By: Bhaskar Roy
Source: Times of India
Muslim activists and opinion-makers on Sunday widely approved of President Barack Obama’s remarks on jihad without hiding their reservations about the US policy towards the current turmoil in the Islamic world.
They sought to draw a line between the real meaning of `jihad’ and the current spell of violence targeting the innocent.
In their opinion Obama’s comments on jihad at Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College earlier in the day was a clear attempt at separating the violent campaign from the basic concept of jihad.
“Jihad can in no way assume the form of violence against the innocent and those who are perpetrating such violent acts have done great disservice to Islam,” said Kamal Farooqi, a prominent member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. “To that extent President Obama is correct,” he said.
Farooqi agreed with Obama that certain elements had distorted the image of Islam by resorting to violence in the name of faith.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind leader Maulana Masood Madani said that Obama `correctly’ understood that wrong impressions about jihad had been created in the wake of distortions of the concept by certain elements. “It’s true that jihad has been wrongly interpreted by some people; however, I don’t know by what yardsticks the US brands someone a jihadi or non-jihadi,” said Madani, a Rajya Sabha member.
The same view was shared by Congress MP Rashid Alvi who forcefully argued that Islam could in no way be judged by the activity of terrorist organisations like al-Qaida or Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“He is right — jihad originally meant struggle against injustice, it does not mean killing the innocent,” Alvi said.
He said that the current crisis facing Islam had been set off by the activity of a small group. “There is nothing wrong with the religion, Obama is right,” he said.