Those on the Left pronounce these two words the way a native Arabic speaker would, as a way of signaling their sympathy for the American-Muslim population. They are indicating they identify with this population and they have their backs.
In other words, they aren’t like those nasty, Muslim-hating Republicans. They understand Islam and respect it, and they know it has nothing to do with jihad and terrorism. This pronunciation is code for “I’m not Islamaphobic.” The Left is making their opinions and politics known with the simple shift in pronunciation of these two key words…….
You’re Only Cool If You Say It Like We Do
Pronouncing “Islam” and “Muslim” in an authentic manner is especially important to the Left because Islam is their pet project. The reactions after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino paint a clear picture of the Left’s bias toward Islam even in the face of plain facts.
The Left reserves this little linguistic condescension for its favorite liberal minority causes.
They don’t do this with other foreign words or place-names. No, the Left reserves this little linguistic condescension for its favorite liberal minority causes. You didn’t hear anyone pronouncing “Paris” as “Pah-ree,” as the French do, after the terror attacks in November in order to show solidarity. There wasn’t any effort to sound culturally authentic when discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But talk about Islam, and their tune—and pronunciation—changes.
If the Left is using the pronunciation of “Muslim” and “Islam” as a marker of where they fall politically, what happens to the rest of us who are pronouncing it with an American accent? For now, there is nothing notable about pronouncing these words as “muz-lim” or “IZ-lahm,” but one day there might be. One can’t help but wonder whether these words will truly become a kind of political Shibboleth. Pretty soon we might be outing ourselves as so-called Islamaphobes, simply for pronouncing a word the wrong way.