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Oklahoma Muslims Redefine Jihad

The lecture will be held in the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art as part of the museum association’s Islam Awareness Month.

Source : OnIslam & Newspapers / 13 Apr 2013

Countering growing Islamophobic campaigns, Muslims students at University of Oklahoma are holding a lecture on Friday, April 12, to introduce the true meaning of jihad, a term that is usually misused by anti-Islam campaigners.

“Jihad means to struggle or strive in a way or sake of God,” Anosha Syeda, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, told The Oklahoma Daily.

“Many times this word is given a negative connotation either by the media or government indicating that the religion of Islam encourages war, but in fact Islam promotes peace.”

Organized by OU’s Muslim Student Association, the lecture will be held in the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art as part of the museum association’s Islam Awareness Month.

Jihad is often stereotyped by Western media as meaning “holy war”.

But Muslim scholars have repeatedly affirmed that the word Jihad, which is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an, means "struggle" to do good and to remove injustice, oppression and evil from society.

Karen Armstrong, the prominent and prolific British writer on all three monotheistic religions, has criticized stereotyping the Arabic word "jihad" as merely meaning holy war.

“It is important for everyone to understand the true meaning to prevent stereotypes about Islam, so they can allow themselves to have a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in general,” Syeda said.

Oklahoma students’ effort is not the first to correct misconceptions about the term jihad in Islam.

Trying to show the true meaning of jihad, American Muslims have launched a billboard campaign to explain the true and proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.

The campaign, which reached Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, includes putting up public ads on buses and trains as well as social media websites, where users are asked to tweet what their Jihad (struggle) is using the #MyJihad hashtag.

US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.

A recent report by CAIR, the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.

A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.


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