’m sorry but to me this still looks like the product of bias* and not the underlying facts of the matter.

    Why? Because most of the “specific cultural-historical” features are NOT really intrinsic to the phenomena itself. We would look at anyone who insisted that the term “fundamentalist” can only rightfully be applied to American Christians of that time as being intellectually straight-jacketed and overly particular about the characteristics that make up “fundamentalism” .. for example while Anti-Vatican sentiment and Anti-Free-Masonry were HUGE parts of 19th century fundamentalism, no one seriously suggests today that any group which doesn’t buy into conspiracies regarding the Vatican or Free-Masons is, on that account, not “fundamentalist”. We don’t see the anti-UN conspiracy-theories of some modern fundies as so different from the anti-Vatican or anti-FM ones that we cannot call them “fundamentalists” too.

    Feel free to disagree, but I think some of the insistence on what particulars makes a movement “fascist” or not are as misguided as insisting that any group called “fundamentalist” be expressly anti-Free-Mason. For example, some people have insisted “Fascism is anti-communism” but I think that is simply too specific. Fascism is elitist and based on the inherent superiority of some people over others … and it will oppose ANY system, not merely or even especially communism, which is predicated on the political equality of all citizens. Early 20th century Fascism’s special emphasis on anti-Communism, just like 19th century American Fundamentalisms special emphasis on anti-Free-Masonry, is a historical artifact of the circumstances of the time and not a special inherent feature that is timeless. Fascisms Anti-Equality is timeless but mere anti-communism is NOT!

    The term “Islamofascism” annoys me because the word is meant to be used as a political bludgeon, not as a tool for thought.

    The word IS often used that way but I’m not sure it was meant to be or that it cannot be “reclaimed” to mean something better, but obviously I’m in the minority here so I wont belabor the point past this message.

    *Basically it seems to me that the main objection to the term comes more from a dislike & distrust of the perceived motivations of the people who tend to use it than from an honest or consistent objection to use of imprecise language. Other terms, equally “off base” when judged by the same standards, are regularly used without objection. In addition, I regularly hear people who object use the word “islamofascist” use the word “fascist” to describe the current Administration. As much as I hate the practices of this administration, it is not really “fascist” (yet) either – but a lot of people “get the point” and don’t object to the term like they do when its “Islamofascism”.

  67. 67
    Wilfred says:

    Grappling with terms and definitions is a first and reasonable step towards understanding anything. I use the term Islamist to signify what is understood to be IF or fundamenalist, which in Islamic terms is a strange term because the religion is quite clear about what fundamentals are and are not.

    For Islamist, I follow Umar Faruq Abd-Allah’s definition, a description that makes sense to Muslims:

    “Islamist” should not be confused with “Islamic” or “extremist.” I use it to refer to various highly politicized twentieth-century revivalist movements with essentialist interpretations of Islam, generally advocating particular state and party ends as Islam’s chief or virtually unique focus. Islamists tend toward literalism but selectively retrieve the texts they follow, often contravening well-established interpretations within Islam’s scholarly tradition. As culturally predatory as they often are regarding traditional Islamic and modern humanistic culture, their general attitude toward culture entails the grave oversight of looking upon modern technology as “culturally” neutral without addressing its sociological underpinnings, especially the implications of the skills,
    assumptions, and expectations required to produce it.

    As always, there are degrees, but its placement in time, the 20th century, is critical to understanding it as a reaction to 20th ideologies like fascism and nationalism.

    The best term for Al-Q and the Taliban is revolutionaries.

  68. 68
    bago says:

    I really wish we’d elect people who can think out of the box on this issue.

    But that would require people with box cutters, and you know what that leads to.

  69. 69
    grumpy realist says:

    But NO ONE expects the Illuminati….

    Whenever I read Hitchins, I’m reminded of George Galloway’s description: “A drink-soaked ex-Trotskyite popinjay.”

  70. 70
    jake says:

    The best term for Al-Q and the Taliban is revolutionaries.

    What about murderous assholes?

    I have no problem with calling the Taliban regime fascist because that’s what it was. Why people need to stick Islam on there is what puzzles me. Try talking about Germanofascists or Italiofascists or even Myafascists and see how people react. (They all moved away from me on the Group W bench.) Used properly you don’t need to add modifiers because the word tells you all you need to know.

