I listen to public radio quite regularly for some excellent programs such as Fresh Air, This American Life from WBEZ Chicago, the Commonwealth Club of California, and many many more. I love public radio but as I am not a news junkie, I avoid news programs. However, at the top of the hour, many programs throw in a 4-minute long news update from NPR (National Public Radio produced in Washington DC), or the BBC in some cases. What I have noticed in these news bits is the mealy-mouthed equivocation when it comes to referring to the Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, and ISIL. In the news, they never call it “the Islamic State” but qualify it as “the self-proclaimed Islamic state.” Why they indulge in this silly idiocy is revealing.
Fun Fact: most, if not all, identifications are self-proclaimed. It is not as if entities are named by others. For example, the US is named the US because those who founded the US proclaimed it to be the “United States of America.” Therefore referring to the US as “the self-proclaimed United State of America” would be stupidly redundant and no one does it. Same goes for all other organizations: it is not “self-proclaimed Google” or “the self-proclaimed Commonwealth Club of California” or “the self-proclaimed University of Texas”, etc. They are all self-proclaimed.
The name of Islamic State is not unique in that it is self-proclaimed.
So is the “self-proclaimed” qualifier meant to imply that the IS has no legitimate claim to being a state or being Islamic? It seems to be so. Whether the IS is a state or not doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is whether it is Islamic.
The people of IS proclaim (that is they claim for themselves) that they are Islamic. They do not merely say that they follow the letter and spirit of Islam, they behave consistent with their professed belief by living like Muslims according to the Quran, and slaughtering those whom they consider non-Muslims just as Islam commands them. They are not being hypocritical. They mean what they say and say what they mean. When they say that they are Islamic, they are being Islamic.
They don’t say that they are Islamic and then demand that they be led by a pope. If they did that, there would be reason to doubt that they are Islamic. Instead they have constituted a “caliphate” — which one should remember is not a Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, etc., institution. It is an Islamic idea. Only Muslims (and the odd, pathetic camp-followers of Muslims such as Mohandas K Gandhi, the so-called Mahatama) support the caliphate.
There’s a bit of American folk wisdom that says, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck.” The IS passes the duck test. It looks Islamic, it lives the Islamic life, it kills the Islamic way. Muslims recognize that IS is Islamic. (Over 90 percent of Saudi Arabia consider the IS to be Islamic.) Muslims and only Muslims from nearly every corner of the world fight for the IS. Have you heard of a Buddhist, Christian, Animist, Pastafarian, Hindu or a Jew joining the IS?
The Islamic State is Islamic. Only morons will not be able to make that connection.
If the IS is not Islamic, I am afraid that the pope is not Catholic and the Dalai Lama is not a Tibetan Buddhist. Sure, the pope claims that he is the head of the Catholic Church and that he’s a Christian but seriously . . . we should be referring to the him as “the so-called pope of the self-proclaimed Catholic Church.” Sure, the Dalai Lama wears the robes of a Tibetan monk, lives his life according to the dictates of Buddhism, talks about it all the time but seriously . . . he’s just a “so-called Buddhist of the self-proclaimed Tibetan Buddhism.”
The qualifier “self-proclaimed” makes sense when an institution is something other than what it claims for itself. If an authoritarian state refers to itself as “a democratic republic” and no one really believes it to be either a democracy or a republic, it would be justifiable to call it “a self-proclaimed democratic republic.”
The stupidity of declaring the IS as the “self-proclaimed IS” is proclaiming stupefying political correctness. That PC is done partly by the fear of being branded “Islamophobic.” That word has been defined best by the Andrew Cummins (@Vodkaninja) as “a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.” (This line is misattributed to Christopher Hitchens.)
I can imagine why some Muslims have a reason to deny that the Islamic State is Islamic. The IS’s Islamic acts of senseless violence and mayhem starkly reveal the brutal nature of Islam. They would like you to believe that the IS is not Islamic and the people in the IS are not true Muslims. Their refusal to admit that reality is what is commonly referred to as the “No true Scotsman” fallacy. The British philosopher Antony Flew explained the fallacy in his 1975 book:
Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton (England) Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen (Scotland) man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion, but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says: “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”. [Wiki.]
Like those Muslims who insist that IS is not Islamic, there are the politicians who are being . . . what’s the word . . . ah, politically correct. That’s just plain old-fashioned meretriciousness befitting of politicians. (Just to be sure, the big dic defines meretricious as “of or relating to a prostitute; having the nature of prostitution.”) But why do so many non-Muslims, such as those in the news business in the BBC, advance the notion that the IS is not Islamic?
The BBC is biased and predictably pro-Islam, a fact well-documented in the wiki. What about the American organizations such as NPR and PBS? They are heavily left-leaning. Part of the leftist agenda is to promote the idea that Muslims are victims and that Islamophobia is just another indication of the persecution of Muslims by non-Muslims.
(I was about to write “evil non-Muslims” when I realized that it would be redundant since non-Muslims are evil by definition according to Islam. And to not consider non-Muslims to be evil would amount to Islamophobic. So there.)
Anyhow, in a sense I am glad that they do use the “self-proclaimed IS” nomenclature. It reminds me that I should treat their reporting with a great deal of skepticism and discount their analysis related to the constant Islamic atrocities.