Osama Bin Laden and his followers have done the utmost disservice to Islam. I view their misrepresentation of Jihad as one amongst the many. In reading a recent article in the Chronicle Review (http://chronicle.com/review/, retrieved May 23, 2008), there was an analysis done on Islam & Jihad. I think the scholars have done an excellent job on the literal meaning of it, providing an underlying understanding of the context and the continued debate that is going on. I have noted an excerpt here below:
"....'There is a perennial argument that goes on among Muslims about whether jihad is really about war or peace. I guess the short answer is that it is both, ' explains Michael Bonner, a professor of medieval Islamic history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and author of Jihad in Islamic history (Princeton University Press, 2006). In the (Holy) Koran, 'jihad means more than war. It means striving, doing the right thing, going the extra mile, convincing, persuading and, if necessary, fighting,' said Bonner."
As I read certain historical accounts (i.e. Robert Fiske's work on the current history of Middle East) I am not at all convinced and do not believe that Osama Bin Laden lived up to exactly what jihad required. We must strive for peace and harmony. What has war brought us? Nothing but misery. The policies pursued by the United States has not only been unhelpful, it has contributed greatly to the disaster we are currently faced with. What is bothersome is how the attention is again shifting towards Iran. Iran is the new bogeyman. The nature of the Government in Iran is again not the focus. The issues is the misguided policy which has led us to where we are today. We could have done wonders with 600 Billion Dolllars. Now, we'll be faced with unforseen costs for years to come...just because as Gore Vidal recently said during an interview with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera, President Bush wanted to be a War Time President.