Saturday, November 11, 2006

The nature of jihad

A buddy and I attended a recent lecture hosted by Georgetown University on jihad by Dr. Shah-Kazemi (an Ismaili Muslim living in the UK). I have to confess a lot of it went over my head, it was definately an in-depth talk suited towards Islamic scholars and other acedemics but it was interesting enough. From what I could glean from it the Qur'an and other fundamental Islamic works outline codes of conduct for war and fighting enemies. He then discussed historical examples from Damascus and Algeria to show how it should be properly applied - these examples outlined that non-Muslims should be shown mercy, be treated with respect when captured, and how to fight those who are actually attacking you and not others unrelated to the conflict. Unfortunately it ran overtime so there wasn't enough time to discuss the obvious question - why then do many fundamentalists/extremists not apply it this way. There was a question by someone in the audience that pointed out that much of his talk was based on his interpretation of key passages and asked how he knows that his interpretation is the correct one, but his answer went over my head (e.g. "words resaonating on both a spititual and metaphysical plane" kind of lost me).

Anyway, fairly interesting lecture and I might try to look up his historical examples to see if I can find out more about them. It definately painted a picture that jihad should not be some mob form of extremist violence.

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