"Counterjihadist." If you had told me a couple of decades ago that this would be one of the many labels that would someday be attached to my name with some regularity, I would hardly have known what to say. Counter what? What jihadist?
But then these are strange times. On the evening of September 11, 2001, you might've expected responsible-minded, in-the-know public servants, journalists, and academic Islam experts throughout the Western world to start giving their respective publics a crash course (as it were) in Islamic jihad, so as to ensure that absolutely everybody understood exactly why those men wanted to take down those buildings. Instead, the President of the United States, the Karen Armstrongs and John Espositos, and virtually the entire Western media were quick to begin issuing fervent assurances that the terrorists were a fanatical minority who'd hijacked not only airplanes but Islam itself. Similar assurances followed hard upon every major terrorist act in the succeeding years. Those of us who knew better – who recognized that the terrorists were doing exactly what the Koran ordered them to do, and who believed that it was vitally important for everyone in the West to understand this – began to see our names yanked to a term that identified us not as people who were seeking to educate and inform but as antagonists of something to which every one of us, after all, should be opposed.