Monday, August 27, 2007

Chomsky Wrong on "Jihad"

Noam Chomsky, world renowned linguist and political thinker, has previously been accused by David Horowitz of the Front Page Rag of waging a "jihad" against the United States because of some of his anti-authoritarian views. Even his activism against Israel's war on Lebanon elicited an Israeli media of accusing him of [wait-for-it] applauding "jihad". Of course, jihad like other Arabic words (eg. mujahideen, madrassah, dhimmi) is a media buzzword. Unlike the so-called noble word "crusade", jihad is synonymous with holy war and aggression. But what does jihad really mean? The truth is that unlike the word "crusade" as in Bush's notable "this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take awhile", jihad has nothing to do with terrorising the 'enemy' out of religious bound duty. There is no concept of holy war in Islam, as I've said before.

It is an Arabic word the root of which is Jahada, which means to strive for a better way of life. The nouns are Juhd, Mujahid, Jihad, and Ijtihad. The other meanings are: endeavor, strain, exertion, effort, diligence, fighting to defend one's life, land, and religion.

Jihad should not be confused with Holy War; the latter does not exist in Islam nor will Islam allow its followers to be involved in a Holy War. The latter refers to the Holy War of the Crusaders.

The above definition is the most concise and straightforward you'll find on the subject. But now to roll back, and address Chomsky's own misuse of this word. In April of 2007, Chomsky said on Democracy Now! while referring to Alan Dershowitz, an apologist for Israeli apartheid and terrorism, who was rightly accused by Norman Finkelstein of plagiarising and spreading lies: "he launched a jihad against Norman Finkelstein, simply to try to vilify and defame him, in the hope that maybe what he’s writing will disappear." I agree with Chomsky's choice of words, like "liar" and "maniac", toward the media hack Dershowitz. But jihad, the professor of linguistics should know, doesn't mean what he thinks it means. It means a righteous struggle. It doesn't mean lying, vilifying and filing suits against academics who take you to task. Alan Dershowitz like Osama bin Laden is incapable of jihad.

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