Bush's 'Islamic fascist' remark flayed
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Bush's 'Islamic fascist' remark flayed

The United States President had said Islamic fascists would use any means to destroy those who love freedom.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 18:00 IST

President George Bush's remark blaming "Islamic fascists" for the foiled plot in London to blow up US-bound flights has caused a furore among American Muslim groups.

The plot is "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom to hurt our nation," Bush had said.

But fearing the term could inflame anti-Muslim tensions, Nihad Awad, executive director of the council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group, urged him and other public officials to restrain themselves.

"We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counterproductive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism," the leader of the largest American Muslim civil rights and advocacy group said at a news conference in Washington.

"We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims," Awad said, asking American officials to take the lead from their British counterparts who steered clear of using what he considered inflammatory terms.

In a letter to Bush, Parvez Ahmed, board chairman of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote, "The use of ill-defined hot button terms such as 'Islamic fascists,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire,' harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, particularly in the Islamic world".

There's nothing Islamic about fascism," said Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, "suggesting this only overpoliticises things in a way that does not accurately describe the criminal adversaries we face at the moment".

"It would have been far more accurate had he linked the situation to a segment of people rather than an entire faith, along the lines of, say, radical Muslim fascists," local media quoted her as saying.

First Published: Aug 11, 2006 09:23 IST