More vocabulary: extremism, Islamist

Let us consider some vocabulary that has been put out in the news of the last few years.

Islamist: Exactly what is an Islamist? At some point not too long ago, the spelling Moslem was an acceptable expression, further still, was the expression ‘Mohammedan’ was a label for a Muslim. At no point, however, were these terms explicitly loaded with a negative import. Islamist seems to define a terrorist who acts supposedly in the name of Islam. Whether such people do so in the name of a religion is another issue, but what I want to point out is how it seems odd, perhaps even rude, to make a word almost seem that it is criterial to being a Muslim that one has an ‘extreme’ point of view. Would we have a Hinduist or a Jesusan to describe terrorists of those respective religions? I think not.

Extremist: To be extreme, means what? A deviant view? A far right, or far left political point of view? Who is to say whether something is extreme or not? Is it extreme, for instance, to believe that mathematical knowledge is empirical? (I think so) Is it extreme to be sexually promiscuous? (Perhaps, but it seems onthe borders of acceptability at its best). A view that is classed as extreme is done in such a way that seems to assume that our point of view has a greater validity without really addressing the nitty gritty issues of rights, duties, or arguments.

Calling something extreme seems a prima facie dismissive act.

(Antisophie and Sinistre*)

One thought on “More vocabulary: extremism, Islamist

  1. Islamist is truly absurd. If we can have that, though, can I have Scienceist or Scientistist? He he! 😀

    “Calling something extreme seems a prima facie dismissive act.”

    …if you conveniently forget about “extreme sports”. 🙂


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