There was an interesting storm-in-a-teacup brouhaha last week that took place after the January 7th Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, between Rupert Murdoch and J.K. Rowling. Terrence McCoy, in his Washington Post January 12th article, “Why J.K. Rowling is so incensed about Rupert Murdoch’s tweet about ‘Moslems’,” wrote:
Aging conservative icon Rupert Murdoch has never had a problem lacing his Twitter account with provocative opinion….
On Sunday, Murdoch struck again. “Maybe most Moslems are peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible,” Murdoch declared. Then he dug his heels in. “Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US. Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.”
Murdoch’s tweet raised the hackles of numerous Muggles and mudbloods. Never mind that, overall, he was correct in his perspective. Observable facts and incontestable evidence must never get in the way of liberal/left and Muslim anger. Feelings, don’t you know, determine reality, and manufacture facts.
Enter Harry Potter to do battle with the evil media mogul.
One of people leading the outrage was author J.K. Rowling, who immediately took issue with Murdoch’s proclamation and let loose with a barrage of pugnacious tweets.
“I was born Christian,” she said. “If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate. … The Spanish Inquisition was my fault, as is all Christian fundamentalist violence. Oh, and Jim Bakker. … Eight times more Muslims have been killed by so-called Islamic terrorists than non-Muslims.”
Rather heated snoggery from someone whose political opinions are best presented in a refereed debate between Harry Potter and Voldemort. I’d like to ask Rowling what she defines as an “Islamic terrorist,” as opposed to a “so-called” one. Are they the little green Martians from Mars Attacks!, or boleadora-armed Argentine gauchos who lost their way on the pampas? Has Rowling a glimmering of the internecine conflict between Sunnis and Shi’ites? Sure, the two sects slaughter each other by the bushel-full, but I doubt her grasp of the butchery is anything more than hearsay from the liberal/left press.
But that squabble lead to McCoy’s brief disquisition on the differences in meaning of the terms Muslim and Moslem. One is offensive to Muslims, and one is not.
Those asides implied Murdoch had said something culturally insensitive, if not bigoted, when describing Muslims. But is the spelling “Moslem” bigoted, as commenters indicated on Sunday? Has Standard English evolved beyond “Moslems,” which was once as common as using “the Orient”? Or are “Muslim” and “Moslem” interchangeable?
The answer to those questions lay in the years following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when thoughts on “Moslem” changed rapidly, according to the book “Discourse Analysis and Media Attitudes: The Representation of Islam in the British Press.”
Instead, the British press employs the euphemism “Asian” to identify Moslems. Or Muslims. What have you. It was presumed that the Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Malaysians, Tibetans, et al. would not feel hurt or stereotyped.
But then, after Sept. 11, that lackadaisical attitude changed. “Muslim is preferred,” according to the United Kingdom’s Society of Editors. “People refer to themselves as Muslims. Many regard Moslem as a term of abuse, like people of African descent like being called negroes. Also avoid Mohammedan and Musselman.”
I shall make it a point of composition to employ Mohammedan and Musselman, if I remember them. Also “raghead,” “urban turban,” “whirling dervish,” and so on. I am not known for my delicacy of pen. I refuse to stand at the bar of any country’s society of editors.
“They specifically objected to the spelling Moslem, as they noted that it can be pronounced as ‘mawzlem,’ which is the Arabic word for oppressor,” according to “Discourse Analysis.”
The History News Network, hosted by George Mason University, agreed the roots of the word betray its prejudice. “Muslim” means Muslim. But “Moslem” means something entirely different. “Whereas for most English speakers, the two words are synonymous in meaning, the Arabic roots of the two words are very different,” the article said. “A ‘Muslim’ in Arabic means ‘one who gives himself to God,’ and is by definition, someone who adheres to Islam. By contrast a ‘Moslem’ in Arabic means ‘one who is evil and unjust’ when the word is pronounced, as it is in English, ‘Mozlem’ with a z.”
I would adopt the term Moslem from here on in, except that, from a coolly rational perspective based on causo-connections inherent in Islam, I see no difference in ideational content between the terms Muslim and Moslem and “Mawslem.” If a jihadist gives himself to God as he is slaying infidels and being slain in turn, then he is necessarily evil, unjust, and an oppressor. And good riddance.
