Muslim activists are seeking to share the proper meaning of the word “jihad” through a public education campaign in Washington, D.C., where they are posting advertisements depicting the personal struggles held by mainstream Muslims, accompanied by the term “#myJihad”.
The website says:
#MyJihad is a public education campaign that seeks to share the proper meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims. Jihad means “struggling in the way of God”. The way of God, being goodness, justice, passion, compassion, etc. It is putting up the good fight against whatever odds or barriers you face in your life. It is a central tenet of the Islamic creed that has unfortunately been widely misrepresented due to a) first and foremost, the actions of Muslim extremists, b) attempts at public indoctrination by Islamophobes who claim that the extremists are right and the rest of us are wrong, and c) a selective media that understandably focuses on the sensational. This campaign is about reclaiming our faith and its concepts from extremists, both Muslim and anti-Muslim. It’s about our voice, our lives, our reality. MyJihad includes displaying public ads on buses & trains, the use of #MyJihad hashtag on twitter, outreach on Facebook and Youtube, as well as speaking events and other initiatives.
“The way of God, being goodness, justice, passion, compassion […] not forcible conversion as wrongly claimed by some,” the website explains.
As the campaign’s organizer Ahmed Rehab, also the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago, told The Washington Post, the purpose of the campaign is to change the narrative around the word jihad.
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The advertisements posted Monday, Jan. 28, in five of D.C.’s metro stations attempt to communicate that mainstream Muslims define jihad as a personal religious struggle, and distance the word from its popular ties to terrorism, or what the group says is a mistranslation to mean “holy war.”