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EU draft calls to reject ‘Islamic terrorism’ term
BRUSSELS — European governments should shun the phrase “Islamic terrorism” in favor of “terrorists who abusively invoke Islam,” say guidelines from EU officials.
Backed by diplomats and civil servants from the 25 members of the European Union, the officials are drafting a “non-emotive lexicon for discussing radicalization” to be submitted to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other leaders in June.
The Brussels officials hope the new lexicon, which would not be legally binding, would be adopted by governments and other EU institutions, such as the European Commission and European Parliament.
An EU official said: “The basic idea behind it is to avoid the use of improper words that would cause frustration among Muslims and increase the risk of radicalization.”
Along with civil servants from the British Home Office, the officials have reviewed the effect of terms such as Islamist, fundamentalist and jihad when describing acts of terrorism and murder.
“Jihad means something for you and me; it means something else for a Muslim,” said EU officials at a Berlin conference on radicalization. “Jihad is a perfectly positive concept of trying to fight evil within yourself.”
Though British officials have been involved in drawing up the lexicon, Whitehall sources indicated that the government was unlikely to adopt it wholesale or heed any call to ban the term “Islamic terrorist.”
The lexicon is seen in London as more likely to be of use to continental governments with limited exposure to Muslims. A Home Office spokesman said: “We believe there is a balance to be struck between raising awareness of the impact that language can have and not letting extremism go unchallenged.”
The lexicon is being discussed only at a “working group level” but has the support of Gijs de Vries, the EU counterterrorism coordinator.
By Donald Lambro
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