February 27, 2015 | Quote

Name Game

For those who demand a religious reference to the specific type of violent extremism sweeping the Middle East and North Africa today, the correct term is salafi jihadists, as detailed by Daveed Gartenstein Ross. Salafi jihadists are a minority group with a minority view; they want to return to their halcyon views of a pure 7th Century Islam, and they believe they have a religious obligation to do this by war.  The term “Islamic” extremism is not accurate, and the accurate term “salafi jihadism” is a mouthful, so experts use the term “violent extremism.” In 2005, when President Bush started calling the fray the “struggle against violent extremism,” liberal pundits were not pleased.  The phrase was “putting lipstick on a pig,” they claimed, trying to cover over the failures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a name change. Today it's the right wing that objects to the very same syllables, this time because it is Obama who uses them.  In social science this is known as cognitive bias, accepting information only from sources you like and dismissing information from disliked sources.

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