A different vocabulary for the world after 9/11

September 10, 2006|By GEORGE LATANZIO | GEORGE LATANZIO,Star-Ledger

Some of the words and phrases are new, and some old ones have taken on new meaning after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. They remind us how the world has shifted; how we will always think differently about our post-9/11 world.

Abu Ghraib - The prison noted for mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces.

Al-Qaida - Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization. It means "the base."

Anbar province - One of Iraq's 18 provinces. Sunni-dominated and noted for resistance to the U.S. occupation.

Anthrax - An acutely infectious disease that can be transmitted in the form of a fine white powder.

Axis of Evil - Iran, Iraq, North Korea. From President Bush's State of the Union Address in January 2002.

Burqa - A veil that covers all but the eyes. Afghan women were required by the Taliban to wear full burqas that covered the entire body with netting covering the eyes.

Caliphate - An empire headed by a supreme ruler recognized as secular and religious head of all Islam. The last caliphate was abolished by Ataturk after the Turkish revolution in the 1920s.

Enemy combatant - The military's term for a captured fighter who is not entitled to rights associated with criminal suspects.

Fallujah - Iraqi city that is often the scene of intense fighting.

Fatwa - An Islamic ruling issued by a religious leader.

Flight 93 - United Airlines flight from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco that crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11 when passengers overpowered terrorists.

FISA - The Foreign Intelligence Service Act. The act allows government agencies to obtain surveillance warrants from a secret court.

Ground Zero - Site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

Guantanamo - The U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Used as a prison for fighters caught in Afghanistan and Iraq.

IED - Any improvised explosive device. Usually a roadside bomb.

Insurgent - A fighter in Iraq who resists the U.S. occupation and the elected government.

Islamic Jihad - A terrorist organization.

Islamo-fascist - Islamic terrorists and their followers who support violence to create fundamentalist religious governments throughout the Middle East.

Jihad - Arabic for the struggle for religion. Often translated as holy war.

Kurd - Kurds make up a substantial part of Iraq's northern population. They are Sunni but are not ethnic Arabs.

Military tribunal - A military court.

Mujahedeen - Arabic for those who are fighting a holy war.

Mullah - An Islamic religious leader.

Osama bin Laden - A financier of terrorists, he became the face of terrorism.

Sharia - Islamic law.

Shiite - A member of one of the two main branches of Islam.

Shiite Crescent - The area in the Middle East stretching from Lebanon through Iraq to Iran where Shiite Muslims are either the majority of the population or wield significant political influence.

Sunni - A member of the other main branch of Islam. Most Muslims are Sunni.

Taliban - Islamic fundamentalist rulers of Afghanistan before Sept. 11.

Tora Bora - A mountainous area in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border where al-Qaida and the Taliban fought a major battle in 2001 with U.S. and Afghan forces. U.S. forces had an opportunity but failed to capture Osama bin Laden in that battle.

TSA - The Transportation Security Administration, created after Sept. 11.

Triangle of Death - An area south of Baghdad noted for violence against U.S. occupation.

USA Patriot Act - The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. Signed into law in October 2001.

Wahhabism - A fundamentalist school of Islam that arose in Saudi Arabia.

War on Terror - The Bush administration's name for its campaign against international terrorism.

Zarqawi - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al-Qaida in Iraq. Killed by a U.S. bomb.

George Latanzio is an editor at The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J .

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