Carol Iannone concedes that there's some "Clarification Needed on Use of the Term 'Islamo-Fascism.'"
On the one hand, she says, it's used to "highlight the historical connections between the Muslim world and Nazism and Fascism"; on the other, it's used "in a generic sense [!], to say that Islamic sharia law constitutes a form of fascism, a form of totalitarian control of society."
My interpretation is a bit simpler. I think that like long-playing records of people repeating "Polly wanna cracker," this endlessly reiterated term gives parrots something to say. Accuracy is completely beside the point; it makes good people sound bad and bad people sound worse, and encourages our stateside racists, dupes, and rageaholics to view themselves as The New Greatest Generation (even as they wax indignant at the idea that this unprecedented Battle for Civilization might require more seriousness and competence than BushCo has displayed so far).
Iannone does deserve some credit. While she blithely assumes that Islamofascism is a "factual and probably unexceptionable" term for the Grand Mufti's anti-Zionist marriage of convenience with Hitler - an assumption that raises some interesting questions a lot closer to home - she worries that using it in regards to al-Qaeda "forces the uniqueness of Islamic fundamentalism into the familiar mold of European fascism and national socialism."
You don't fucking say. I'd applaud this sentiment, if it weren't for my suspicion that the uniqueness she's insisting on has more to do with ethnicity than with any plausible definition of fascism.
In conclusion, Iannone suggests that philosophers, scholars and people of good will should explain whether they're using "Islamofascism" in the historical sense, to imply that Islam is historically fascist, or in the generic sense, to imply that Islam is inherently fascist.
Eventually its spelling should be regularized too.Thus shall a hundred flowers bloom, and a hundred schools of thought contend.