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A Branding Analysis

Cheers and applauses fill the hall as the speaker mentions fighting “Islamic terrorism”. It’s election season and we can expect to hear the term “Islamic terrorism” repeated many times, especially after the recent events in Lebanon, Paris and then Orlando.

Every time the term “Islamic terrorism” is uttered it feels like an incongruence has been let out in the air. Something is inherently inaccurate about it.

Does the term Islamic terrorism imply that Islam mandates terrorism? Or does it signify that terrorism is done by Muslims? Or is the term used because groups like ISIS have the term “Islamic” in their title or claim to adhere to Islam or the shariah?

The reality is that ISIS is not the only one that claims to adhere to Islam or uses the term “Islamic” to represent itself. Many of America’s allies claim to do so as well. Here are some examples:

1. Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Pakistan, an instrumental partner of the U.S. in fighting communism in the Afghan-Russian war, not only calls itself an “Islamic” republic, but also mentions in its constitution,“Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan.”

2. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is yet another ally that calls itself Islamic and mentions in its constitution, “Believing firmly in Almighty God, relying on His divine will and adhering to the holy religion of Islam” with strict adherence to Islam as it further states, “No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan”.

3. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, an ally to the U.S. which was part of the U.S. led coalition in the Gulf War and now a partner in the fight against terrorism, in its Basic Law of Governance states that it is an Islamic State: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State”. It continues to mention that it follows the shariah, “The system of government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is established on the foundation of justice, “Shoura” and equality in compliance with the Islamic Shariah”.

4. The Republic of Iraq

Iraq, a country that serves as a partner to the U.S. in the Middle East, states in its constitution:

“Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of legislation:

A. No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam

B. No law may be enacted that contradicts the principles of democracy.

C. No law may be enacted that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this Constitution.”

5. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

“Islam is the religion of the State and Arabic is its official language” is Article 2 of the Jordanian constitution. Jordan is a country that has been an ally of the U.S. for over four decades.

6. The State of Qatar

Hosting American air and army bases, Qatar a U.S. ally, begins its constitution with Article 1 mentioning Islam and the shariah, “Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and the Shariah Law shall be the principal source of its legislation. Its political system is democratic. The Arabic Language shall be its official language. The people of Qatar are a part of the Arab nation.”

The nations above claim to be Islamic and follow the shariah without feeling any less “Islamic” than ISIS. Why haven’t their efforts and actions been labeled “Islamic” as it is done with the term “terrorism”?

Why not call the intelligence that we receive from these nations in the war against terror “Islamic Intelligence” or label the war that was waged against communism in the name of Allah “Islamic Liberation” or any cooperation we receive from these countries as “Islamic Cooperation”?

The selective use of the word “Islam” with violence and its lack of use in areas of compassion, love, civic engagement is very troubling. An unjust branding is being perpetuated.

According to an FBI report quoted by CNN, 94% of terrorist acts performed on U.S. soil were done by non-Muslims. Has anyone heard of the use of the terms “Latino Terrorism” or “Jewish Terrorism” or “Christian Terrorism”?


It should be recognized that terrorism emanating from Muslims is being fought by Muslims as well. It is therefore offensive to the millions of Muslims when the term “Islamic terrorism” is used. The reality is that terrorism can not be defeated without Muslims. This is seen today as many Muslim Iraqis, Jordanians, Saudis, Pakistanis, Kurds, Turks, etc., are all partnering with the U.S. and others in the fight against terrorism on many levels.

Terrorism is not because of Islam, it is due to a lack of Islam. It is of no wonder that the attackers are usually known criminals who become radicalized and respond to political grievances with violence.

More details about Quranic verses and terrorism can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq9YPZyge2w


  1. Hadrat Ali - November 22, 2015 10:44 am

    Very Informative

  2. Aaminah Rabia Talibdeen - November 22, 2015 10:59 am

    This is Great Clarity!
    I needed this…Jazaak Allahu khairan Aakhi

    • Shakiel Humayun

      Shakiel Humayun - December 4, 2015 11:37 pm

      Glad it was helpful!