AP Stylebook Revises Definition of ‘Islamist’

by Andrew Johnson

Days after dropping “illegal immigrant” from its influential stylebook, the Associated Press has revised its definition of another politically-charged term: Islamist. The AP now defines an ”Islamist” as an “advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.” The organization specifically instructs journalists, “Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.”

The move comes after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the AP to drop the term, which was added to its stylebook last year, arguing that has a negative connotation. The term “is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context,” said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director.

CAIR is applauding the AP’s change, calling it “a step in the right direction” that will “result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims.”