“Radical” is a Misleading Term

Saturday

LOTS OF PEOPLE use the word "radical" to describe devout, orthodox Muslims. I've always been bothered by that term because it is misleading. If a Christian prayed for forgiveness, or gave to charity, would you call that “radical?” If a Buddhist meditated every day, would you call that “radical?”

No, you would call them "practicing Buddhists" or just Buddhists. They are practicing the basic ideas of their faith.

Let's stop using the word "radical." Non-Muslims have been using it to avoid offending “non-radical” Muslims, but it makes our educational efforts more difficult because it gives the illusion that "normal Islam" is not "radical."

The idea that the "terrorists" have "hijacked" Islam is widespread and ultimately mistaken. The mistaken notion causes confusion when people begin to learn about Islam. The use of the term "radical" supports this confusion. Let's stop using it, even when talking to people who know very little about basic principles of Islam. Eventually they need to learn what's really happening, and the more people use misleading or confusing terms, the more difficult it will be for them to learn.

At least, that's what I think. Words are important. Let's try to use words that make things clearer, not more murky.

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