Islamo-Nazis: Picking the Right Words for the Public Debate

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 20, 2006 10:22 AM

Michael Medved suggests changing the terminology in the war in terror:

For instance, in recent weeks I’ve made a special point of using the term “Islamo-Nazis” to characterize Muslim fanatics, rather than the previously favored “Islamo-Fascists.”

The new coinage carries several advantages. First of all, the average American maintains much stronger images of “Nazis” than “Fascists.” No matter how historically illiterate he may be, every American knows that the Nazis were genocidal, sadistic maniacs, but he may not possess a clear idea of what the word “Fascist” even means.

Moreover, the Islamists of Al Qaeda and Hisbollah and the Mullah-ocracy of Iran promote grandiloquent dreams of world conquest that more closely resemble Hitlerism than the more modest domestic Fascism of, say, Mussolini’s Italy or Franco’s Spain.

Finally, it’s unmistakable that anti-Semitism of the crudest and cruelest variety formed the true, impassioned core belief of both yesterday’s Nazis and today’s Islamists; it’s no accident that Islamic leaders proudly circulate and republish “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and other Jew-hating classics, while recent film of Iran’s elite “Revolutionary Guard” in military review shows the sort of sky-high goose-stepping unseen since the salad days of the SS.

The term “Islamo-Fascist” sounds a bit bookish, complicated, even philosophical, but the phrase “Islamo-Nazi” carries unmistakable impact.