The term, "Jihad," in the Moslem vocabulary means "holy war." To me, it's quite a stretch to think of war as "holy." Wouldn't you consider peace to be a lot more "holy?" Shouldn't the Moslems be promoting "holy peace" instead of "holy war?"
"Jihad" seems to be an important doctrinal concept to Moslems. It comes directly from the Moslems' supposedly holy book, the Koran. It is taught as the main means for the spreading of Islam to non-Moslem peoples and nations. Islam has grown and advanced historically primarily by warfare, by conquering with the sword. It has sometimes been called, "the religion of the sword."
So it is important for non-Moslems to understand that "jihad" is based on plain hatred. Hatred is proclaimed regularly and shamelessly in all Moslem mosques. Hatred is taught to young Moslem children in Islamic schools. The children are challenged to want to become suicide bombers. All Moslems are taught that they have the right and the obligation not only to hate, but also to kill all "infidels," that is any and all non-Moslems, including any and all Christians and any and all Jews. And all this is supposed to be considered "holy." Shouldn't love and peace be considered more "holy?"
What makes the Moslem consider the United States to be the "Great Satan" and Israel the "Little Satan?" What makes them want to destroy the US and Israel and all the Christian and Jewish people? It has to be their hatred again, which is supposed to be "holy."
Can't the Moslems see and respect that the United States is undoubtedly the best country in the entire world when it comes to being good? Can't they see that internally the US people have more freedom and liberty than people in any other nation, that the US economy has enabled US people to have the highest living standard in all the world, and that the US has functioned amazingly well with a people tolerant democratic government for more than 200 years?
Can't the Moslems get it in their heads that the United States people are the most kind and generous in all the world when it comes to helping other nations? Can't they acknowledge that the US has given more emergency aid than anyone else to other countries in their times of catastrophes and special needs. Can't they recognize that the US presence in so many places around the world is designed to preserve peace, not conflict?
Can't the Moslems admit that Israel is a miracle nation with the lifestyle of the common people so much superior to the lifestyle in any Moslem nation? Can't they see that Israel lives by democratic principles and with a democratic government, whereas Moslem nations are ruled by authoritarian leaders and harsh Islamic law? Can't they admit that Israel, though a young and small nation, is a model nation in education, agriculture, industry and technology, whereas Moslem nations remain largely underdeveloped? Which picture would you consider to be more "holy?"
What makes the Palestinian Arab leader, Mahmoud Abbas, continue to refuse all the efforts for peace that have been offered by Israeli leaders? He obviously does not want peace. He responds instead with violence and terrorism, which are certainly types of "jihad." And that is supposed to be "holy?" Again we ask, even to Moslems, wouldn't peace be more "holy?"
One more thing. Recently the Secretary-General of the Arab League made an interesting statement. He said that "the peace between Israel and Egypt is no longer holy." He added that "it cannot be considered equal to the holy Koran," and that "the Bible of the Jewish people is unholy." He made the statement immediately after a large mob of Egyptians ransacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, causing the Israeli ambassador and all his staff to flee for their lives.
So it seems now that all Egyptian leaders are calling for the peace treaty with Israel to be annulled. Egyptian media have concentrated strong verbal assaults on Israel. One Egyptian leader declared, "It was a mistake that Egypt signed a peace treaty with apes and pigs," a common Moslem slur referring to the Jews. More Islamic "holy hatred," to be sure.
So from the perspective of our Christian principles and values, the Moslems obviously have this concept of "holy" all wrong. The Palestinians, Egyptians, and other Arabs all have it backwards or upside down. To think that hatred, conflict, violence, terrorism, and war are "holy," is calling evil good. That is the diametric opposite of "holy." True holiness is truth, righteousness, goodness, and justice. Yes, peace is a whole lot more "holy" than war. Wouldn't it be nice if the Arabs and Moslems could understand this?
Dr. Al Snyder is a former professor of Communications at Liberty University in Virginia and North Greenville University. He has done extensive missionary work in Israel and Africa.