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EU to Remove "Islamic Terror" Term
BERLIN, April 11, 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - The European Union is set to remove derogatory terminology about Islam like "Islamic terrorism" and "fundamentalists" in its new lexion of public communication to make clear that terrorists are hijacking the religion, an EU official revealed on Tuesday, April 11.
"Certainly 'Islamic terrorism' is something we will not use ... we talk about 'terrorists who abusively invoke Islam'," the official told Reuters.
The official, speaking anonymously because the review is an internal one that is not expected to be made public, said the point of using careful language was not to "fall into the trap" of offending and alienating citizens.
"You don't want to use terminology which would aggravate the problem. This is an attempt ... to be aware of the sensitivities implied by the use of certain language," he said.
"It is to help us understand what we are saying and try to avoid making mistakes," he said of the lexicon, who is expected to be adopted initially in June.
EU counter-terrorism chief Gijs de Vries said that terrorism was not inherent to any religion, and praised Muslims for opposing attempts by terrorists abusing Islam.
"They have been increasingly active in isolating the radicals who abuse Islam for political purposes, and they deserve everyone's support. And that includes the choice of language that makes clear that we are talking about a murderous fringe that is abusing a religion and does not represent it," he told Reuters.
Omar Faruk, a Muslim British barrister who has advised the government on community issues, said there was a strong need for a "new sort of political dialogue and terminology".
"Those words cannot sit side by side. Islam is actually very much against any form of terrorism ... Islam in itself means peace," he said.
The widespread use of the expression "just creates a culture where terrorism actually is identified with Islam. That causes me a lot of stress," Faruk added.
The lexicon, which would set down guidelines for EU officials and politicians, will reconsider other terms like "Islamists" and "jihad," which is often used by groups like Al-Qaeda to mean a holy war against the infidels.
"Jihad means something for you and me, it means something else for a Muslim. Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself," said the EU official.
Acclaimed British writer Karen Armstrong wrote in the Guardian newspaper of Britain that the world jihad was stereotyped as merely meaning holy war.
"Extremists and unscrupulous politicians have purloined the word for their own purposes, but the real meaning of jihad is not 'holy war' but 'struggle' or 'effort'. Muslims are commanded to make a massive attempt on all fronts - social, economic, intellectual, ethical and spiritual - to put the will of God into practice," she wrote.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted in April last year a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that seeing Islam as a "monolith" and distorting its tenets are among the many practices that now make up the term Islamophobia.
"Too many people see Islam as a monolith and as intrinsically opposed to the West. Caricature remains widespread and the gulf of ignorance is dangerously deep," he said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest US Muslim civil liberties, has called for issuing an annual report on Islamophobia across the world on a par with the global anti-Semitism report.
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