As AKUS and Hadar Sela reported back in April, the Guardian and Observer have a ‘Style Guide‘ on their site which clarifies the Guardian-approved meanings for over 17,500 terms, so that their journalists will not run afoul of the media group’s ideology.
One of the more interesting enforced orthodoxies pertains to their anti-Zionist “style” regarding Israel’s capital.
As AKUS observed:
“The Guardian has decided that even though Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since the founding of the state, its Parliament, Supreme Court and ministerial offices are there, they [nonetheless] believe that Tel Aviv is the country’s real capital. It has apparently enforced this absurdity by codifying it in its style guide.
Is there any other country in the world for which the Guardian’s style guide defines a nation’s capital as any place other than the city they selected?”
Indeed, on April 22, 2012, the Guardian even revised a photo caption, published two days earlier, which “incorrectly” referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Another classic Guardian term is the word “terrorism“. Here’s an excerpt from the Guardian style guide definition.
No, heaven forbid anyone would accuse the Guardian of “taking sides”!
Finally, we recently came across the Style Guide definition of the word “Jihad“.
Regarding the first two definitions, Jihad as an internal moral struggle, in the book Understanding Jihad, David Cook, an expert on the history of Islam, Muslim apocalyptic literature and movements, dismisses as “laughable” the contention that jihad refers to “the effort to lead a good life.”
Cook establishes that the term primarily means “warfare with spiritual significance.”
And, regarding the Style Guide’s final definition, “defending Islam…with force if necessary”, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes explains:
“Jihad…means the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.
The purpose of jihad, in other words, is not directly to spread the Islamic faith but to extend sovereign Muslim power (faith, of course, often follows the flag). Jihad is thus unabashedly offensive in nature…
Today, jihad is the world’s foremost source of terrorism, inspiring a worldwide campaign of violence by self-proclaimed jihadist groups:
- The International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders: Osama bin Laden’s organization;
- Laskar Jihad: the group was responsible for the murder of more than 9,000 Christians in Indonesia;
- Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami: a leading cause of violence in Kashmir;
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad: one of the most vicious anti-Israel terrorist groups operating in the Middle East;
Pipes also argues that jihad has been interpreted as justifiable against impious Muslims.
“Islamists thinkers like Hasan al-Banna (1906-49), Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), Abu al-A‘la Mawdudi (1903-79), and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1903-89) promoted jihad against putatively Muslim rulers who failed to live up to or apply the laws of Islam.”
As Bernard Lewis wrote, regarding even early understandings of the term within Islam:
“The overwhelming majority of early [Muslim] authorities, citing relevant passages in the Qur’an and in the tradition, discuss jihad in military terms.”
The U.S. State Department defines the term as follows (page two, line 6 of this U.S indictment against Jose Padilla):
“‘jihad’ refers to the use of violence, including paramilitary action against persons, property or governments deemed to be enemies of a fundamentalist version of Islam.”
Jihad, as the term is commonly understood (and in practice across the globe), is almost always offensive in nature, and to impute defensive or otherwise benign attributes represents nothing but political propaganda.
I’m sure Arafat was merely talking about the need for Palestinian self-improvement.
- You may need to read this twice – the Guardian Denies that Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital. (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian: aspiring to become the PSC’s ventriloquist’s dummy? (cifwatch.com)
- Harriet Sherwood and the ceasefire that never was. (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian “journalist” Style Guide related dilemmas: Palestinian “Terrorism” edition (cifwatch.com)
- More from the Guardian ‘Style Guide’. (cifwatch.com)