Associated Press Stylebook Drops Islamist

Image source: Flickr user jrossol

Two days after the Associated Press announced it was nixing “illegal immigrant” from its influential stylebook, it’s also revising the meaning of the term “Islamist.”

The AP made the change Thursday after a push by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which said the term “has become shorthand for ‘Muslims we don’t like’” and “is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context.”

The AP only added “Islamist” to its stylebook last year, defined then as a “supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.”

The stylebook entry for “Islamist” now reads:

An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

CAIR celebrated the change on Friday, saying it would result in “fewer negative generalizations” in coverage of Muslims.

“We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims,” CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. “The key issue with the term ‘Islamist’ is not its continued use; the issue is its use almost exclusively as an ill-defined pejorative.”

Sam Nunberg, director of the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project, which pegs itself as a defender of the right to freely discuss the threat of radical Islam, called the AP’s reversal “shameful.”

“AP’s shameful decision to succumb to the Islamist is another shameful acquiescence to the West’s willful blindness on the Islamist threat,” Nunberg said in an email to TheBlaze. “The goal of all Islamists, whether militant or political, is to see a world ruled by Shariah [Islamic law]. The tactics of either flying airplanes into the World Trade Center or having Western countries succumb to Defamation of Religions are connected to that aim.”

Nunberg said Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal have all “scored a major strategic win.”

“AP is aiding and abetting America’s enemies,” he said.

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