People have been using the term Islamofascist since 9/11. In my opinion, this is as accurate as the phrase German fascist, indicating a mixture of the peculiar traits of a national culture with the peculiar traits of fascist ideology. Now that Donald Rumsfield and George Bush have used the term to describe the threat we face from Iran and other Muslimn states, the term is considered politically incorrect, and various groups not concerned with the persistence of American values are trying to shame us away from the word.
That the word is accurate can be proven not only be correctly defining Islam as type of nation -- the umma, after all, is a national community -- and correctly identifying the traits of fascistic Islamic movements. It is also proven by the actions of those who wish us to stop using the word. By controlling the language, they wish to control our right to resist their incessant demands.
In Rosemont, Illinois, just outside Chicago and near O'Hare airport as well as my office, the Islamic Society of North America is holding a convention. Its newly elected female leader, Ingrid Mattson, is one of those people trying to purge "Islamofascist" from our vocabulary:
"But I think that when we then bestow that term upon them we only make the situation worse and somehow give validity to their claims which we need to deny and reject," she said at the opening of the group's 43rd annual convention.
To a point, she has a point. The terrorists to which she refers do claim authority over all Muslims, and it is perhaps wrong to indulge their claim by appearing to acknowledge its validity. To her credit, her demand we stop using the word is put in practical terms, and is free of the whiny victimhood that usually accompanies such demands.
However, to use a different word would be false. The Islamic community, as I noted, is a nation, perhaps even more than it is a religion. The terrorist movements within that nation are fascist in nature. To demand we ignore this fact is to demand we ignore reality. This perhaps is her real goal. It would make the demands her organization no doubt wishes to make on the rest of us more palatable. (For the record, I would say that any ethnic or religious group intends to make such demands, and that this is not peculiar to Islamic groups.)
I would be inclined to sympathize with her, were it not for the fact her group has invited a true totalitarian to speak to their assembly, with no acknowledgment whatever of the evil he represents:
The Islamic Society drew its own fire for inviting former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who is expected to address the convention Saturday.
"Khatami ... behaved as an enemy of America and our most cherished values," said Jay Tcath, vice president of the Chicago Jewish Federation in a statement. "It is disturbing that any American organization would honor him by providing such an important platform."
Tcath said American Jews remember "the egregious 1999 imprisonment and circus trial of 13 Iranian Jews on trumped-up charges of espionage for Israel," which happened under Khatami's presidency.
Mattson said the group hopes to show Khatami "how the American Muslim community has dealt with issues of religious freedom and tolerance and perhaps he can carry some of that message back."
Khatami, whose receipt of a visa was announced this week by the State Department, also plans to attend a U.N. conference in New York and to speak on religion's role in promoting peace at the Washington National Cathedral during his trip to the United States.
The persecution of minorities in general and Jews in particular on trumped up charges of treason is a hallmark of a fascist state. Iran is also an Islamic state, in fact referring to itself as the Islamic republic. If Mattson wishes to purge our language of the useful and descriptive term Islamofascist, she will have to stop indulging real Islamofascists herself.