The meaning of jihad
I refer to the article Rats Leaving A Sinking Ship by Kenneth Zammit Tabona (March 22).
I would like to explain that jihad is a beautiful word and a great Islamic concept because it means to sacrifice, to struggle, to make an effort for a noble cause. It implies fighting against occupation and social and political injustice. That is why we note that the concept of jihad played a great role in the liberation of many Islamic countries from colonialism.
It entails self-purification and doing good deeds. A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: "I want to join you in fighting the enemies". The Prophet asked him: "Are your parents alive?" The man answered: "Both of them are alive". The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Go and make jihad with them, by being kind to them".
Jihad is no problem in itself. The problem is that, unfortunately, this beautiful and noble concept is hijacked, distorted and abused by a few extremists who do not represent the majority of Muslims who love peace and are law abiding citizens.
Islam does not teach fighting against other religions and it permits war only for self-defence. Islam teaches Muslims to co-exist peacefully with the followers of other religions. The Holy Qur'an (Sura 60: 8) states: "Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them For Allah loveth those who are just".
Of course, there are certain fanatic and extremist Muslims who misinterpret the teaching of the Holy Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to justify and legalise wars against the followers of other religions and even against their fellow Muslims who do not agree with their opinions and practices.
Islam should be judged by its own teachings and not by the misinterpretations of a few ignorant persons. Fanatics and extremists do exist in every religion but we all, irrespective of our religions, have to be fair and cooperate to promote the values of tolerance, mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence. The majority of Muslims in Europe, whether of European or non-European origin, are peaceful people who are loyal to Europe and want to be part and parcel of the societies in which they live.
Terrorism does not distinguish between Muslims and non-Muslims. In fact, the Muslim victims of terrorism are far more numerous than non-Muslims. An example of this is what is going on daily in Iraq.
We all should cooperate to fight extremism, hatred and racism and to fight the ideologies, the provocative propaganda and different causes which generate such evil values.