Islamism or Islam?—Islamist or Islamic?

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan (with his colleague, Iranian President Ahmadinejad): “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it”

 During the autumn of 1843, in the heart of Istanbul, Turkey, Sir Henry Layard, the British archeologist, writer, and diplomat, witnessed the punishment mandated by the Shari’a, i.e., Islamic Law for apostasizing from Islam. He described this abhorrent spectacle as follows:

 “An Armenian who had embraced Islamism [emphasis added] had returned to his former faith. For his apostasy he was condemned to death according to the Mohammedan [Islamic] law. His execution took place, accompanied by details of studied insult and indignity directed against Christianity and Europeans in general. The corpse was exposed in one of the most public and frequented places in Stamboul [Istanbul], and the head, which had been severed from the body, was placed upon it, covered by a European hat.”

 Layard’s narrative demonstrates how in mid-19th century parlance, “Islamism” and “Islam” were synonymous, and meant to be equivalent to “Catholicism,” “Protestantism,” and “Judaism”—not to “radical” or “fundamentalist” sects of any of these religions.  Moreover, through at least the mid-1950s, scholars devoted to the formal study of Islamic doctrine and history were still referred to as “Islamists.”

 Turkey’s current Prime Minister Erdogan, commenting in August, 2007 on the term “moderate Islam,” frequently used in the West to describe his ruling political party, the AKP, stated, “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” Erdogan’s displeasure is ironic, even somewhat humorous, given the contemporary Western apologetic obsession to recast the terms “Islamism,” and “Islamist,” to denote, exclusively, “radical” or “immoderate” Islam, and its adherents. But the irony of Erdogan’s ire aside, artificial distinctions between “Islamism” and Islam, “Islamist” and Islamic are logically incoherent, obfuscating irrefragable truths about living Islamic dogma, and its modern manifestations.

 The 1990 Cairo Declaration, or “Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam”—not Islamism—was drafted and ratified by all the Muslim member nations of the Organization of the Islamic—not Islamist—Conference (OIC), a 57 state collective including every Islamic nation on earth. The OIC, currently headed by Turkey’s Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, thus represents the entire Muslim ummah (or global community), and is the largest single voting bloc in the United Nations.

 Its preamble and concluding articles (24 and 25) make plain that the OIC’s Cairo Declaration is designed to supersede Western conceptions of human rights as enunciated, for example, in the US Bill of Rights. The preamble repeats a Koranic injunction affirming Islamic supremacism, (Koran 3:110): “Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which Allah made the best nation…” The gravely negative implications of this  Islamic Law (Shari’a)-based document (“There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Shari’a”) are most apparent in its transparent rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10, while articles 19 and 22 reiterate Shari’a principles stated throughout the document, which clearly apply to the “punishment”—death—for so-called  “apostates” from Islam.

 The Cairo Declaration—entirely consistent with Islamic Law—also introduces unacceptable discrimination against non-Muslims and women, while sanctioning the legitimacy of dehumanizing, Shari’a-compliant punishments, from flogging, to mutilation, and stoning.

 And polling data from a rigorously conducted survey released April, 2007 demonstrate the Cairo Declaration’s Islamic Law principles—antithetical to Western formulations of human rights—are embraced by the preponderance of the world’s Muslims. Fully 2/3 of a representative sample of 4400 Muslims from Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia desired the ultimate jihad conquest imperatives: to re-create a unified supra-national Islamic state, or Caliphate, ruled by “strict application of Shari’a.”

 These quintessential goals of jihad were reiterated by the mass murdering jihadist psychiatrist Nidal Hasan as part of an erstwhile “medical grand rounds” given on June 27, 2007. Although Hasan merely reiterates salient aspects of classical jihad theory (i.e., see slides 35, 39, 42, 43, 44, 45,  and 49), this reality is understandably “shocking” to our willfully uninformed elites in the media, military, and government. Nidal Hasan’s presentation concludes, in full accord with classical Islamic doctrine regarding jihad war, (slide 49), “Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please Allah, even by force is condoned by (sic) Islam.”

 Unapologetic observations from 1950 by a great 20th century “Islamist” scholar of the Shari’a, G.H. Bousquet, contextualize these ominous trends. Bousquet described Islam itself as “as a doubly totalitarian system,” which, “claimed to impose itself on the whole world and it claimed also, by the divinely appointed Muhammadan law…to regulate down to the smallest details the whole life of the Islamic community and of every individual believer.”

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at

2 responses to “Islamism or Islam?—Islamist or Islamic?

  1. The PM is absolutely correct… “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

    Islam is murder, hate and Nazism and that is a fact.

  2. Americans don’t understand the danger of Islam because most Americans are only vaguely religious. Most believe all roads lead to God and all religions have pretty much the same ideas about good and evil. Because religion doesn’t have much to do with how they think and act and because most people think other people are like themselves, the idea that someone would kill innocent people for an ideology is totally alien. So it’s ”He must have snapped!” & “He was a very troubled man” NOT! He’s a committed Muslim who was willing to go all the way with his faith. This thought is to scary for most to accept. It’s easier to believe that Muslims and terrorism have nothing to do with each other and we are fighting terrorism not Islam. They shout “Christian have been terrorists too!” & “look at the Irish”!
    S0me Muslims use politics instead of violence, and some do pretty much nothing, but the goal of Islam is the same – world dominion. If somehow Muslims became the majority in America, how may Muslims do you think would stand up and fight against the tyranny of Sharia and for American freedoms. How many Muslims are fighting for freedom in Muslim countries right now. No they would quietly concede and enjoy being superior. 9.123: O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil). Evil? That would be us.