Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jihad on Trial

While there has been a lot of evidence and argument about jihad and violent jihad, this case is about a conspiracy of terrorism. --US Magistrate, William Webb (link)
I agree, the case should be about a conspiracy of terrorism--that's what the charges in the indictment amount to. But for some reason, the case is actually about jihad--which is what the charges in the indictment actually say.

Why did the magistrate say that there is evidence and argument about jihad and violent jihad? Basically because the indictment and the media (don't get me started) are using these words as technical terms. That is, as if we're supposed to actually know what they mean. One local paper even reverted to calling jihad "holy war." ("A family respected in the community was arrested and charged with fomenting violence and holy war.")

Haven't they got it into their heads yet that jihad does not mean holy war? They are starting to now, apparently, as I noticed that they clarify:
And like Ali Hassan, the father of defendant Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, they longed to explain their meaning of "jihad." It is a term that has come to signify holy war, but it has many other meanings. For Muslims it literally means "struggle" and can also refer to an internal desire to improve oneself.
Jihad does not, has not, and will not ever mean "holy war." It means something else, instead, and not in addition to. It does mean struggle--that's from its literal root. Thus it literally does mean struggle.

However, that's not to mean that it's only internal and self-oriented. It can be physical, and it can be violent. So the phrase "violent jihad" is not meaningless. A while back I wrote a post on jihad, in which I described four different categories of jihad, the fourth of which was the only one using force. And that was further divided into offensive and defensive. Nobody would argue with defensive jihad (somebody attacks you, invades you etc., you can fight back) but the offensive jihad with force was an interesting case. I wrote then:

Some time after the Muslims were allowed to fight defensively to protect themselves against aggression, Allah (SWT) eventually allowed them to fight offensively. Why? To end oppression, to allow the spread of da'wah (note: to allow it, not to force islam on anyone), to prevent the torture of Muslims, and to end the oppression of people who are interested in learning about Islam but are forcefully prevented from doing so. This kind of jihad must be declared by a Muslim khalifa, and is an act carried out by an Islamic state, and not a "rag-tag" group of dissatisfied youths. And as it happens, though there are 56 Muslim countries, there is not an Islamic state with a khalifa.

So if someone could perhaps figure out who the khalifah is, where the Islamic state is, then maybe the allegations of plotting "violent jihad" would actually make sense. But since I'm pretty sure that nobody can, we should simply refer to the alleged conspiratorial plot as what it actually is: terrorism.

Conspiracy of terrorism. Just that simple. Thank you, Mr. Magistrate.


Anonymous said...

your blog is very monotonous if not boring!

Anonymous said...

Just kidding!