What should we call the vile killers of London, Manchester, Fort Hood, Boston, Nice, and Paris?
For years, our leading politicians have danced gingerly around that question, preferring to call them simply “terrorists.” No modifiers.
That, I think, is not only an evasion.
It blocks a serious, honest discussion of the problem and the best ways to stop it and stop the killing of innocents.
Our language needs to distinguish clearly between those who murder in the name of Islam and those who follow the same religion peacefully.
Terms like Islamist, jihadi, Muslim extremist, or Muslim terrorist do distinguish. They are clear, accurate, and not overly broad.
They properly underscore the terrorists’ motives. They rightly exclude peaceful, law-abiding Muslims.
That separation is crucial because the fight to stop Islamic terror cannot be won without support from Muslim communities across Europe and North America.
It cannot be won with evasions and half-truths, either.