A group of Muslim-American activists has launched an ad campaign to reclaim the often misunderstood word “jihad,” arguing that it is not an affectation of religious war, but a personal and spiritual struggle for self improvement.
“[Jihad] is not aggression, and it does not mean to commit harm against other people,” he explained. “If people commit harm against innocent people, it will be in violation of the spirit of Islam and a violation of the concept of jihad.”
A blog on the “My Jihad” site, written by Hesham Hassaballa, describes in excruciating detail how his daughter succumbed to lymphoma. “There is not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t scream out in horror that I lost my baby forever,” he explains. “Sometimes, I want to literally scream out – to try to comfort the devastating torment I endure each and every day. But I don’t, and that is my Jihad.”
Other entries on Twitter as of Monday morning included @ZahraBilloo, who wrote: “#MyJihad is challenging discriminatory (read: racist) corporate and government policies.” User @Saduf_l added: “#MyJihad is being polite to those who give me every reason not to. I must remember, Allah (swt) loves those who are kind.”
Though Awad admitted to CNN that the donor-funded campaign is facing an “uphill battle,” he said he must stand up for his faith against extremists who have used the word “jihad” to describe violence, and to Islamophobic individuals who circulate hateful propaganda. “You are trying to undo accumulation of misperception and mispractice,” Awad insisted. “Misperception by non-Muslims and mispractice by some Muslims, and I think it’s important for us to take this initiative.”
The video below is from CNN, aired Monday, Feb. 4, 2013.
The video below was published to YouTube on Dec. 13, 2013.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.