Tonight in his address to the Republican National Convention, Giuliani criticized Democrats for refusing to use the term “Islamic terrorism”:
GIULIANI: For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the term “Islamic terrorism.” I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe they will insult someone. Please tell me, who they are insulting if they say, “Islamic terrorism.” They are insulting terrorists!
Not surprisingly, Giuliani also said he wanted Democrats to invoke the 9/11 terrorist attacks more often. Watch it:
Experts, including those in the Bush administration, disagree. The issue goes beyond just “insulting” someone. Such religious rhetoric is actually counterproductive in combating terrorism:
– Department of Homeland Security: U.S. officials may be “unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims.”
– National Counter Terrorism Center: “Avoid labeling everything ‘Muslim.’ It reinforces the ‘U.S. vs. Islam’ framework that Al-Qaeda promotes. Be specific (Egyptian, Pakistani) and descriptive (South Asian youth, Arab opinion leaders), where possible.”
– Ret. Gen. John Abizaid: “I mean, even adding the word Islamic extremism, or qualifying it to Sunni Islamic extremism, or qualifying it further to Sunni Islamic extermism as exemplified by government such as Bin Laden, all make it very, very difficult [to fight terrorism] because the battle of words is meaningful, especially in the Middle East to people.”
– Islamic Society of North America: “If it’s not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are.”
Railing against “Islamic” extremists and terrorists is one of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) favorite talking points as well. “Senator McCain refers to it that way because that is what it is,” campaign adviser Steve Schmidt said in April, defending the rhetoric.