The 108-page Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, made public last week by the Department of Homeland Security, uses the term "terrorist" a total of 66 times, "al Qaeda" five times and "violent extremism" or "extremist" 14 times. It calls on the U.S. government to "actively engage communities across the United States" to "stop the spread of violent extremism."
Yet in describing terrorist threats against the United States and the ideology that motivates terrorists, the review - like its sister document from the Pentagon, the Quadrennial Defense Review - does not use the words "Islam," "Islamic" or "Islamist" a single time.
Although the homeland security official in charge of developing the review insists it was a not a deliberate decision, the document is likely to reignite a debate over terminology in the U.S.-led war against al Qaeda that has been simmering through two administrations.
"There was not an active choice" to avoid using terms derivative of Islam, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman told reporters on a
The sensitivity to terminology is not new. In April 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, an official guide produced by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the multiagency center charged with strategic coordination of the U.S. war on