WASHINGTON - US officials are being advised in internal government documents to avoid publicly using terms like "Muslim" or "Islamic" when referring to terrorist groups, according to a media report. The National Counterterrorism Centre distributed two documents in April urging US officials to instead use terms like extremists, totalitarian or cult when describing Al-Qaeda and other militant groups. The NCTC documents caution against using terms like "jihad" or "mujahideen" because their Arabic meaning - "struggle" and "strugglers" - "unintentionally legitimise" terrorism, United Press International reported Wednesday. "There' s a growing consensus (in the Bush administration) that we need to move away from that language," said one former Cabinet official.The documents advise officials to think of Al-Qaeda an "illegitimate political organisation" to avoid supporting the group's ideology that uses religious doctrine to justify violent acts. It also recommends against using variations of "Islam" because lay audiences make no distinction between Islamism, the political doctrine based on the religious teachings of Islam, and the religion itself. The use of the technical variations may be correct, the documents say, but "it may not be strategic for (US government) officials to use the term." "There's a growing consensus (in the administration) that we need to move away from that language," said a former senior administration official who was involved until recently in policy debates on the issue.