ABSTRACT

Jihad, War, and Terrorism   [open pdf - 97KB]

"Muslim cries of 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great) and calls for 'al-Jihad' have rung out on Middle Eastern battlefields throughout the twentieth century. Yet, American military analysts and historians have failed to devote any serious attention to studying Islam and its relationship to war. The suicide attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 have generated a new interest in the relationship among terrorism, radical Islam, and religion of Islam. In response to the attacks, President George Bush has declared war on terrorism, especially on those responsible for the horrific deeds. However, his administration understands that it must prevent the struggle from turning into a West versus Islam confrontation. To avoid this development requires a critical appreciation of Islamic traditions on Jihad and war. For wherever there will be Muslim soldiers, guerrillas, or terrorists engaged in military operations, appeals for Jihad will ring out. [...] Studying Islam presents an intellectual challenge to Americans. Muslims generally regard unity of politics and religion as the ideal and, therefore, mix faith and war together. American political tradition, on the other hand, enshrines the clear separation of church and state. Americans are by nature skeptical of religion intruding into politics. Calls to Jihad, thus, invoke images of religious fanaticism and extremism. Such a view is dead wrong. In fact, the religion of Islam contains strong moral and ethical principles on Jihad and the conduct of war, and there is a strong tradition against killing innocent people. Radical Islam, however, generally preaches total war against its opposition and therefore condones the killing of some civilians as part of Jihad."

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U.S. Army Command and General Staff College: http://www.cgsc.edu/
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