Chicago Journal of International Law


There is a debate among Western academics as to whether violence is endemic to Islam or whether Islam is a peaceful religion. Proponents of these views are largely influenced by their own political persuasions, but mostly by their perceptions as outside observers of the Muslim world. The most plausible conclusions are advanced by those who simply see Muslim societies as any other society wrestling with social, economic, cultural, and political issues, and where at different times ideology is resorted to as a way of justifying political transformation. In some cases, Islamic doctrine is used as a legitimizing basis for political violence, and in these cases, it simply becomes the equivalent of any other revolutionary idea. The following interpretation of jihad and its evolving doctrinal nature should not be construed as an apology or rationalization of its worst applications. There are contradictions in the evolving doctrines and applications of jihad throughout Islam's fifteen centuries. These uncorrected contradictions by responsible Muslim clergy have led to the contemporary rationalizations of unbridled violence in the name of Islamic jihad. Such doctrines and their contemporary applications should be unequivocally rejected and condemned. [CONT]