Using the term “jihadist” to describe the Islamic State could lead to misunderstandings of Islam and even help the Islamic State recruit
Everyone, from Cameron to the news media, have adopted the term “jihadists” to refer to those who commit atrocities and justify it in terms of Islam, these include many groups from al-Qaeda to the Taliban to new groups such as the Islamic State.
However, this term is misleading and could not only encourage the belief that Islam is somehow inherently violent, or incompatible with international law, but also help these groups by implying that their actions are within the realms of the Islamic definition of jihad – which they are not…
…[W]e should not use the word [‘jihad’] to describe those that commit such atrocities. Not just because it is inaccurate but because it may help the group recruit.
As M Cherif Bassiouni notes, “Jihad is a powerful word in Muslim psyche – it evokes the legitimate self-defence struggle of the Prophet and his followers in the glorious days of early Islam”.
Says a writer called Abigail Watson.