Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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Jihad: a delicate term

Re : "More canucks heading to Iraq?" Apr. 2

To the Editor:

With the war on Iraq getting bloodier, The Gazette informs the Western community with war updates on an almost daily basis. In one of its articles, however, The Gazette quotes the Iraqi information minister calling for "jihad," and it goes on to explain "Éor holy war."

Let's go back a little bit in time and look at The Gazette's archive, specifically volume 96, issue 68, dated Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003, and read an article written by Marshall Bellamy titled "Islam Day spreads awareness."

In this article, Bellamy quotes a representative from the Muslim Students' Association who explained the term "jihad" and pointed out that this term is popularly translated as a holy war, which is wrong, and explained that "the word literally means struggle, which relates to the struggle within ourselves, not a violent struggle with others over religious issues."

So, I seriously wonder, why does the term "holy war" attract so many journalists? Interestingly enough, according to Sheikh Hamid Slimi, a prominent Canadian imam, the term "holy war" is alien to Islamic literature, and you cannot find a reference to it in any Islamic resource whatsoever.

The term "jihad" refers to the struggle within oneself against evil and the struggle to defend one's soul, property and honour when attacked. This term can in no way be explained as holy war. I am here to defend the Iraqi regime, but the illegitimate and inhumane attack that the Iraqi people are facing requires them to stand up and resist and to perform jihad against the aggressive invading power.

Over all, I request The Gazette to be more careful in explaining religious terms, and to avoid as much as possible the direct "copy-and-paste" technique, since it addresses an intellectual and educated sector of our society. However, I still really wonder what awareness days are meant to be.

Rafiq Qutub
Engineering I

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