In the wake of “Arab Spring”, many consider the term “jihad” as one associated with the violent and forceful implementation of Islamist rules and beliefs on a terrorized population.
According to the Kushagra Aniket, a Cornell Univeristy student, a student group says that that view is wrong.
The Islamic Alliance for Justice campus club at Cornell University has launched an “awareness campaign” thao alter and redefine the controversial word “jihad,” likening the term typically associated with terrorist acts to instead mean moral struggle.
“Jihad is a human experience of internal struggle,” argues the student organization’s website highlighting the campaign. “It holds a very sacred meaning in Islam, often associated with bettering oneself, achieving patience or finding balance.”
In contrast, the U.S. Department of Justice uses a more accurate notion of the term when referring to Muslim extremists and their terrorist acts, conducted under the guise of “jihad” or Holy War.
Yet students at Cornell chide the “Western media” for using the word jihad “in the context of terror, portraying the word in a politicized and terrifying manner.” The Islamic Alliance for Justice describes its campaign as a struggle against “Islamophobia” and the alleged misappropriation of the word “jihad.”
The campaign recently culminated in “Cornell’s 161 Faces of Jihad,” a Tumblr photomontage that shows students posing with a small whiteboard on which they have written their own interpretation of jihad.
In one picture, a young woman sits on a concrete step, and smiles as she displays a whiteboard on which she has written: “My jihad is to stop trying to change the cards I was dealt, and rather the way I play my hand.”
In another photo, a young man smiles as he holds up his definition of the word: “To keep things light and happy, like whipped cream!”
Other student definitions include: “finding my voice in politics,” “being a role model to my little brother,” and “reconciling who I am with who I want to be.”
Another student offers up his definition as: “My jihad is against social injustice and apartheid. Free Palestine!”
The group notes on its Tumblr website that it was inspired to undertake the campaign in part because of recent subway ads that state: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
The mission statement of Islamic Alliance for Justice, officially described as a secular student organization, is to “raise awareness and coordinate effective response to local, national, and global issues of social, economic and political justice.”
Campus Student Group Promotes Jihad As a Moral Struggle (The College Fix)