Jihad is sanctioned holy war. Jihad was a blurry concept for me prior to 9/11/01. Sure, I’d heard of it and thought of it as an historical underpinning of Islam, but I never understood the reality that jihad is alive and well in our modern culture. One thing to remember is that there are a handful of sects in Islam that all have their interpretations of the Koran and that base their behavior and beliefs on the Koran as well as other "authoritative" writings. Some of these sects are much more violent than others. The dangerous tendency is it lump all Muslims into one category, just as some try to lump all Christians into one category. One's beliefs determine one's behaviors. It is a fact that Muslims carry out many violent acts of terrorism in the name of Allah. Of course, the Muslim might see US military involvement Afghanistan and Iraq as violent acts of terrorism.
Obviously, to state that "Islam is a violent religion" is taking a complex issue and reducing it to a level of simplicity that is naive, especially in the law profession. To get a closer look on the issue I researched many sites and I thought this line of blogs might be the most thought provoking: http://www.danielpipes.org/990/what-is-jihad. I wanted to start with this article because it points out that jihad is not a rare occurrence in modern society. It occurs very frequently. In fact, it seems our society is numb to jihad. We hear about religious attacks almost every day. And, the grisly reality jihad plays in our modern culture cannot be simply wished away until a form of non-violent jihad is proclaimed by moderate Muslims as the only modern option for Islam.
Daniel Pipes, the author of the blog above, expounded on some of the atrocities of Sudan’s state-sponsored jihad. I have many close friends from Sudan and one in particular who barely escaped jihad with his own life. His name is Malual and as a young boy he had to outrun the jihadists who murdered his father in cold blood and openly raped the women and girls at their family home. At only 8 years old, Malual almost died many times on a treacherous journey to move undetected to the Sudanese border. He eventually found refuge in Ethiopia (only to be turned away) and ultimately made it safely to Uganda, completely on foot with no worldly possessions. He said his faith kept him strong. He talks about the hatred he experienced first hand, but it is the love of Christ that allows him to move on in forgiveness. His forgiveness is surprising! Check out this gripping website for more info on the Lost Boys of Sudan: http://www.allianceforthelostboys.com/. Malual’s reality of terror from militant Islam seemed worlds away until it hit America on 9/11.
Merely typing “jihad 9 11” in Google produces some very unique sites. Many sites are extremist and could be the prototype of “Islamophobia” as discussed in class. An example is “History of Jihad” which outlines various arguments why Islam should be stopped and invites professors and scholars to join the debate (perhaps we should join in because what I read did not seem balanced): http://www.historyofjihad.org/. I also came across the Loyalist party which is dedicated to the eradication of Islamic threat around the world. http://www.loyalistparty.com/. I left disgusted by these sites due to the sheer lack of knowledge and the message of hate they spread.
The reality is, 9/11 was planned and carried out by radical Muslims mostly from Saudia Arabia. Here is a website that profiles the terrorists from 9/11. http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/01/911/plotters.shtml. It’s interesting to think about how the jihadists lived amongst Americans for months prior to 9/11. Did they ever see humanity or want to renege on their commitment to terror?
Even today as I looked at updated election results I ran across this article and almost kept on going: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39969792/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/. A tragedy like this would be headline news before 9/11, rather than just another article about militant uprisings. It appears jihad and terrorism now go hand in hand…which is why it’s no longer a blurry concept for the Western World. If one’s beliefs determine one’s behaviors, then I only hope that those who believe that Islam is not a violent religion would begin to gain control and thrust out of the modern Islamic belief system.