Colmes: Offensive to Call Terrorists 'Islamic,' Use 'Books Not Bombs' on Hamas

If you thought the proper way to refer to terrorists who commit violence in the name of Islam was by using such terms as "Islamic terrorists," "Islamic militants," or even "Islamic extremists," be on notice that you may be offending Alan Colmes. In fact, even if you refer to the terrorist group "Islamic Jihad" by that name, which is the name the group uses to refer to itself, you're still not in the clear. Such was the absurd view expressed by the liberal FNC host on Friday's "Hannity and Colmes" as he argued that the use of the word "Islamic" is an attack on the entire religion, and characterized the term "Islamo-fascism" as "hate speech" and as "demonization" of Islam. And, in response to a Hamas recruitment video targeting Palestinian children to become martyrs, Colmes further suggested that the best way to combat such terrorist groups is to use "books, not bombs," and "better education, not war." (Transcript follows)

During Friday's show, the topic of what Islamic extremists should be called was first raised by Colmes during a discussion with conservative author David Horowitz regarding the upcoming "Islamo-fascism Awareness Week" at George Washington University. After Horowitz complained about liberal students creating a poster portraying conservative students as hating Muslims, with Horowitz accusing liberals of using a "hate campaign," Colmes commented that the phrase "Islamo-fascism" constitutes "hate speech." Colmes: "You talk about hate speech. The words, the phrase 'Islamo-fascism' is hate speech. It equates an entire religion with fascism. That's what people object to. It conflates the two, and it's wrong."

A later segment with terrorism analyst Steve Emerson featured discussion of a video produced by the terrorist group Hamas, and broadcast on Hamas Al-Aqsa TV, which depicts small children, including a two-year-old, being taught to embrace terrorism. (A clip of this video can be seen here, and a story run by InfoLiveTV giving background on the subject can be seen here.) During the discussion, Emerson explained that the video was an attempt to "demonize" Jews and Christians so that children would be encouraged to grow up with a willingness to kill. Colmes used Emerson's comment as a springboard to accuse the terrorism analyst of "demonizing" Islam in using the term "Islamo-fascism." Colmes: "But, Steve, aren't you demonizing Islam? When you use words like 'Islamo-fascism,' it conflates an entire religion with fascism, and that's demonization, and it offends an entire religion?"

After arguing that use of the terms "Protestant extremists" and "Catholic extremists" to refer to those who fought in Northern Ireland was commonly accepted while not being interpreted as an attack on all Protestants or on all Catholics, Emerson got Colmes to admit that he finds any description of Islamic extremists with the term "Islamic" to be offensive.

EMERSON: Alan, let's take the term away "Islamo-fascism." Let's use the term "Islamic militant" or "Islamic extremist."

COLMES: Leave religion out of it.

EMERSON: Does that offend you?

COLMES: It does. It is offensive because you want-

EMERSON: It is offensive because-

COLMES: -to define a religion by attaching a word to it that defines that religion.

Emerson then brought up the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad, which calls itself by that name, but Colmes even refused to endorse calling Islamic Jihad by its own self-chosen name.

EMERSON: Wait a second, now. Does the term "Islamic Jihad" offend you?

COLMES: You're using offensive terminology because you are defining a religion that way.

EMERSON: Wait, that's the term of a group, Alan, that's the term of a group describes itself as "Islamic Jihad." We caught you, Alan.

COLMES: No, you didn't catch me. You didn't catch me.

EMERSON: That's not something that we call them.

COLMES: Fine. It is an offensive, and you are indicting an entire religion by the terminology.

EMERSON: Wait, wait. Islamic Jihad, which, Alan, Islamic Jihad calls itself "Islamic Jihad." They are the ones defining the religion, not us.

COLMES: All right, good. Let them do it.

EMERSON: And you're telling me that we are the guilty ones.

COLMES: You can, it's not for you to define their religion. But we're going to talk more-

EMERSON: But I'm only using their term.

