Etymology of 'Islamism'

"The real utility of the term 'Islamism' is that it can be applied to any person, position, value, or policy that one wishes to smear as vaguely fascist or fundamentalist."

Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, Arjun Appadurai questions the emerging use of the term 'Islamism' and 'Islamist': "The suffix 'ism' in this case is clearly not intended as a compliment. If you consult any word list on Google, it becomes clear that Islamism is a label for any variety of Islamic thought or action that can be judged to be inappropriately politicized, with the exemplary case being political violence. So I began to think about the suffix 'ism' more generally. On the one hand, it is clear that what those who deploy the word Islamist in their polemics intend to convey is a link to the dark twentieth-century 'isms,' namely, fascism and communism. In fact, the more rabid voices in these debates have helpfully spelled out this sub-text in the rancid term 'Islamo-fascism.'"

Related Articles

A controversial theory claims past, present, and future exist at the same time

Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.

Back to the Future.
Surprising Science
  • Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
  • Time travel may be possible.
  • Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
Keep reading Show less

Six disastrous encounters with the world’s most hostile uncontacted tribe

From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.

Culture & Religion
  • Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
  • But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
  • Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
Keep reading Show less