Word Magic

I have updated this post because it was, in fact, misleading.

I suggested it was a mistake to call IS or ISIS ‘the Islamic State.’ This accidentally does do several regrettable things:

  • creates the implication that an Islamic State, or caliphate, actually exists. Problem: a caliphate does actually exist, and it is very dangerous.
  • upgrades a pretty rough terrorist organization to sound like a country. Problem: in their minds, they legitimately are a country.
  • conflates one fanatical group of, apparently, wonton killers to be thought of as representative of Islamic thought, culture, and viewpoint. Problem: for a specific subset of Islamic thought, they are de facto representative. All their literature confirms this.

What would I suggest? Here are some ideas.

Whenever the settlements in Palestine are mentioned as being considered illegal by most of the countries of the world, words are always added to say, ‘but Israel disputes this.’ We could do a similar work-around in referring to IS.

We could always precede ‘Islamic State’ with a downgrading phrase, such as ‘self-proclaimed but not universally supported.’  Maybe something like this:

Fighters from the self-proclaimed (but not universally supported) ‘Islamic State’ did …. whatever they did or experienced.

Even ‘so-called’ or ‘self-named’ would be better than simply using ‘Islamic State.’

Given that every single reporting of Palestinian settlements by Israel, every single one, has always included ‘but Israel disputes this,’ I’m sure journalists worldwide could agree to report Islamic State in the manner suggested here.

Let’s not dignify them by pretending that they are typical, leading Islamic persons, and let’s not dignify them further by assuming they have formed a ‘state’ simply because they call themselves such.

Problem: as long as the caliphate is successful, members of its belief system are obligated to go there and help it succeed. The caliph is obligated to expand his territory, with a campaign at least once a year. Sharia Law is to be enforced within that territory.

There is more on this topic on this blog entry. Have a look, and click through to the Atlantic Magazine article.

Sorry for this update. I think I’ve fixed your perceptions now. eh?

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