Quilliam has today published ‘Islamism and Language: How using the wrong words reinforces Islamist narratives’, the latest paper ins ‘Concept Series’ of publications.


‘Islamism and Language’ gives five examples of words and phrases which, if used carelessly, may inadvertently reinforce extremist and Islamist narratives, thereby helping the spread of intolerant and totalitarian political movements.





The terms discussed in ‘Islamism and Language’ are:







 – ‘The Islamic/Muslim World’




 – ‘Muslim countries’

 – ‘The Muslim Community’

 – ‘Islamic Law’

 – ‘Islamophobia’



The paper proposes alternatives which can be used instead to advance genuine understanding of issues relating to Islam and Muslims and to build greater cohesion and understanding within diverse societies.




James Brandon, co-author of the paper and Quilliam’s Director of Research, says:



‘Words and language play a key role in informing and shaping how people see themselves and world around them. Most people wouldn’t think twice about using terms like ‘The Muslim World’, ‘The Muslim Community’ and ‘Islamophobia’. As we show, however, careless use of such terms can actually risk reinforcing and popularising divisive Islamist narratives that fuel both terrorism and religious intolerance.



‘Our paper explains why such words and phrases can be problematic and proposes alternatives to use in their places. This is a practical step towards undermining the worldview and narratives that underpin the extremist modern ideology of Islamism.’



‘Islamism and Language: How using the wrong words reinforces Islamist narratives’ is available free online here.



‘A Brief History of Islamism’, the previous paper in Quilliam’s ‘Concepts Series’, is also available online here.



Quilliam’s Concept Series papers is intended to help policy-makers, media commentators and civil servants understand key issues relating to Islam and Islamist extremism.




For further information, please contact James Brandon, the paper’s co-author, at [email protected] or +44 (0)207 182 7286.