Here we go again: another dhimmi professor explains it all for us. Did you know that jihad is actually a spiritual struggle? And that Al-Qaeda represents a tiny minority of extremists, much like … Timothy McVeigh? And that the Qur’an’s violent passages are just like the Old Testament’s?
From the Wausau Daily Herald, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
STEVENS POINT – While coalition forces laid siege to insurgents holed up in the Iraqi city of Fallujah on Monday, a University of Wisconsin Stevens Point professor clarified some misconceptions about jihad, a term often associated with terrorism.
Speaking to a lecture hall filled with students and local residents, UWSP professor of history Howard Eissenstat dispelled the notion that jihad explicitly refers to a holy war against infidels. Rather, he said, the Islamic term refers broadly to “a struggle” – be it spiritual, moral or political.
Though jihad has taken on myriad meanings in the modern era, it has become associated with nationalist struggles during the 20th century, Eissenstat said. He cited Hezbollah as one example of a nationalist organization that uses the concept of jihad to justify violence against its enemies, namely Israel.
Al-Qaida, he said, is not as widely accepted in the Islamic world.
“You might compare (al-Qaida) quite fairly to the Michigan Militia and Timothy McVeigh,” Eissenstat said. “They claim to represent Christianity, but they don’t do so accurately.”
Eissenstat likened the Quran’s usage of militaristic imagery to passages from the Old Testament, which sometimes include calls to violence. Neither text, he said, accurately reflects the nature of its religion.
“If you look at the Old Testament, there are all sorts of things we think of as contextual … You’ll often see people reading (religious) texts for positive things and negative things to support their thinking,” Eissenstat said.
Professor Eissenstat? Yes, me in the back. A few questions, please?
1. I understand that “jihad” means “struggle,” and that it is validly understood as a “spiritual struggle” within Islamic tradition. But do you really mean to say that that means that it isn’t also a holy war? Are you aware that it has also been understood as a holy war against infidels throughout Islamic history, and that radical Muslims today interpret it as such around the world, based on copious evidence from the Qur’an and Islamic tradition? Are you aware that some leading radical Muslim theorists, including Hassan Al-Banna and Abdullah Azzam, actually rejected the idea of jihad as a spiritual struggle as based on a weak hadith (that is, a false tradition of Muhammad), and that indeed, the saying attributed to Muhammad establishing this idea does not appear in the hadith sources that Muslims consider most reliable?
2. If Al-Qaeda is comparable to McVeigh, can you please point out the McVeighite churches in Christianity? Can you please show me where the global movement of Christian McVeighites can be found? Can you explain why there are no such churches or terrorist groups, while Islamic jihadists can be found in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Chechnya, Bosnia, Nigeria, Liberia, the Netherlands, and elsewhere?
3. If the Qur’an and the Old Testament are equally violent, can you please show me where in the Old Testament is an open-ended command for believers to wage war against unbelievers, comparable to Qur’an 9:5 and 9:29? If this is just a matter of some radicals taking some verses out of context, why is warfare against unbelievers a constant of Islamic history, with explicit justification in these verses and Islam’s teachings about jihad, while it is not a constant of Jewish or Christian tradition?
I look forward to hearing from you.