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Muslim “Cleric”?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Throughout the American media a common mistake has been occurring over and over again when having discussions about terrorism. Often on cable news programs one will see as an invited guest a radical, extremist Muslim “cleric” invited to give his opinion. One particularly well-known “cleric” who has been a TV regular is Anjem Choudary from Great Britain. Well known in England for his extremist views, and becoming better known to Americans as a result of his appearances on a number of American cable news programs.


Considering the outrageous views people like Choudary espouse I can only surmise that the reason people like him are invited to appear is for purely a shock value. Since the venom normally spewed by these “clerics” is hate-filled, anti-Christian, anti-western, and patently offensive and obscene.

Routinely these individuals are referred to or described as a Muslim “Cleric”. According to the dictionary I resourced, a Cleric is defined as a “religious leader, someone who performs religious services or ceremonies”.

Taking it a step further in searching for a definition of “religious”, I found the term defined as “devout, pious, reverent, godly, God-fearing, churchgoing, faithful, devoted, committed, a religious person".

My question is why we continue to refer to people like Anjem Choudary and his ilk as “clerics” ? There is nothing religious about them. They spew hatred during their television appearances, and one would assume even more hate-filled pronouncements during the ‘services’ they conduct.

Just as I find it difficult to refer to some radical, fundamentalist “Christian” leader who preaches and promotes hatred against individuals or groups they oppose as a “Reverend”, I find it insulting when I see Muslim extremists such as Choudary given the title of “cleric”. It just doesn’t fit.

I certainly will admit to being guilty myself in the past of using “cleric” as a generic title when discussing these individuals, but I intend to make a concerted effort in the future to use terms which I believe are much more appropriate when referring to these types of individuals.


Perhaps “Unindicted Terrorist Spokesperson” might be fitting. Or simply calling them “Muslim Extremist Mosque Leader” seems a more appropriate description for what they really are. Either way, what they represent is something that is far from religious or holy.

Until the United States and the rest of the civilized world takes head-on the threats we face from extremist Islam, Muslim “Unindicted Terrorist Spokesmen” will continue to appear on television programs trying to justify the murder of innocents in the name of their perverted beliefs.

Spewing hatred “in the name of God” isn’t the work of a “man of God”, but instead the actions of pure evil. Evil which needs to be eradicated from the face of the Earth, not excused, ignored, or mollycoddled out of some sense of ‘political correctness gone mad’.

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