COLMES: You, I don't think you have the right to do that. I don't think that's your call.

EMERSON: I don't have the right to use their term? They call themselves "Islamic Jihad"?

COLMES: Because it's their religion, not yours, and you're trying to define their religion your way.

After a commercial break, Colmes seemed to start channeling Jesse Jackson as he suggested that it would be better to combat Hamas and other Islamic terrorists using "books, not bombs," and "better education, not war." Colmes: "The images we're showing, Steve, doesn't this show the way to deal with this -- and we don't deny that it's happening, so there's no argument there -- but shouldn't we be dealing with this not with guns, not with munitions, not with military action, but with books, not bombs, with better education, not war?"

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday October 12 "Hannity and Colmes" on FNC, with critical portions in bold:

During the segment with David Horowitz, after Horowitz complained of liberals at George Washington University using hate against conservatives, Colmes responded:

ALAN COLMES: You talk about hate speech. The words, the phrase "Islamo-fascism" is hate speech. It equates an entire religion with fascism. That's what people object to. It conflates the two, and it's wrong.

After introducing the segment by describing a Hamas-produced video being run on Hamas Al-Aqsa TV to indoctrinate Palestinian children, Hannity proceeded to his first question to Emerson.

SEAN HANNITY: Steve, they're instructing these kids specifically in the use of firearms and how to kill here, and yet we have, as we were arguing in the last segment, we have liberals in this country that want to deny that this is the rise of fascism in our time.

STEVE EMERSON, InvestigativeProject.Org: You know, Sean, this is the first time that I've seen, in my 20 years of looking at these videos, a two-year-old handling an AK-47, and claiming to be a Shahid, or martyr, and wanting to be a suicide bomber. I mean, this is pretty horrifying in terms of the lessons that it permeates for the rest of Palestinian and Middle Eastern society. And the fact is that you can call this anything you want, but it is Islamic fascism in the same way that, you know, Italian fascism and German Naziism weren't slurs on Germans or Italians. They simply described the phenomenon of what people believed in those countries.

HANNITY: Is it any different than the indoctrination, especially a lot of this is focused on Israeli aggression or, as you point out, martyrdom, or the pursuit of martyrdom in the name of God and religion here. Is it any different in your mind, in your estimation, than, say, the Nazi Youth movement of Hitler?

EMERSON: No, because the same essence, the same, you know, end objective is the same, which is the ultimate demonization of Jews and its enemies so they can be killed. That's what these lessons do. That's what these television programs do. They demonize the Jews or Christians so that they make it acceptable to kill them. That's exactly what the Germans did.

COLMES: But, Steve, aren't you demonizing Islam? When you use words like "Islamo-fascism," it conflates an entire religion with fascism, and that's demonization, and it offends an entire religion?

EMERSON: Alan, what term would you use? Alan, what term would you use?

COLMES: I would call it "fascism," but I wouldn't link it to a religion, as you choose to do. And doesn't this also-

EMERSON: Just "fascism"? So what makes it different than Italian fascism? Or German fascism?

COLMES: You're indicting a whole religion. It doesn't represent the entire religion, as opposed to a government.

EMERSON: Wait a second, Alan. When they had the IRA battles, they referred to "Protestant extremists" and "Catholic extremists."

COLMES: Yeah, I object to that term.

EMERSON: They didn't indict everybody who was Catholic and Protestant.

COLMES: I'm telling you, and my opinion is, and we obviously disagree, and there are many who happen to agree with me that this is extremely insulting to an entire religion, and that you can call it "fascism" if you want, you want to talk about specific people who do heinous deeds. Nobody says this is good, what we're seeing. But you want to extrapolate it to an entire religion.

EMERSON: Alan, let's take the term away "Islamo-fascism." Let's use the term "Islamic militant" or "Islamic extremist."

COLMES: Leave religion out of it.

EMERSON: Does that offend you?

