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More on jihad and what it means to Muslims

Reader comment on item: The Evil Isn't Islam
in response to reader comment: All Muslims are commanded to Jihad and Jihad does mean WAR!!! HOLY WAR!!

Submitted by Jonathan M (Singapore), Oct 3, 2006 at 11:42

At the risk of getting away from the point of Dr Pipes' article,
1. I am aware of the aggressive content in the Quran. Much of the Quran is obscure but these bits are quite clear. An important question is what do they mean to Muslims.
2. My original point was to set an earlier correspondent straight on jihad's primary meaning in Arabic, which is anything but peaceful.
3. The Muslims I am familiar with in Southeast Asia who would understand jihad in a more peaceful sense than that in the Arabic language come from cultures which are quite different to the highly patriarchal and tribal cultures of the Arab world and Pakistan and preserve much of a relatively peaceful and tolerant pre-Islamic culture. Most do not know much Arabic. In a number of cases I have been close enough to the individuals of whom I speak to know whether they are dissembling.
Sadly, jihadist and other Islamist propagandists are at work even in these cultures and are doing their best to realign these peoples' core beliefs and behaviors in a more Middle Eastern direction. I am not completely optimistic that these cultures will in the long run resist the infiltration of ideas from the Middle East and Pakistan which is now under way. I hope I am wrong here.

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