The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), identified by the U.S. government as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, has launched an advertising campaign to change how the term “jihad” is viewed by the public, promoting a definition that is so broad it becomes meaningless.
Said another way, in the words of one television news station waxing poetic about the campaign, the purpose of the campaign is to take the stigma out of the word jihad.
For its part, CAIR says the purpose of its “MyJihad” campaign is to “[take] back Islam from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike.”
CAIR says “Islamophobes” are consciously misinterpreting the term and its negative stigma as a way of bashing innocent Muslims. But really, according to the “MyJihad” website, “Jihad means ‘struggling in the way of God.’ The way of God being goodness, justice, passion, compassion, etc.”
Promoting “goodness, justice and compassion” must have been CAIR’s goal in their recent demand that Saudi Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni be allowed into America after the U.S. government refused his entry on the grounds that he was a dangerous radical Muslim extremist.
Al-Qarni was named as one of the Saudi clerics who influenced Osama Bin Laden’s followers. You can watch just one of the documented rants of Al-Qarni (below) where he praises “the Jihad, the sacrifice and the resistance against the occupiers in Iraq. We curse all of them every night and pray that Allah will annihilate them, tear them apart and grant us victory over them … Throats must be slit and skulls must be shattered." Al-Qarni also says he prays that Allah "will destroy the Jews and their helpers from among the Christians and the Communists, and that He will turn them into the Muslims' spoils.”
Al-Qarni was scheduled to speak at the annual convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which brings together Islamists from around the U.S. and outside the country. (See our article about the convention here.) CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad, who was speaking at the same event, protested Al-Qarni's exclusion from the U.S. on the part of the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security officials.
Awad has also joined forced with the radical extremist Muslim preacher and virulent anti-Semite Imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader. Awad and Qaradawi recently shared the stage at a news conference in Qatar announcing their collaboration on a high-budget movie to be made about the life of Mohammed.
Qaradawi has also spoken about his desire for “his jihad,” saying, “I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom.”
Interestingly, CAIR-Chicago, the branch responsible for the “MyJihad” campaign, holds joint events with Imam Zaid Shakir, a widely-respected scholar that often speaks at events held by CAIR and other groups originating with the Brotherhood.
Shakir also acknowledges that jihad can be a form of holy war. It can be violent (like killing members of the U.S. 82nd Airborne) and non-violent, such as "institution-building” for the Islamist cause—or as the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood calls it, “civilization jihad.” In fact, in the video of Shakir that is on the "MyJihad" website, he says that Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks wasn’t an act of terrorism (see below).
These are just three spiritual leaders with whom CAIR has joined forces in their goal of “taking back Islam from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike.”
CAIR knows its campaign is misleading – starting with their own support of extremists (not surprisingly, Awad, himself, is on record as supporting Hamas, an extremist terrorist group) to the fact that all four Sunni schools of thought define jihad as a “struggle” in the context of a holy war.
By assuring us that “jihad means ‘struggling in the way of God.’ The way of God being goodness, justice, passion, compassion, etc,” CAIR is trying to convince us that virtually any kind of non-violent “struggle” — such as learning to play the guitar or saving up for retirement – is jihad. CAIR and its fellow Islamists can then explain away almost any uncomfortable statement about jihad they have ever made.
But the story doesn’t end there. CAIR is also urging the media to drop the term, “Islamist.” Today, the term “Islamist” is viewed negatively. Therefore, being Islamists, CAIR argues that the term means nothing more than politically active Muslims. Since it can’t change the term’s negative perception, CAIR wants it gone. (See RI,org’s article, CAIR to Media: 'Stop Using the Term Islamist' ).
Yet, terms like “Islamist” and “jihad” are necessary to define the ideological conflict we are in. If we can’t define it, we can’t fight it.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.