August 17, 2006
Just say the word
No, not Sussudio. I mean “Islam”, or “Muslim”, or derivations thereof.
I checked in with the Bundesministerium des Innern (the German interior ministry), as I am sometimes wont to do, and read a press release about their renewed efforts to combat terrorism. The release was issued jointly by them, the Brits and ministers of a few other EU countries. You can see the Home Office’s recap here.
Neither the BMI’s nor the Home Office’s release mentions the word “Islam” or “Muslim” or “Mosque” or “Imam”. The latter two would have been particularly relevant because the ministers insist they will be working hard to get at the roots of radicalization and recruitment. According to the BMI release, the Finns (current holders of the EU presidency) will begin a process of regular meetings of experts to investigate the causes of radicalization. This will include exchanging experiences with radicalization in various environments such as prisons and places of worship.
I can help them along. They don’t even need to call a meeting with me or issue any press releases thereafter. Here goes:
- The terrorism you are combating is not some sort of general phenomenon. It is Islamist.
- Radicalization occurs within muslim communities.
- The radicalizers are muslims.
- The radicalizees are usually already muslims, or they convert to islam.
- Focus on muslim communities.
- I repeat, focus on muslim communities.
- It’s okay to admit that you are focusing on muslims. We already know you are doing it, or at least we certainly hope you are. If you are not, you are not doing your job.
- By “focus” I don’t mean kow-tow. I mean investigate.
At least the EU’s official Counter-Terrorism Strategy document (PDF) does mention “Islam” one time amongst its 14 pages. And it refers to Al Qaeda as follows:
This strategy focuses on countering radicalisation and recruitment to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the groups it inspires, given that this type of terrorism currently represents the main threat to the Union as a whole.
“This type” means “Islamist”. But, as the counter-terrorism strategy also notes, one of the EU’s goals is to develop a “non-emotive lexicon for discussing the issues.”