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Re: "T" Word-Yes, "F" Word-No
> Early on, there were commentators who said that the F word was far less
> accurate than "extremists" and others, but then the who thing just seemed to
> take on a "speak" of its own. And the mental linkage b/w (anything) Arabs
> or (anything) Muslims if it's not lifting up the image, is damning. The
> mind swings from transmitted images of "Fundamentalist Muslims" or "Muslim
> Terrorists" juxtaposed with pleas by the govt. to reach out and embrace the
> Muslim world.
I've always found the word "Fundamentalist", a term of Protestant
Christian theology coined in 1920, unhelpful in connection with
non-Christian religions. When reporters or analysts apply it to members
of a non-Christian religion, it doesn't communicate a clear designation
of that people's beliefs. I have to believe that Muslims themselves
would not use this word to designate the beliefs of the terrorists.
In the current crisis, some analysts have done better; they have found
what appears to be a more authentic religious label for Mr. bin Laden
and his guerrilla cohort. Stephen Schwartz' helpful article in The
seems to have caught on, as I've heard the term "Wahhabi Islam" used a
few times in the media to designate the sectarian-utopian movement that
broke from Sunni Islam, just happens to dominate Saudi Arabia, and
formed Mr. bin Laden. According to Schwartz, it also influences a
majority of US mosques.