Danish Intellligence Agency recently advised authorities to avoid using words like 'jihad' and 'martyr' while talking about terrorism. Before that, the US state department had issued an internal memo advising against the use of the term ‘jihadis’ or ‘jihadists’ to describe terrorists who use Islam to justify their actions. The use of these terms has been frustrating to many, like me, who see terrorist groups attacking civilians wrongly; rationalizing it through religion even though Islam has no sanction whatsoever for such acts.
The term Jihad literally means ‘to strive’. It is used, often along with ‘in the way of God’, to describe a struggle taken for God’s sake. This struggle can vary from personal to national – the term can be used to describe an effort one makes for self-improvement or a large scale project undertake for a society’s betterment.
The use of these terms to describe terrorists has also caused confusion both in the Muslim world as well as in the West. A Muslim unaware of terrorists’ motivations and actions is bound to accept their actions religiously valid. Perhaps, it is for this reason that in the last few years, support for groups such as Taliban and Al-Qaeda has dropped significantly.
While there are theological reasons to reject Taliban and Al-Qaeda actions that involve acts such as suicide bombings and attacks on civilian targets, it is equally important to understand the social shift in Muslim attitude. Many western scholars and groups wrongly club all Muslims together and label them all terrorists. But the research data indicates otherwise.
Pew Global Attitudes Project published a report last year on global trends subtitled “Sharp Decline in Support for Suicide Bombings in Muslim Countries”. The study noted a decrease in support for suicide bombings and similar tactics since 2002 in seven of the eight countries in which data was available. The chapter on Muslim attitudes starts with the following summary:
The overall point to note is that Muslims themselves are against suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians. Many Western groups and authors, such as Craig Winn, tend to label all Muslims as terrorists. But the reality is very different, and far more promising than that. Such groups and authors, whom I see on an extreme too when they club all Muslims together, do not realize that many Muslims governments themselves are fighting terrorists. For instance, the governments and militaries fighting terrorists in Pakistan and many other countries are Muslim too. So are the lawyers who prosecute them and judges who convict them!
'Jihad' isn't anyway related to terror..
Wrong usages of the word 'jihad' must be stopped...by the Media & the Government...
Is it not true that true Islamic countries are, by decree of the Islamic faith, Theocracies - with no hint of democracy at all?