I’m certainly not the only one to notice that a good portion of the media has been having a tough time using the word “Muslim” lately. It used to be that you’d hear the media use the phrase “Islamic fundamentalist”, but this seems like it has given way to the unqualified “terrorist” or the even more abstract “terrorism”, where only the act of, say, a car bombing is important, not the fact that it might have some sort of religious motivation.
I suppose the reason for this is that much of the media wants to avoid looking like they are tarnishing an entire faith it calling attention to a “bad element’s” connection to it. I can understand, and even sympathize, with this desire. After all, in its more peaceful forms, Islam is no dumber or dangerous than any other religion. I think, however, that the media are going about it all wrong and have a suggestion to help them out, first made four years ago in a drunken rant I wrote a few days prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. At the time, the suggestion was made as a strategy the government should adopt. I’m now thinking that I had the right idea but the wrong target back then.
The idea is fairly simple. Media outlets should start calling any Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group what it is: a cult. This instantly separates these groups from the types of Muslims the media is anxious to avoid offending. Plus, a “cult” is a physical group with a finite number of members and, therefore, is significantly easier to defeat than an abstract concept like “terrorism”.
I encourage everyone reading this to start using the c-word in reference to these fanatics.