Critical Commentary

Posted on December 17, 2012 by


There is an unmistakably negative connotation that accompanies the term Musim in the West. Since the attack on the World trade centre there has been an attack on Islam and anything relating to the religion. There has been a lack of open- mindedness and stereotyping on the part of the US. Not all Muslins are the same, and not all have the same purpose.

This leads me to an article I recently read on Aljazeera titled “Fighting Islamophobia with #MyJihad”. The article focuses on an American Muslim attempt to reclaim the term Jihad. According to the article, Jihad does not mean ‘holy war’ against the West and non- Muslim believers. This is of course contrary to common Western belief regarding the term. For most Muslims, jihad actually means “struggling in the way of God”. A jihad is more or less a personal struggle or life goal for Muslims. It is one that involves justice, compassion and benevolence according to the article.

The plan is to use #MyJihad as a series of advertisements to combat the idea that all Muslims are terrorists bent on attacking the West. Using the popular hashtag known from Twitter, the ads are geared at gaining attention from the younger generation. Examples of ads are “#MyJihad is to march on despite losing my son”, “#MyJihad is to not judge people by their cover” and “#MyJihad is to build friendships across the isle”.

I think this is a creative way to counteract the negative ideas of Islam in the West. Besides the views of Muslims as terrorists, many in the West tend to believe all Muslims are womanizers or in some way aggressive people. The #MyJihad ads are all very simple, unconfrontational and they show an emphasis on diversity and understanding.

This leads to my next point. It seems completely ridiculous to assume that such a large group of people could be thought of as sharing these negative views. America is perhaps the most individualistic society yet many Americans seem to place stereotypes on those different than themselves. There are numerous  countries with Muslim inhabitants and they speak different languages and possess differing customs.

 How on Earth could anyone think all these Muslims fit into some sort of stereotype? Let’s consider Christianity for instance. By no means could anyone legitimately say that all Christians are the same. It is true, that all Christians believee in God as the creator and ruler of all things. Besides that claim, there is an unimagineable amount of diversity in the views of Christians around the world and in the various denominations. Anglicans differ from Baptists, Orthodox believers differ from contemporary one and so on. A group of people may make up a particular religion, but that by no means says they are all the same.

To recap, The new #MyJihad is, in my view a brilliant idea. It combats several stereotypes of Islam in the West. The ads are friendly, optimistic, anti-confrontational and emphasis diversity and open-mindedness. These traits are the complete opposite of popular Western notions of Muslims. I can’t wait to see #MyJihad ads all over the country.

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