Let us take care of the language that we must use when we speak of the change that the Arab countries are experiencing; its misuse can turn against the Democrats there. Does it make sense to keep calling the Arab Democrats insurgents? Wouldn’t it be more correct to describe them as “democrats” and as a “democratic movement”? At first it was logical, but it is time to change the pace.
The world is divided between those of us who opt for modernity and those who do so for feudalism, fundamentalist and neoliberal thoughts included among the latter. The real “war of civilizations” is that.
Language was invented to be understood; and written language, to understand each other on paper. The misuse of the word only creates confusion, as happens with the vocabulary related to Islam:
Islam : Set of men and peoples who follow this religion.
Islamic : Belonging to or relating to Islam.
Islamism : Set of dogmas and moral precepts that constitute the religion of Muhammad.
Muslim : Who professes the religion of Muhammad, and also belonging to or related to Muhammad or his religion.
Arabic : Belonging to or relating to the Arabic-speaking peoples.
And, attention !:
Islamist : Belonging to or related to Muslim fundamentalism and, also, a supporter of said movement.
In other words, you can be a Muslim, but you cannot be an Arab; How can you be Catholic and not be Spanish or Mexican. And, on the contrary, one can be an Arab and not be a Muslim; how can you be Mexican, Spanish or Chinese and not be Catholic. And we go on. You can be Islamic and not be an Islamist (fundamentalist), as you can be an Islamist and go against the rest of the Islamic world, just as you can be Spanish and not be a Spanishist, or be a Spanishist and go against the rest of the Spanish people.
Islam lives all over the world, not just in Arabic-speaking countries; and Islamists are also all over the world, but they only represent fundamentalism, what in the West we would call the violent extreme right or violent extreme left, whichever you want, because it is the same.
Of course, everything that is terrorism is Islamist, that’s why bin Laden’s terrorism is Islamist and not Islamic (there is no Islamic terrorism).
The value of each word should be respected, otherwise it creates confusion and causes discomfort among people who, inadvertently, are offended by it. For example, when you write “the Islamic terrorist group” instead of “the Islamist terrorist group” you are offending all people with a minimum of knowledge and, especially, Muslims who are opposed to the attacks and fundamentalism in general. , by putting them in the same bag.
If those who should know their meaning already misuse these words, imagine the misunderstanding of the readers, who do not have to know by heart what the precise word is. I want to say that most readers interpret the same Islamist as Islamic, hence the effort of communicators should not remain, only, in the correct use of words, but must go further, especially when it comes to headlines relating to Islamist terrorism. For example, instead of heading “Islamist terrorism” or “Islamist group”, we can say “Al Qaeda terrorist group”, or simply “Al Qaeda”, or whatever name of the group it is; everyone knows that they are fundamentalists and it does not create the confusion of the word Islamist.
Let us help the Arab democrats also by speaking.
- Cairo, February 3, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. by Nasser
- Egypt: The spark, the wick and the powder keg by Antoni Gutiérrez-Rubi
- A New Middle East by Jean Daniel
- Europe, further to the right by Carles Navales