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End to 'loaded' Islamic terms welcomed

April 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM

WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- A Washington decision to strike terms linking the religion of Islam to extremism is a welcome departure to U.S. policy in the Middle East, advocates said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations welcomed a decision from U.S. President Barack Obama to strike terms like "Islamic radicalism" from the National Security Strategy. The previous administration said "militant Islamic radicalism" is one of the greatest ideological challenges of the modern era.

Nihad Awad, the national executive director at CAIR, said the measure was a welcome step toward a respectful relationship with the Muslim community.

"We hope this positive change in language will lead to policies that will deal more effectively with important issues such as peace with justice in the Middle East and withdrawal of our nation's forces from Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

Influential clerics and other Muslim advocates have recommended avoiding words like "jihad" and other Islamic terms for fear of undermining the peaceful nature of the religion. Awad stressed that his organization has called for an end to "loaded" terminology that links Islam to terrorism "for a number of years."

"We welcome this change in language by the Obama administration as another step toward respectful and effective outreach to Muslims at home and abroad," he said.

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