Answering Jihad

By Rich Holdeman - Posted at Gentle Reformation:

Every time another Islamic terrorist blows up something or someone, political and media leaders speculate as to the root causes of jihad. What possesses people to sacrifice themselves for the sake of killing others? Former Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi, whose 2014 autobiography Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity describes his journey from committed apologist for Islam to born again Christian, has written helpfully this week in USA Today about the root causes of the radicalization of young Muslims.

While the US State Department has tried to blame the phenomenon on social and economic factors like lack of assimilation or opportunity or on US policy itself, Qureshi encourages us to look at what the ISIS recruiters actually say in their recruiting materials. He writes, “ISIL’s primary recruiting technique is not social or financial but theological.” As evidence he points to a recent two-page recruiting brochure in which there were multiple references made to the Quran and the hadith (the sayings of the prophet Muhammad). So according to Qureshi, the motivation for jihad comes from within the highest sources of authority in Islam itself.

Qureshi points out that a generation ago, a Muslim wanting to know what the religious tenants of Islam were did not have easy access to the hadith and other sacred writings. As a result he would ask his local elders or his imam. Now that the religious texts of Islam are available to all, jihad propagandists can appeal directly to the recruits using the texts themselves but bypassing the sanitizing interpretations of their non-violent communities. When confronted with the actual words of Muhammad as well as the progression of Muhammad’s thought over his life time, the reader is faced with a “message [featuring] violence with increasing intensity.”