Jihad means a war that can be called for by any Islamic leader, but individual Muslims must decide whether to answer the call to arms. Most calls for jihad tend to appeal mostly to Islamist extremists and do not result in total war within or between countries. However, America’s war in Afghanistan, and the threat of another war in Iraq, have led many Muslims to rethink jihad. While the majority does not see jihad as a violent struggle, more and more Muslims would argue that all Muslims have a duty to defend .
The increase in terrorist acts against American and Israeli civilians reflects this widened, violent interpretation of jihad. More Muslims now consider some form of jihad—violent or nonviolent—to be an obligation of the faith. Today, Muslims can mean many things by jihad—the extremists’ idea of warfare, Ibn Taymiya’s revolt against an impious ruler, the Sufi’s moral self-improvement, or the modern concept of political and social reform. Terrorist organizations often take advantage of the disagreements over the types of jihad to insist to less sophisticated Muslims that war is the only acceptable form of jihad. The different interpretations of jihad have also caused confusion in the West. For example, in 1997, when Yasir Arafat called for a “,” he intended his Muslim audience to hear a call to arms while simultaneously assuring his Western supporters he intended only a peaceful struggle. Usually, however, the meaning of the word jihad is clear from its usage. When Sufis discuss spiritual jihad, they use the term “greater jihad.” Advocates of a jihad on social issues, like Bourguiba’s war on poverty, clearly do not intend to use violence to improve education and development. When the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, backed by Osama bin Laden, called for a jihad in 1998, its aim was clearly violent.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.