As a would-be artist of English, the furor over the term “Islamofascist” provides me a welcome opportunity for analysis.
I’ve run across a couple of complaints about the term. My chum from the Dark Side of the Force, Barnum’s Baileywick, derided my use of “Islamofascist.” Eric Margolis, in a piece droolingly reproduced at the (worthless) Terrorism News site, claimed that the term was “meaningless” despite being a buzzword “among
Most of the people to whom Margolis refers are probably like me. Not realizing that the term is “meaningless,” we use it to refer to people who want to force on others a society completely run by Islamic leaders. Apparently that is not enough to give the word meaning.
Baileywick wasn’t quite as specific in his criticism.I decided to hunt up an opinion from a political authority.
The word fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini's, that exalts nation and often race above the individual, and uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition, engages in severe economic and social regimentation, and espouses nationalism and sometimes racism (ethnic nationalism).
Wikipedia, for what it’s worth, has an account that suggests that Maxime Rodinson, a Marxist, first used the term in association with the Iranian revolutionary movement in 1978.
Given the emphasis that regime places on religion, the term seems justifiable. At worst, it’s a bit unfair to Mussolini.