Islam's Idea of Holy War

There is no exact Islamic equivalent to the concept of just war, but an equally complex notion stands in its place: jihad. The term has become disturbingly familiar to Westerners, but its meaning is far broader than holy war, the sense in which it has been brandished by Saddam Hussein and numerous Middle East militants. In the Koran the Prophet Muhammad is depicted as a divinely inspired military leader who unified formerly separate Arab tribes around his new faith. While the Koran most often uses the concept of jihad in the military sense, the word actually translates as "striving." According to...

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