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Crib Sheet: “Islamofascism”

Debunking a Conservative Smear Tactic

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In the days following 9/11, Americans across the ideological spectrum united in support of increased protections against terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. But a handful of conservatives used the attacks to promote division among Americans and their allies abroad. For example, conservative writer Stephen Schwartz employed the term “Islamofascism” in a Weekly Standard article to describe the ideology of America’s enemies in its newly minted “war on terror.” Unfortunately, the moniker stuck with many prominent conservatives. Right-wing pundits, policy makers, and journalists started using the term, and even President Bush has employed it to describe terrorist networks in the Middle East.

That’s a shame, because Islamofascism is a misleading and harmful label: Instead of correctly identifying America’s enemies, it inaccurately describes modern terrorism, wrongly demonizes Islam as a violent religion, and dangerously obscures America’s real national security threats.

Here are the top four reasons why conservatives should stop using the term Islamofascism, and an explanation of what ideas and policies they should be promoting instead.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or