I have written about this in the past here. Essentially, what does it mean to say that someone or something is “Islamist” as opposed to “Islamic”? Nothing, really, except that the person speaking doesn’t want to offend Islam by speaking unwelcome truths about the political nature of the religion.
Robert Spencer on the silly semantics of Islam and Islamists:
The term “Islamist” is in common use to refer to Muslim individuals and organizations that adhere to Islamic law’s political aspects (most notably its denial of any legitimacy of a separation between religion and the state) and consequently most fiercely oppose America, Israel and the West in general. The implication is that Islam itself, in its authentic form, has no requisite political aspect, and no incompatibility with Western values or democratic government.
The problem with this is that it is a Western, artificial distinction, imposed by non-Muslims upon the Islamic world and lacking any real substance with reference to Islamic law as it has always been formulated by the Sunni and Shi’ite madhahib (schools of jurisprudence). Islam has always been political, and the union of religion and the state has always been essential to its political program; the idea that all this can and should be separated from Islam proper is the wishful thinking of Western analysts who do not wish to face the implications of the fact that these ideas represent mainstream Islamic thinking.
“It is Islamist terrorism,” Theresa May said. “It is a perversion of a great faith.” What is perverted? They quote Quran and Hadith, chapter and verse. When did May get her PhD in Islamic theology? What does she know of it? Is she more knowledgeable Abu Bakr al-Baghdad, the caliph of the Islamic State, a religious scholar all of his life who received his PhD in Islamic theology?
Source: for MORE