Jihad is a term that the West has come to know and fear. The Arabic word, Jihad, means struggling or striving and applies to any effort exerted by anyone. Jihad is really a struggle in life. Extremists misinterpret the religion into believing the religion implies that they should fight with anyone that is against Islam. Extremists use their religion as a scapegoat. Those who are involved with Jihad are a very small percentage of Muslims who are from the extreme, radical, and violent wing of Islamic Fundamentalism. They are very passionate, religious, and anti Western. They tend to interpret Jihad in terms of personal struggle towards purity. What many people don’t know is that Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions. The Quran specifically refers to Jews and Christians as "people of the book" who should be protected and respected. All three faiths worship the same God. Allah is just the Arabic word for God, and is used by Christian Arabs as well as Muslims. Jihad means struggle and that means any struggle, personal struggles, spiritual struggle, or more popular term for these days a political struggle. In Islam we have no right to fight anyone for any reason except for self-defense. The media plays a large role in the Middle East. It portrays hate back and forth by religious leaders who call death to Americans. Not only is the insidious nature of their broadcasts abhorrent, but they are also educating children on a diet of Jihad to become suicide bombers and murderers. In reality, this form of Jihad, which has an aspect of physical combat, is nothing like the terrorism and murder that we see committed all over the world in the name of Islam; rather, it based upon defending the rights of the oppressed, as Allah said in the Qur’an: “And what is [the batter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah while the oppressed among men, women, and children say, ‘Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?’” [The Qur’an: an-Nisaa’ 4:75]
There is no doubt that military operation, carried out by a legitimate and recognized army whose objective is to free the oppressed and liberate those living in tyranny is something which is praise worth. In Islamic history, there are those who have participated in the jihad of combat, and are regarded as heroes among the Muslims, defending the rights of the innocent, and fighting against tyranny; just there are those who use the concept of Jihad to murder the innocent and terrorize the people. People see the same parts of the Qur’an, but while some understand the passages in context, others takes them out of context, in order to use Islam as an excuse for the corruption they seek to spread. One example of Jihad is a mother giving birth. Another example of Jihad is a person struggling with a drug addiction. One battling a mental illness is also a very good example of Jihad. Jihad does not mean that one should go kill innocent people and terrorize them. In aspect is really is a self-struggle to make oneself a better person. Those who misinterpret Jihad and confuse it with Terrorism and War do not comprehend the concept the way it should be understood. “Not all Islamic extremists carry out violent acts. Islamic extremists can advance their goals using non-violent tactics such as activism, developing interfaith coalitions with unsuspecting non-Muslims, fundraising, building political influence and the overall spreading of the ideology. Islamic terrorists, on the other hand, use violence and terrorism to instill fear and to gain political power in order to establish their goals,” says Ryan Mauro. Muslims themselves disagree on what jihad is supposed to mean. Many modernists in the West deny that it has anything to do with violence. There are Muslim traditions of a...
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