    By the same token, Al Quaida is a terrorist organization, period. Sure, they made up an interpretation of a religion’s holy writings that they say makes it absolutely necessary for them to kill … or send other people out to kill and get killed … (hmmm) but all terrorist organizations are just unusually violent cults, lead by psychos and fueled by sycophants.

  71. 71
    empty says:

    jake Says:

    What about murderous assholes?

    Well said! Terrorist assholes works too. Thugs, murderers, killers, … with such a long list to choose from why conflate them with a billion or so people by tagging Islam– to them? Of course you do get more syllables in with islamofascism. Sounds so much more erudite.

  72. 72
    tommy says:

    Reading through a typical rightwing blog or speech by 9/11-humping candidates like Giuliani you get the impression that they have no idea that al Qaeda is a Sunni movement that detests Shiites and secular Arab leaders as much as they detest us, that Zarqawi spent most of AQI’s energy attacking the Shiite community, that Iran and the Sunni Arab world view one another with thinly veiled hostility.

    Actually reading a typical right-wing blog is something you might want to try for a change. If you do, you’ll clearly see that the major concern with Iran isn’t some nebulous link to al-Qaeda but rather Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and what they might do with them.

    The idea that Israel and Iran shared a 20th century strategic arrangement that ranged from diplomatic refuge during the Holocaust to Israel intervening on Iran’s behalf during the hostage crisis has not and will never penetrate Horowitz’s pointy little head.

    The Holocaust occurred before the ayatollahs ruled Iran. Today, the regime in Iran host Holocaust denial conferences. Your argument is comparable to saying “Have we forgotten about x, y, and z as carried about by the Czar of Russia!” when the Bolsheviks are in power. Perhaps you can try getting that through your own “pointy little head.”

    For the record, I don’t think Iran isn’t nearly as much of a threat as the neoconservatives believe it to be and I certainly don’t think attacking Iran is a wise course of action. (We should be thinking about how to contain Iran over the long run instead.) However, I see little wrong in raising awareness about the brutalities committed by Islamic regimes or pointing to possible conflicts between Islam and the West. I also grow weary of the now standard liberal tactic of falsely characterizing others’ views and of hyperbolic leftist nonsense generally

  73. 73

    The best term for Al-Q and the Taliban is revolutionaries.

    No. Reactionaries.

  74. 74
    HyperIon says:

    I have mixed feelings on Hitchens

    I don’t. In all respects Hitchens strikes me as an angry, bitter drunk whose facility with words hides a vast wasteland of intellectual vapidity and empty egoism. His writings on religion are just as contemptible as his writings on war, politics and any other topic.

    don’t forget the accent. many amercians think a british accent equates to intelligence.

  75. 75
    Jon H says:

    “Try talking about Germanofascists or Italiofascists or even Myafascists and see how people react.”

    Or Catholifascists.

  76. 76

    […] Biology isn’t destiny. For chrissakes, there is more genetic diversity in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world combined. Lumping all black people into a single category reifies a phenomenon that doesn’t exist. It pre-validates the assumptions of morally reprehensible people who represent the tradition of intolerance and slavery. The only reason the category has any practical meaning is because every single American with African descent gets followed around at Macy’s. In the same way that it will thrill me when we stop validating extremist neocon frames with words like ‘islamofascist,’ I dream of the day when a ‘national conversation on race’ doesn’t perpetuate the wrong side of the argument by taking what should be disputed points for granted at the outset. […]

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  1. […] Biology isn’t destiny. For chrissakes, there is more genetic diversity in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world combined. Lumping all black people into a single category reifies a phenomenon that doesn’t exist. It pre-validates the assumptions of morally reprehensible people who represent the tradition of intolerance and slavery. The only reason the category has any practical meaning is because every single American with African descent gets followed around at Macy’s. In the same way that it will thrill me when we stop validating extremist neocon frames with words like ‘islamofascist,’ I dream of the day when a ‘national conversation on race’ doesn’t perpetuate the wrong side of the argument by taking what should be disputed points for granted at the outset. […]

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