If infidel and Muslim/muslim [see earlier posts] are the one-two punch of Islamic misunderstanding for non-Muslims, the next word is the knock-out.
The mere mention of the word conjures images of...well, you know what you're
conjuring right now.
But a recent campaign sponsored by CAIR (Council on American-Islamic
Relations) is providing clarity about jihad's meaning.
According to a new website, MyJihad: Reclaiming Islam, jihad means
"to struggle against barriers & odds in search of a better
place." Launched at the end of last year in response to an Islamic
hate initiative across the country, MyJihad clarifies the term by offering
statements from American Muslims.
"My jihad is to always pursue new ideas and conquer new
"My jihad is to build friendships across the aisle."
"My jihad is freedom and peace for Syria."
And then the website asks, "What's yours?"
On a deeper level, the campaign invites us to examine our relationship—not just
with people and religion—but also with language.
Jihad is an Islamic religious term. When the media or other speakers
misappropriate the word jihad for non-religious
or political purposes—defining the word in a way that degrades or misrepresents its sacred
meaning—our ability to engage each other in a straightforward way is damaged.
The integrity of our relationships is tied to the integrity of our language.
In the classic novel, Alice: Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty brags,
"When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more
Then Alice challenges, “The question is whether you can make words mean so
many different things."
Yes, words can have different meanings. But when a religious term emerges
void of spiritual value, I side with Alice.
My jihad is to use words more precisely and, whenever possible, clarify
words that deceive and misinform.
What's your jihad?