AP Stylebook: 'Islamist' Revised, Days After Dropping ‘Illegal Immigrant’

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 01:48 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Two days after dropping the term "illegal immigrant" from its stylebook, the Associated Press announced Thursday that its entry for "Islamist" has been revised.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an American advocacy group sometimes labeled "Islamist" by critics, has long been lobbying for the AP to drop the term. The word is often used to negatively describe conservative Islamic political movements, particularly Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the group's Palestinian offshoot, according to US News & World Report.

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Put another way, it's generally used to denote "Muslims we don't like," Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's communications director, wrote in a January op-ed.

"Islamist" was added to the AP stylebook in 2012. The original definition read:

"Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi."

The news agency sent out an alert Thursday to its online subscribers to announce that "Islamist" should not be used as "a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists, or radicals."

The new entry reads:

"An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam... Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi."

The announcement comes just days after the AP discontinued the term "illegal immigrants."

"Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant," the new entry reads.

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Related stories:

AP Style Change Prompts ‘Illegal Invader’ Terminology

AP Wrestles Over Declaring Jerusalem Israel's Capital

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