A little more understanding, please
It is sad to see just how easily a simple word can cause a world of trouble.
The word “jihad” has become synonymous with violence, among young Muslims, and therefore among non-Muslims. The “Jihad bis saif,” or armed struggle, is often referred to as “the Lesser Jihad,” but for many in the West it is the only jihad we have experienced. It was never intended to be a call to indiscriminate violence, but a reminder that the Muslim has a duty to defend his culture against attack from outside. Like any other society, in other words.
Looking back over history since the Second World War, it is difficult to avoid seeing many examples of Islamic countries coming under attack by non-Muslims. The French colonization of, and reluctant retreat from, Algeria can be regarded as such an attack against Islam, as can the ongoing treatment of Palestinian Muslims by their Israeli neighbours. There are countless other instances of East-West confrontation that can be interpreted as attacks on Islam.
Young Muslim men who come under the influence of radical Imams see themselves not as aggressors, but as defenders of their people and their religious culture. The young of every society tend to see the world in black and white terms, and young Muslims are attracted by the radical teachers.
Their parents, like the parents of every culture, are more inclined to practice a less confrontational “Jihad bin nefs,” or “Jihad by the heart,” which is a struggle to drive out the evil from one’s own thoughts and behaviour.
Most devout Jews and Christians continually engage in a similar internal struggle.
While we in the “post-religious” West have accepted mini-skirts and twerking as innocent exhibitionism, to the devout Muslim this behaviour is an attack on his/her culture, which is noted for its modesty and its chivalrous respect for women. It’s hardly surprising that modern jihadis should turn their violence against nightclubs and rock concerts, given the unsubtle sexual nature of our Western entertainments. What we see as harmless fun, the devout Muslim sees as rampant Evil.
I don’t think it’s very useful to simply condemn the Muslim community as “barbaric.”
They have, after all, an ancient and highly advanced culture. We have learnt much of our medical, scientific and mathematical knowledge from Islam, and our concept of romantic love was taken directly from their poets.
It seems to me that an influx of Muslim immigrants would be a positive advantage to Canada, and to our neighbour to the South.
Ed Healy Marystown