The past quarter century has seen a breathtaking change in the linguistic perceptions of Islam in the Western World. It is my intention to chronicle some of those changes and note the implications.
Prior to the attacks on 9/11, most people viewed Islam as just another of the many faces of religion around the world. Largely centered in the mid-east and parts of Asia, it was of little concern to Americans. Then 9/11 struck with death and destruction, and Islam could no longer be ignored.
The words “Religion of Peace” were uttered at the highest levels of American government. The actions of a few violent Muslims could not be allowed to tarnish the rest. However, with each succeeding Islamic terrorist attack, the words “Religion of Peace” frayed at the edges and were often ridiculed.
Since proclaiming Islamic peacefulness no longer worked, a new word was needed. Thus arose “Islamophobia”. Anyone who voiced fear or anger or frustration when it came to Islam was branded “islamophobic”. Obama and his administration refused to use the words “Islamic terrorism” as that would have encouraged islamophobia. But even the word “islamophobic” began to lose its impact – primarily because a phobia is an unreasoned fear.
Since “religion of peace” is passé and “islamophobic” was beginning to describe the actual mindset of the citizenry, something else was needed. Thus arrived “fact of everyday life”. Islamic terrorism is no different than being struck by lightning, it just happens. This, of course, is a completely ignorant argument as terrorism is “a man caused disaster” while lightning is inherent in nature.
Is there a next set of words? I really don’t know, but I do know that Western European politicians and American socialists are desperate to suppress concerns about the connections between Islam and violence. (In this they remind me of the totalitarians and oppressive dictators of the 20th century.)
As I write this article, the British are in the process of cleaning up a murderous ISIS inspired attack in Manchester, UK. Dozens upon dozens of children were injured and killed at an Ariana Grande concert. It was a bomb filled with nails that did the damage. What are the new words to use? I have none.