COLMES: It does. It is offensive because you want-

EMERSON: It is offensive because-

COLMES: -to define a religion by attaching a word to it that defines that religion.

EMERSON: Wait a second, now. Does the term "Islamic Jihad" offend you?

COLMES: You're using offensive terminology because you are defining a religion that way.

EMERSON: Wait, that's the term of a group, Alan, that's the term of a group describes itself as "Islamic Jihad." We caught you, Alan.

COLMES: No, you didn't catch me. You didn't catch me.

EMERSON: That's not something that we call them.

COLMES: Fine. It is an offensive, and you are indicting an entire religion by the terminology.

EMERSON: Wait, wait. Islamic Jihad, which, Alan, Islamic Jihad calls itself "Islamic Jihad." They are the ones defining the religion, not us.

COLMES: All right, good. Let them do it.

EMERSON: And you're telling me that we are the guilty ones.

COLMES: You can, it's not for you to define their religion. But we're going to talk more-

EMERSON: But I'm only using their term.

COLMES: You, I don't think you have the right to do that. I don't think that's your call.

EMERSON: I don't have the right to use their term? They call themselves "Islamic Jihad"?

COLMES: Because it's their religion, not yours, and you're trying to define their religion your way.

EMERSON: You are an apologist, Alan.

COLMES: All right, Steve, we're going to take a break.

EMERSON: You're an apologist for Islamic extremism, period.

COLMES: Call me all the names you want, Steve, and that says more about you than about me. More on the shocking video of Hamas conducting terror training with toddlers and more frightening images coming up.

[commercial break]

COLMES: We now continue with terrorism analyst Steve Emerson. The images we're showing, Steve, doesn't this show the way to deal with this -- and we don't deny that it's happening, so there's no argument there -- but shouldn't we be dealing with this not with guns, not with munitions, not with military action, but with books, not bombs, with better education, not war?

EMERSON: Alan, it would be great, but we're not the ones controlling their behavior. If they would engage in books and educational moderation, that would be great, but they're the ones engaging in use of Shahid, martyrdom, suicide bombing, AK-47s for two-year-olds. You can't, if you want to make sure that there's moderation, let them engage in it. And, by the way, Alan, I don't see you getting upset when I hear the term "Hindu extremist," "Protestant extremist," "Jewish extremist." It's only when you use the word "Islamic extremists."

COLMES: Now, you've defined an entire movement as "Islamo-fascism." I don't want to go back to that. I want to move the conversation forward, though, and talk about, for example, our own NIE reports, 16 intelligence agencies, concluded that, for example, the Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists. And the best we can do -- this war has encouraged others and fueled the kind of fascism you're talking about. Shouldn't we, and I go back to books, not bombs. That's where we could be putting our energies much more positively than more military action.

EMERSON: We are not the ones that are doing the bombing, Alan. They are. And unless they want to read the books, we can't force them to it. The fact is, Alan, they are the ones committing fascist acts. They're the ones committing suicide bombings. And they did it before we went into Iraq. They did it in 1993. They did it in 1998. They did it in 1999. Look what they did in 2001.

HANNITY: Steve, God will make you a martyr, a religious term. The word "jihad," holy war. God will reward you with virgins, you know, as they strap bombs on their own children. The religious terms, the religious connection is from those who have perverted the religion and use religion, their twisted version of Islam, to move this fascist movement. So the definition is appropriate. They are fascists. They're strapping bombs on their own kids. They think they're doing God's will, and God's waiting to reward them. So there is, that is the proper definition.

EMERSON: Of course it is, Alan.

HANNITY: Sean.

EMERSON: And you know what? The groups in the United States, like CAIR and other groups, flip the inversion. And what they say is the use of the term "Islamo-facism," "Islamic terrorism," "Islamic extremism," is racist. And therefore, they try to intimidate anyone who talks about the extremist agenda of radical Islam. I think that's obscene.

HANNITY: All right. Thanks very much for being with us. Appreciate it, Steve. We'll talk again soon.