US government agencies should avoid using religiously-charged terms like ‘jihad’, ‘sharia’, ‘umma’ and instead employ “plain-meaning” American English in their counter-terrorism discourse, a report by the Department of Homeland Security has recommended.
The Homeland Security Advisory Council report also recommended that the department focus on American milliennials by allocating up to USD 100 million in new funding.
It also urged greater private sector cooperation, including with Muslim communities, to counter what is described as a “new generation of threats to the Homeland related to the threat of violent extremism.”
The funds would be used for hiring experts and new social media programmes and technology to influence young people not to join terror groups, The Washington Free Beacon reported, citing the report.
Under the section on terminology, the report calls for rejecting use of an “us versus them” mentality by shunning Islamic language in “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) programmes, or CVE, the Obama administration’s euphemism that seeks to avoid references to Islam.
Under a section on recommended actions on terminology, the report said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should “reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain-meaning American English.”
Government agencies should employ, “American English instead of religious, legal and cultural terms like ‘jihad’, ‘sharia’ (islamic law), ‘takfir’ (apostasy) or ‘umma’ (entire Muslim community),” stated the June 2016 report by the Council’s countering violent extremism subcommittee.
The limits on counter-terrorism terminology outlined in the report are the latest sign of verbal censorship within government imposed by President Barack Obama. The president this week launched into an angry public denunciation of Republican critics of his policy of avoiding use of the expression “radical Islam”.
“The department’s CVE (countering violent extremism) efforts are an attempt to protect our nation’s young people from extremists who prey upon the Millennial generation,” the report was quoted as saying.
“The department must reframe the conversation to reflect this reality and design a robust programme around the protection of our youth, which must include predator awareness and an understanding of radicalisation. In doing so, our citizens will be better equipped for this threat,” it said.
The DHS report also called for avoiding a confrontational “us versus them” stance in public efforts to counter Islamic radicalisation, government programmes should use the term “American Muslim” instead of “Muslim American”.