Letter to the editor
Misconception generates reply
May 1, 2008
In last week’s letter to the editor by Muriel Montgomery titled “Iraq war is more than signs, chants,” Montgomery gives her opinion on a previous letter to the editor addressing the war in Iraq.
The reason we are writing is not because of Montgomery’s opinion on the war, but because of her misconception of Islam. She stated that “Islamic law allows and encourages jihad (and the oppression, rape and circumcision of women).”
The problem we have with her statements is that they are false. This statement had nothing to do with her argument and we have taken it offensively.
In Islam, the word “jihad” literally means to struggle. The current mass media has dubbed the word to mean holy war, which is not its only true meaning.
According to Islamic text, there are two forms if jihad or struggle.
The small jihad, Jihad-al-Asghar, refers to the rules and regulations related to war times such as mandating the Muslims should not kill innocent beings.
The bigger (greater) jihad, or Jihad-Al-Akbar, refers to the constant struggle of humans to do well in this world (and fight against sin).
When Montgomery also mentioned that Islam allows the raping, oppressing and circumcising of women, she was also misleading the readers.
Nowhere in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, does it allow such violent actions towards women. In particular, female mutilation is a pre-Islamic and pre-Christianity practice found mainly in Africa.
Those who still practice mutilation of women do so because of cultural tradition, not due to Islam.
We’d like to end this letter with a story of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who once gave advice to a Muslim who did not know which parent he should side with.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: first, your mother; second, your mother; third, your mother, and last: your father.
This story is a great example of how important women are in Islam.
If woman are not as important as men, the Prophet (PBUH) would not have given mothers such a high priority over the father.