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Essay On Jihad

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Due to violent acts by radical Islamic terrorist groups, the Western world has grappled with defining the Quranic term Jihad. The World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 have only exacerbated their confusion. It is important to understand what the word “Jihad” means before one can analyze how it being interpreted or misrepresented by the west. In Islam, Jihad refers to a duty that muslims must fulfill, or a religious duty. It could also mean the fight against someone’s negative emotions as referred to in the Oxford Islamic Studies or it could mean the struggle against nonbelievers. For example,converting non believers for the improvement of Islamic society is something that embodies the word Jihad. In some books containing Islamic law and the Quran it could mean the armed struggle against the disbelievers. It also means submission to peace and total submission to god as referred to in the Oxford Islamic Studies.
Today the word is used without religious relation and directly means the crusade to promote Islamic religion. Whenever the words Islamic or holy are added to the meaning or are in the context it is used in a religious connotation. Another meaning that tends to be a lot stronger or more apparent in Western societies is that Jihad and terrorism are somehow related or are the same thing. This paper will focus on the many different meanings of Jihad and how it has changed with time since 9/11. (As referred to in the Oxford Islamic Studies)
Before 9/11, countries where Islam was not a primary religion were not even aware of the word Jihad. Today, Jihad is a word that is met with negative emotions in non-Islamic countries. Depending on the area the word Jihad means different things. In Islamic practicing countries the word has reli...

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...nbelievers. After 9/11 to many Americans the word Jihad was unclear to to them because of distortion from the media. This became related to terrorism because the terrorist groups used it as justification. So it was a combination of unknowing and media distortion which made the word Jihad related to terrorism.
In conclusion the meaning of the word Jihad has definitely changed tremendously since the 9/11 attacks. The word once meaning something purely religious and a holy duty to the followers of Islam, is now met with disdain and negative emotions and media world over. When one hears the word Jihad, he or she thinks of terrorism. It is unfortunate that the two have been linked together, but that is the effect that terrorism has on society. It instills a sense of fear and insecurity in people, and this in turn has led to a once pure term becoming a sign of evil.
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