How does jihad affect everyday Muslims?

I’m writing my masters dissertation at the moment about the triggers that cause people with radical beliefs to turn to violence in the name of those beliefs. It focusses on jihadist violence, as it is a major issue in international affairs right now, and it has got me thinking.

What have been the effects of jihadism on general Muslim populations? I’ve read academic studies and books and whatever but they distance you from how people actually feel. To have the strongest and, rightly, proudest part of your identity horribly tarnished by a minority of individuals who claim to share a similar identity but in fact want something above and beyond what is acceptable. Now obviously, the media’s portrayal of undefined ‘extremists’ and radicals doesn’t help. When a society who, by and large, has little other way of understanding, is shown images of protesters wearing traditional Muslim clothes next to subtitles of ‘extremists’, they are likely to inherit beliefs that are incorrect; this is the effect of propaganda!

I’m coming dangerously close to sounding like Russell Brand and making too many generalisations here. But essentially what I’m asking for is a little more consideration for the Muslims who have lived in Britain for decades and have contributed enormous amounts to its rich culture as well as its economy.

They are as proud to be British, as you are.

Please comment.

Image courtesy of addisvoice.com

4 comments

  1. “a minority of individuals who claim to share a part of your identity”?

    Firstly, if you’re writing a thesis then please, Google is your friend. Look up a few Muslim statistics. An alarmingly high proportion of Muslims support jihad, and provide tacit support.

    Second, jihadists do share the identity of Islam. Jihadists follow the instructions of the Koran, Sira and Hadiths to the letter. Saying that jihadists are not islamic and that the only real muslims are peaceful is like saying that Catholics are not Christian and the only real Christians are Protestant!

    In answer to the blog post title, it gives them an opportunity to wallow in islamofauxbic victimhood.

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    1. The number of Muslims who do not hold violent extremist beliefs, endorse takfir, and support jihad, however tacit, far outweighs those who do.
      While you are right in saying that jihadists do take their beliefs from scripture, they also abrogate the earlier, more peaceful parts from the Meccan period which preach tolerance. Jihadists undeniably come from Islam, I wasn’t trying to argue that they don’t. What I was saying, and I’m sorry for any confusion, was that I don’t think it’s fair to hold jihadists on the same level as ordinary Muslims.
      Even Muslims who practice Salafism aren’t necessarily supporters of violent jihad or takfir.

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      1. Sam, you are undertaking a masters. Please use critical thought and stop accepting taqiyya at face value!

        Let us suppose that only 1% of Muslims support or engage in Jihad (Go google: repeated surveys show the number to be far higher than this. Read about what Saudi financed madrasses teach in Pakistan). 1% of 1.5 bn is 15 million crazed jihadists. That’s a massive problem!

        As to abrogation, that’s in the koran and mainstream Islam…

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      2. I’m not confident about the scientific validity of your claims (and some on your blog) but none of this means that Muslims who are not engaged in jihad should be treated as if they are.

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