Wednesday, 10 July 2013

"The jihad that Ramadan brings"

Letter to New York Times [The Herald Tribune is the NYT overseas]:

There are two problems with Hesham Hassaballa's "The jihad that Ramadan brings". (International Herald Tribune, 9 July 2013)
First, Hassaballa says jihad is  "... the struggle to do good in one's life".  True enough, but only a minor part of the story.  Jihad's primary meaning is "to war against non-Muslims", as set out in the Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence, certified by Al-Azhar University.  The references to  jihad as "warfare" are 88% of all references in the Koran and Hadith.
Second, Hassaballa says "extremists... have a twisted view of Islam ...".  This is a common bromide which is never explained: how are the extremists "twisting" Islam?  In fact "extremists" are clearly motivated by Islamic jihadi doctrine to "fight in the way of Allah" [K 4.74].  
It does no-one  any favours to gloss over these facts. Hassaballa should have tackled them head on and suggested how they might be challenged.  That would indeed be a "struggle to do good" .
Yours, etc,
PF, HK...