Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006


It's the most contentious word that's almost never used, except in columns about how contentious it is. As the New York Times' William Safire put it, fascism "has become a word defining hate-based practices employed by a totalitarian regime or movement"; after tacking on "Islamo," the label has been used for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hizballah and/or Iran's Ahmadinejad. Muslims find the word insulting to their religion and even Bush recognized that the term isn't ideal — he said last year: "Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam." Stephen Schwartz, of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, says he was the first Westerner to coin the phrase, in September 2001, and that it's "neither a loose nor an improvised concept. It should be employed sparingly and precisely." Take that, Islamofacismfascists!