Jul 302009
 
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This is the “Preface” to the third edition of the book Jihad in the Qur’an (Third Edition)

My wife, Shetha, and I moved from Iraq to the UK in 1992. I quickly came to love so many things about the new culture I was joining. Among other things, democracy, freedom of speech, and human rights are great. They were clearly manifested in the free media. It was a complete contrast to the state-controlled media we left back in our country of origin. There, both the educated and the illiterate knew that what was in the newspapers and on radio and TV is what the dictatorial regime wanted people to believe. People, therefore, sought news and information from foreign media, such as the BBC World Service and Voice of America.

But I soon realized that that the freedom of press in the UK, and the West in general, was at times being mistaken for and equated to accurate reporting if not explicitly then implicitly. It is not that people did not know that the media can, for instance, be manipulative and that while it is not run by the state it is still influenced by powerful individuals and groups. The British in particular have a healthy, natural dose of cynicism in general anyway. But they still relied on that same media for most of the information on what goes on in various parts of the world. Yet I found so much persistent misinformation and misreporting about things I knew very well, either because there were about the country I came from or the Middle East, which I also was very familiar with.

Islam is one aspect of that other world that the British and Western media has failed to portray accurately. The religion that I had chosen to embrace in my early twenties in Iraq had developed a very negative image in my new home. Not that this was a complete surprise, but reading about something is one thing and experiencing it is another.

For several years, the idea of writing a book that dispels some of the common misconceptions about Islam was on my mind. I was particularly interested in writing about the unfair and misleading association of Islam with violence and aggression. After the terrorist attacks of the 11th of September 2001 and subsequent sad events, I decided that I should not postpone this project any longer.

The first edition of this book came out in 2002 and a revision was released two years later. In the past five years, so much happened but not much changed, as far as the subject of this book is concerned. Islam is still being singled out for the link to terrorism, those who are keen on this link would not say what terrorism is, and atrocities against Muslims and violence by others are often carefully given different labels. Also, atrocities continue to be committed under the name of jihad. The third edition of the book remains as relevant today as its first edition was seven years earlier.

In the second edition I added more material and improved the readability of the book. In this edition I have also added some new material but I have also removed more content that I do not see as necessary. For instance, the first chapter of the first and second editions discussed in detail how the image of Islam has been distorted by both Muslims and non-Muslims. While I think making references to this fact in certain places in the book remains necessary, I do not find having a complete chapter wholly justified.

By clearly presenting verifiable facts and dispelling unfounded fallacies about jihad I pray that this book can achieve two goals for two different audiences. First, it would prove a useful source of information for Muslims and those who will be on their way to Islam.

Second, it would convince non-Muslims that Islam is a peaceful religion that is easy to coexist with. It is a religion under which various religious groups, including Christians and Jews, always lived peacefully and with their religious rights fully protected.

Unfortunately, the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims in the world has been widening. Equally sad is the fact that many do not know that although this conflict involves Muslim believers, it does not owe its origin to the religion of Islam. I, like many others, feel a sense of personal responsibility to help in bridging the growing gap between Muslims and non-Muslims. Such attempts, if done properly, are one form of jihad, as we shall see in this study.

Like all of my other writings, this book has benefited greatly from the insightful and detailed feedback of my wife Dr Shetha Al-Dargazelli. Shetha’s support and help have been instrumental in allowing me to write my books.

The comments of my friend Mr Tariq Chaudhry have allowed me to improve the book significantly.

I would like to acknowledge the help of a number of people who reviewed drafts of the earlier editions of the book and provided valuable feedback. I would like to thank my brothers Duraid and Faiz, and my friends Dr Howard Hall, Mr David Barnes, and Mr David Mercer. I would also like to thank all readers and reviewers whose feedback made me write and improve this new edition. 

          

Copyright © 2009 Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

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