Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek describing the latest fad by anti-Islamists to promote their semantic assault by using terms such as ‘stealth jihad’ from the same group which presented "Islamofacism" and "Axis of Evil".
The article argues that right wingers use the term:
“stealth jihad” in attempts to make the terrorist threat broader and thus more nefarious than it already is. The only thing scarier than an invisible, homicidal, suicidal enemy with a taste for world domination is one who’s sneaking up on you".
Miller quotes former White House speaker Newt Gingririch who accuses the Muslims of promoting ‘stealth jihad’ to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia.”
The term is the title of a two-year-old book by Robert Spencer, founder of the Stop Islamization of America group whose so called antiterrorist blog, Jihad Watch, is cited and dispersed widely on the far right. The latest controversy over the proposed building of the Ground Zero Mosque has apparently given the green light to Gingrich as an excuse to use freely the racist term “stealth jihad” and its variants including the offensive term "creeping sharia".
Not only has right winged Gingrich targeted Muslims and used offensive terms describing them he has also victimized their “Muslim Brotherhood operatives, accusing the likes of :
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the center’s founder and leader are extremely skilled at obscuring … their true agenda,” said Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy, on FOX’s Glenn Beck show. “It’s part of the stealth jihad.”
In fact the writer highlights that words matter, and :
"if you say them often enough and with enough authority, they start to sound true—even if they’re not. Abdul Rauf, for instance, has no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and is an“operative” (another nefarious word) only in the sense that running a small, progressive interfaith nonprofit is an “operation.”
The article emphasizes that logically “stealth jihad,” is in effect impossible to imagine such an event occurring.
Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California , Berkeley argues that the term ‘stealth jihad’ is ludicrous bringing to mind the anticommunist campaigns of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, stressing that:
"Just as McCarthyites imagined a communist behind every lamppost, the word “stealth” conflates all Muslims with terrorists. In a stealth campaign you never know who your friends are".
In short foreign terms freak people out and terms such as “Jihad” and “Sharia” emphasize the sense among Americans that Muslims in general have an unfathomable world view. Using the current mosque issue debate to induce many of America’s historic enemies, Gingrich compare’s Muslims in a roundabout way with Nazis, communists and the Japanese indicating in a recent interview on FOX that the Americans would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor.
The article ends with a call on Gingrich, the historian, to take a lesson after reminding him that after the attacks of December 7, 1941, resulting in a shameful episode of race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.
The author draws parallel with an incident last week, after a New York City cab driver was stabbed for affirmatively answering the question “Are you a Muslim?” citing that true enemies are dangerous; however it’s important to be clear about who they are.