CAIR recently launched a new public relations effort aimed at rebranding jihad. (Photo credit: Egypt Dependent)
Despite all evidence to the contrary, (bringing up such evidence is hate-speech, anyway!) “jihad” is an innocuous and admirable plan for self-improvement, according to the unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR’s “MyJihad” website for a public ad campaign that launched in December 2012 explains that “Jihad means ‘struggling in the way of God’. The way of God, being goodness, justice, passion, compassion, etc. It is putting up the good fight against whatever odds or barriers you face in your life.” It would seem as if St. Paul practiced jihad.
CAIR says that “MyJihad” is a “public education campaign” and that it is necessary because the perfectly good term “jihad” has been “widely misrepresented” due to the actions of Muslim extremists on the one side and Islamophobes on the other. The site features photos of smiling young people with impressive and positive goals. In one photo, a teenager in a headscarf declares “MyJihad: Modesty is not weakness. What’s yours?” In another photo, Muslims embrace non-Muslims and say, “My Jihad is to build friendships across the aisle. What’s yours?” Two weightlifters confess, “MyJihad is to stay fit despite my busy schedule. What’s yours?”
As wonderful as this version of jihad sounds, and as much as many sincere Muslims do practice this form of jihad, this is not the primary Islamic definition of jihad. Jihad is the central doctrine that requires Muslims to combat against all enemies of Islam and Allah. Jihad Watch founder Robert Spencer explains that the four schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence all make it clear that the purpose of jihad is to spread Islam. He further quotes Iraqi Islamic scholar Majid Khadduri who in 1955 wrote, “The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.” (italics added)
The Quran and the Hadith reveal that jihad is a duty that may be fulfilled in four ways: jihad of the heart, the tongue, the hand, and the sword. A Georgian blogger, Ushisha Razikashvili, who is well-acquainted with Islamism, explains the four methods as the heart being indoctrinated into Islamic beliefs, traditions, and ways of thinking; the tongue using accusations of hate speech, propaganda, and death threats; the hand including slavery or physical violence committed in order to suppress, subdue or evict the enemies of Islam and Allah; and the sword meaning the waging of warfare in Dar al-Harb (“House of War” – the world outside Islam) and eventually converting it into Dar al-Islam (“House of Islam’) by force, executions of political and religious enemies of Islam, civil and full scale warfare, and other means of spilling of the blood of the enemies of Islam in order to expand the rule of Islam.
The MyJihad campaign appears to be mostly jihad of the heart, but also exploits claims of misunderstanding, hate speech, and other propaganda. Jihad’s rehabilitation is made easier by the media, such as in this news story on KQED about the MyJihad launch in San Francisco. Reporter Laird Harrison says, “the understanding of “jihad” in English seems to be evolving.” He fails to mention the overwhelming prevalence of jihad as a violent, and even sometimes genocidal, struggle against Christians, Jews, and other unbelievers.
The Obama administration has also been extremely helpful for the rebranding of the word jihad. The term has been scrubbed from counter-terrorism training and training manuals. And even when a jihadist, such as Major Nidal Hassan, killer of 12 soldiers and an unborn baby at Ft. Hood, went so far as to present his justification for jihad in a slide show to senior US Army medical personnel, his jihad is transformed into “workplace violence.”
Sadly, Islamists have been quite effective in deceiving many Christians and Jews about jihad, as well. Some evangelicals, missionaries working in Islam-dominated regions of the world (but not with Christian converts from Islam), and others have joined members of the mainline Religious Left in denouncing those who present facts about jihad and Sharia as “Islamophobic.” In every such case, there is far more thought and concern given to any perceived insult to Muslims by Islamophobes than to the actual, physical harm done to Christian victims of jihad in Africa, South Central Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
On Monday, January 21, 2013 the northern Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram killed 18 people at a market in Damboa village, Borno State for disobeying the Sharia (Islamic law). Driving up to the market in a Volkswagen Golf car, the militants shot the people, 13 hunters who died on the scene and 5 others who died later in the hospital, for selling or purchasing “unIslamic” meat, according to Bos News Life news service. The next day, Bos News Life adds, Boko Haram militants on motorbikes killed 5 people in Kano for playing a board game. That is jihad.
Boko Haram’s terrorist attack on churches is “a declaration of Islamic jihad on Christians,” according to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). A 2009 Boko Haram statement published by Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper declared jihad against all of Nigeria. Boko Haram stated, “. . . .we have started a Jihad in Nigeria which no force on earth can stop. The aim is to Islamise Nigeria and ensure the rule of the majority Muslims in the country. We will teach Nigeria a lesson, a very bitter one.” They continue, “The bombing will not stop until Sharia rules and Western Civilization is wiped off from Nigeria.” That is jihad.
The Islamist regime of Sudan has declared jihad numerous times. Since Sudan’s independence in 1956, and even before during British occupation, the Arab Islamist elites have marginalized and oppressed Sudan’s indigenous black African people groups with a racism rooted in Islamist and Arab supremacism. Whenever that supremacism or its corresponding forcibly-imposed Sharia has been challenged, the elites have declared jihad to perpetrate genocide against Christian, Muslim, and traditional Nilodic religion people groups. Sudan President Omar al Bashir even declared the Muslims of the Nuba Mountains to no longer be Muslim, so he could wage jihad against them during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Today, once again, the major focus of Sudan’s jihad is the people of the Nuba Mountains along with Blue Nile State. Hundreds of thousands have been killed or displaced, some families hiding in mountain caves and slowly starving. That is jihad.
Razikashvili advises the CAIR public relations office that “instead of trying to deceive non-Muslim sheep into believing that Jihad is simply a nice word and whenever you hear otherwise it is simply extremists using it to their own aims,” they should “attempt to stop the Muslim psychopaths who spill so much blood in the name of Jihad, before working on deceiving people’s interpretation of the word.” Good advice, but with so much of the media, the US government, and even Christian leaders agreeing with CAIR, they may not see any need to take it.