Did religion play a role in 9/11?

The Associated Press has issued a style and reference guide for its reporters to follow when covering the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It covers the spelling, definitions and context for some of the terms that might be used when covering the anniversary. Many of the terms already appear in the AP Stylebook itself but it also includes some new ones, such as proper names that might be mentioned. This Reuters story lists out the information in the style guide.

Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab has a story on the style guide:

The guide is intriguing — not only as a useful tool for the many journalists who will be, in some way or another, writing about 9/11 over the next few weeks, but also as a hint at what a Stylebook can be when it’s thought of not just as a book, but as a resource more broadly. AP’s guide (official name: “Sept. 11 Style and Reference Guide”) is a kind of situational stylebook, an ad hoc amalgam of information that will be useful for a particular set of stories, within a particular span of time.

“I’m not aware of anything quite like this,” says David Minthorn, the AP’s deputy standards editor who oversees the cooperative’s Stylebook. The AP has distributed a list of terms for certain big, broadly covered events in the past — the Olympics, say; this is the first time, though, Minthorn told me in a phone call, that the AP has produced a reference guide quite this comprehensive tied to a specific news event.

But the event, he says, called for it. “This is a momentous occasion, a momentous anniversary,” Minthorn notes. Because of that, “we want to, particularly for our own staff, make sure everybody is conforming to certain spellings and definitions.”

And that uniformity includes information, as well. One of the most intriguing aspects of the style guide is that it’s not just a style guide: It emphasizes the facts of 9/11 as much as the manner in which those facts are be presented.

So how comprehensive is this comprehensive reference guide? How much does it emphasize the facts of 9/11?

Well, it depends on how much you think religion played a role in the events of that day, I guess. The terms Islam and Muslim don't appear and neither do any terms related to those words.


I did learn something from the guide, 10 years out:

al-Qaida Headed by Osama bin Laden until his death by U.S. forces in Pakistan in May 2011. Pronounced al-KY’-ee-duh.

al-KY'-ee-duh? ee? I thought it was al-KY-ay-duh.

Another reporter pointed out that there is no entry for terrorist. Don't worry, there's no entry for freedom fighter either and there is an entry for the hijackers.

Any other key entries, religious or otherwise, you might have liked to see?

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