Islam and Jihad
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath have focused the world's attention on Islamic fundamentalism. We are being told that what we are witnessing today is a 'clash of civilizations', between a secular, modern 'West' and a fundamentalist, backward-looking 'Islam'.
Why are a whole range of political, cultural, social, and even economic events often reduced in so Pavlovian a way to 'Islam'? What is it about 'Islam' that provokes so quick and unrestrained a response? What is the meaning of jihad, and is it synonymous with warfare? What is a fatwa, and who has the right to issue one? What is the truth behind the RSS charge that the Muslims have selectively used the Quran to take to the path of intolerance and conflict? What is Islamic fundamentalism, and who have shaped its essential contours? Is there a concept of religious tolerance and a pluralist society in Islam? Is a liberation theology compatible with the tenets of Islam? How can Islam respond to the challenge of modernity?
Eminent columnist and legal expert A.G. Noorani delves into the rich and complex history of Islam and presents the case for a reformist, modern interpretation of the faith and its scripture.