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Word Count: 485
Jihad literally translated into the words holy war is constantly making news for the world For example Yasir Arafats May 1994 call in Johannesburg for a jihad to liberate Jerusalem was a turning point in the peace process Israelis heard him speak about using violence to gain political ends and questioned his peaceable intentions Both Arafat himself and his aides then clarified that he was speaking about a peaceful jihad for Jerusalem The term jihad should cause little confusion for context almost always indicates what a speaker intends The variant interpretations are so deeply embedded in Islamic intellectual traditions that the usage of jihad is unlikely to be ambiguous An advocate of jihad as warfare indicates so through his goals This incident points to the problem with the word jihad What does this mean Two examples from leading American Muslim organizations both fundamentalist show the extent of disagreement this issue inspires The Council on American-Islamic Relations a Washington-based group flatly states that jihad does not mean holy war Rather it refers to a central and broad Islamic concept that includes the struggle to improve the quality of life in society struggle in the battlefield for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression CAIR even asserts that Islam knows no such concept as holy war In abrupt contrast the Muslim Students Association recently distributed an item with a Kashmir dateline Diary of a Mujahid Muslims for at least a millennium have disagreed about the meaning of jihad But there is an answer The concept of jihad as a moral struggle touches the daily lives of many Muslims Jihad as warfare though far better known has had a narrower impact In some cases like the assassination of Sadat jihad as warfare has had enormous consequences But it has never transcended the ethnic and political divisions within the Muslim world Few Muslim governments and few individual Muslims have acted in accord with doctrine
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