Jihad - A Holy War Essay

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Jihad

It was once a word unfamiliar to American ears. But in recent years it has become all too familiar. The actions of Muslim militants and terrorists have seared the word into American consciousness.

Yet even with thousands of innocent civilians killed on American soil by Islamic terrorists, the full significance of the Muslim concept of jihad has not been grasped by the American public.

In the days after September 11, 2001, American leaders rushed to portray Islam as a peaceful religion that had been "hijacked" by a fanatical band of terrorists. One hopes that these assurances were merely tactical—that nobody was meant to believe them and that they were meant to assure the Muslim world that the inevitable American
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They will have to face it in the future.

The Muslim Worldview

To understand the connection between Islam and violence, one must understand certain facets of the Muslim worldview. One of the most important is the fact that, according to the historic Muslim understanding, there is no separation between religion and government—what in Christianity would be called the separation of church and state.

We are not speaking here of the secularist idea that the state should marginalize religion and discourage people from voting their consciences as Christians. We are talking about the idea that church and state are not the same thing and that they have different spheres of activity.

This idea of a separation between religion and government is not characteristic of most peoples in world history. It is a contribution to the world of ideas that was made by Christians—indeed, by Christ himself. In his book Islam and the West, historian Bernard Lewis explains:

"The notion that religion and political authority, church and state, are different and that they can or should be separated is, in a profound sense, Christian. Its origins may be traced to the teachings of Christ, notably in the famous passage in Matthew 22:21, in which Christ is quoted as saying: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are
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