Au contraire, Mr. McCoy and all those semantic bean-counters out there: From an Islamic terrorism standpoint, the terms are indeed synonymous and interchangeable.
This leads us to the demand of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that Fox News purge its anchors and guests of “Islamophobes.” Islam authority Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch reported on January 12th:
The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates, today included in its “American Muslim News Briefs” mailing an item entitled “CAIR Asks Fox News to Drop Islamophobes.” Most of it was made up of the usual smears, lies and distortions that Hamas-linked CAIR pumps out by the gallon. It also contained this:
“Fox News’ continued use of Islamophobes, such Steven Emerson and many others like him, only serves to harm the network’s reputation and to promote hostility toward Islam and ordinary American Muslims,” said CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor.
He said Fox News continues to utilize the nation’s most notorious Islamophobes and Islamophobia enablers — like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brigitte Gabriel, and Zuhdi Jasser — as regular commentators on issues related to Islam and Muslims.
Obviously, CAIR objects to what is said on Fox about the connections between Islam and the current onslaught of Islamic terrorism. It objects to anyone bad-mouthing Islam, especially when the “most notorious Islamophobes” have a strong national audience. It is not Argentine gauchos or crazed Amish who are attacking newspapers and murdering Jews. Not even by Westboro Baptist Church primates. It’s Muslims. Devout Muslims. Obsessed Muslims. Muslims wishing to be true to Mohammad and Allah and the Koran. Muslims who have pledged unswerving fealty to the fundamental premises and tenets of Islam. Activist Muslims. Muslims who have given their lives to Islam. Muslims who are walking vehicles of nihilism. Muslims who hate life as much as their victims and prospective victims love life. Muslims who love death – or non-existence – and who wish to ensure that no one exists who loves living.
I have not wondered long about the symbiotic relationship between secular politically correct speech and CAIR’s notion of the correct way by which to perceive, judge, and discuss Islam. CAIR wishes to impose its own style of political correctness and politically correct speech on Fox News (and on most of the rest of the news media, and has done so quite successfully). CAIR fears the language of the truth. CAIR knows that Megyn Kelly, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Brigitte Gabriel and others are not going to change their language or their outlook and positions on Islam and jihadists. So CAIR wants them off the air, so they can be neither seen nor heard.
Doubtless CAIR is encouraged by the news that President Barack Obama has promised to lean on journalists to stop producing anti-jihad (or anti-Islamic) news and opinion pieces that cast Islam (and Hamas-Brotherhood-connected CAIR) in a bad light, ostensibly to prevent more Charlie Hebdo type Islamic jihad.
CAIR wishes to convert Fox News into its own exclusive platform from which to propagandize Islam, to use it as its own vehicle of dawa, with the cooperation of a blinkered, compliant newscast and Islam-friendly guests who will explain why Islam is a “religion of peace” and “Islamophobes” are the mortal, hateful enemies of mankind. CAIR wishes to propagate its Big Lie about Islam unopposed.
See my two columns on politically correct speech and how it cleanses the mind of objectivity and clarity, warps or corrupts the evidence of one’s senses, subverts one’s intellectual honesty, and abets in the advancement of politically preferred speech and thought, “The Ghouls of Grammatical Egalitarianism” from from October 2013, and “Speechless Speech” from November 2010.
As Western-conceived, secular politically correct speech is honed to protect the feelings and sensitivities of others – and the list of groups, ideas, expressions, and behaviors to be protected or scoured of “bias” is long – Islamic correct speech is calculated to protect the feelings and sensitivities of Muslims and to insulate Islam from gross criticism (à la Charlie Hebdo) and cogent.
And there the twain between East and West meets in pernicious symbiosis.
Western politically correct speech;, a product of the West’s abandonment of reason, reality, and the ideas of the Enlightenment, empowers the CAIR-approved Islamic kind. Without that desertion, CAIR and its sister organizations such as the ICNA, ISNA, MSA, and a score of affiliated Islamic entities would never be able to make inroads in America.
You say Muslim. I say Moslem. But jihadists are not going to call the whole thing off.