We all know that jihad is a spiritual struggle within the soul of the believer, and that if it extends to the battlefield at all, it refers only to self-defense, right? Every day, of course, more evidence comes that large numbers of Muslims around the world don’t think of it this way at all.
This time it comes from an Australian named Zak Mallah. Says The Australian: “For the past two years he had been a vocal critic of the domestic intelligence agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs. He brought himself to the attention of authorities by suggesting he wanted to participate in a jihad act in Lebanon.
“However Mr Mallah had said he was referring to jihad in a metaphorical, not literal, sense.”
Hmm. What’s a metaphorical jihad, as opposed to a literal one? A war of words? The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Whatever this could have meant, it appears that Mallah may in fact have had something more “literal” in mind:
“Police last night laid terrorism charges against Sydney man Zak Mallah after taking possession of a jihad-style video and uncovering what they allege was a specific threat by him to kill an ASIO officer.” ASIO is the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.
“Mr Mallah, 20, of Condell Park, was charged at Bankstown police station with committing an action in preparation for a terrorist act and threatening a commonwealth officer.
“The video includes readings from the Koran and Mr Mallah holding a placard reading: ‘I will take you hostage.’ . . .
“The Weekend Australian revealed two weeks ago Mr Mallah had prepared a typed script claiming he was now prepared to die for his cause. . . .
“On September 14, NSW police arrested and charged Mr Mallah after finding a firearm and 100 rounds of ammunition in his unit.”
Meanwhile, another report adds that “Keysar Trad, a director of the Lebanese Muslim Association, said outside the court that he had spoken to Mallah by phone on Wednesday night.” Said Trad: “Personally, I don’t think he is a threat. He has not been a regular at the mosque at Lakemba. But since we started counselling we have tried to bring him to the mosque. He will require spiritual assistance.” Indeed. But is the spiritual assistance offered in the Lakemba mosque of the type favored by Jamal Badawi, or by Abu Zobayer? (Thanks to nicolei.)
UPDATE: Here is the beginning of a letter from Zak Mallah: “Peace be upon those who follow the guidance. This is Zak Mallah, Australian-born, Australian-bred. I start my letter with verses from the Koran, which outline the causes and reasons for my actions.” Kaysar Trad is also quoted in this article, saying: “He has previously expressed a confused understanding of the religion of Islam, particularly on the rulings of jihad and self-defence. And that needs to be rectified by education.” That rectification, if it can be successfully done, needs to be carried out on a global scale.