imageFirst there was Islamism, which was defined as belief in Islam as a political system.

Then there was Islamofascism, which was defined as the belief in Islam as a violent system of repression which, despite having nothing to do with fascism, was a fun little concatenation.

Now, several years later, the people who keep renaming Islamic terrorism other things that are harder to understand have come up with the ultimate name for some jumbled idea of Islam being really bad.

And that name is..."Fascislamism".

Even if you can say it, you're still only five percent of the way towards understanding what it actually means.

It's Bernard-Henri Levy's word for that segment of the Muslim world that defines itself through support for political violence and oppression. In his forthcoming book Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, he has also unearthed a great quote from the journal of the writer Paul Claudel. From May 21, 1935: "Hitler's speech: a kind of Islamism is being created at the center of Europe . . . "

The comparison is apt: There is a universal dynamic at work, whenever a fetishization of the collective is allowed to gather steam.

So, it's actually the same word as Islamofascism, only more Hitlerized for public consumption. It's an understandable impulse - after all, our attention spans are so corroded by television that by the time you get to the "o", your audience's attention is on the next episode of Shear Genius. Tossing in fascism up from lets everyone know you're serious. May I also recommend the word "fascislamoslamism" should you be in front of an academic audience? No need to thank me.


Illustration by August J. Pollack, originally appeared in Campus Progress.