The move towards censorship in the U.S. started under the second Bush administration. In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo containing recommendations from Muslim organizations that instruct Americans to avoid using words like "jihadist," "Islamic terrorist,'' "Islamist" and "holy warrior.” When referring to Muslims, words like “mainstream,” “ordinary,” and “traditional” should be used instead of terms like “moderate.” The “War on Terror” is to be rephrased as “a global challenge, which transcends geography, culture and religion.” It is a “struggle for progress, over which no nation has a monopoly.”
Earlier this year the FBI was ordered by the Obama administration to purge language from its manuals, and subsequently removed more than 700 documents and 300 presentations from training materials. All federal law enforcement agencies were ordered to eliminate the words “Islamic terror” from their training manuals. The Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review and the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review were revised to eliminate the words “Muslim” and “Islam.” Mentions of al Qaeda were replaced with “global violent extremism.”
The U.S. military handbook “Culture Cards: Afghanistan & Islamic Culture” was revised last year to censor anything perceived as negative towards Islam. In the 2011 version, incest in Islam is described as just a different variety of culture; “In some traditionally Islamic Middle East cultures the preferred marriage pattern has been to marry one’s father’s brother’s daughter.” The handbook begins, “Culture is about how people perceive reality. It may not fit the true facts or history.....Soldiers must not let personal prejudices cloud their judgment.” The handbook is full of morally relative statements like, “Norms are not rigid and may be ignored with only minor repercussions.” It concludes by asserting that a “culturally literate soldier” “appreciates and generally accepts diverse beliefs, appearances and lifestyles.”
Another military handbook for troops deployed in Afghanistan, entitled “Small-Unit Operations in Afghanistan,” instructs soldiers to pray with Muslims if they say a prayer and to avoid saying anything derogatory about Islam. A proposed new draft of the handbook goes even further. It warns American soldiers not to speak ill of the Taliban, advocate women's rights or criticize pedophilia. It suggests that Western ignorance of Afghan culture - not Taliban infiltration - is responsible for the increase in deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces. "Many of the confrontations occur because of [coalition] ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms, resulting in a violent reaction from the [Afghan security force] member.” Yet even Afghan leaders admit that Taliban infiltrators are responsible for most insider attacks.
Some of the censorship received mainstream media coverage after a Muslim army officer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, killed 12 fellow soldiers and an army civilian in a shooting spree on November 9, 2009 at the Fort Hood military base, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he opened fire. The 86-page Army report about the incident never mentioned the words “Islam,” “Muslim” or “jihad,” that Hasan was Islamic, or that he had publicly proclaimed anger over America's wars in Muslim countries.
The Obama administration does not want to acknowledge that we are at war with radical Islam, for fear it will tarnish all Muslims. But hiding the truth and keeping Americans ignorant will not make us safer. With the rise in violence related to Islamic extremism, it makes more sense to learn and understand more about why these outbreaks are increasing, not shove them under the rug. It is possible to speak of the link between radical Islam and terrorism, while clarifying that most Muslims are not extremists prone to violence.
Sadly, those who dare speak up and condemn the censorship, like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and radio talk show host Jan Markell, are ridiculed. Whatever happened to free speech? Where is the ACLU, which claims to champion our constitutional rights? Acquiescing to radical Islamic demands is allowing the proverbial camel's nose to come into the tent, allowing the U.N. to infiltrate our country and supersede our constitution. By manipulating language, the Obama administration is controlling the thinking of how Americans view terrorism. American values and culture are being annihilated in favor of global nonjudgmentalness and the appeasement of those who blame America first, one word or phrase at a time.