Can a Song Change the Meaning of ‘Jihad’? – The Daily Beast

Interesting approach – using a music video to influence opinion:

Spiegel tries to correct the misunderstanding of the word within the first minutes of the music video for “Jihad Love Squad” with a title card that reads: “Jihad: The spiritual struggle within oneself between good and evil.”

Now just so it’s clear, there is a jihad within Islam that means a holy war. But to most Muslims, the concept of jihad is part of the everyday struggle to the best person you can be. That is why Spiegel’s friend wore a ring bearing that word and why I know Muslims with the first name “Jihad.” (I can’t even imagine how tough that name is at the airport?!)

Spiegel, who was born in New York but is now based in Los Angeles, increasingly became concerned over how the song, and especially the video, would be received by both the Muslim community and the Muslim haters as the released date approached.

He fully gets that the anti-Muslim bigots could target him. After all in 2013 when the Council on American-Islamic Relations spearheaded a campaign to redefine the word “jihad” with a series of ads, it was met with outrage by the queen of anti-Muslim bigotry, Pam Geller.  She even spent money to put up ads to define jihad in the most negative light possible in hopes of stoking the flames of hate against Muslims.

On the flip side, Spiegel is keenly aware that some Muslims may watch the video and believe that he’s not deconstructing a negative stereotype about Muslims, but perpetuating it.  And to be honest, some will likely see it as that. I showed the video to a cross section of Muslims and some did voice concerns that the video could be misunderstood.

The music video, which Spiegel directed, was beautifully shot in India. It opens with a woman greeting customers at a restaurant. She then goes into a backroom, straps on what appears to be a suicide vest, covers herself in a full burka and heads out in to the street.  She soon walks into a schoolyard where young kids playing see her and freeze in apparent fear. As the tension builds, she presses the button to activate the vest.

But as you can imagine, there’s a twist. Instead of an explosion of material that can kill, it releases different colored powders, the type used in the Hindu festival of colors known as “Holi.” Spiegel explained that the powder represents the woman spreading love, not death.

Can a Song Change the Meaning Sam Spiegel of ‘Jihad’? – The Daily Beast.

Jonathan Kay: Jihad’s amateur hour

I think Jon Kay has it right:

In at least one case, the 9/11 masterminds apparently recruited, and then rejected, a jihadi because they lost confidence in his terrorist tradecraft: This was Zacarias Moussaoui, often referred to as “the 20th hijacker,” who reportedly met with KSM in Afghanistan in 2000. Examine Moussaoui’s methods, and you find that he was an infinitely more dangerous, methodical and sound-minded killer than Zehaf-Bibeau.

There’s the fact that lies at the heart of my optimism: Today’s most deadly domestic terrorists do not even rise to the level of yesterday’s al-Qaeda rejects. Just because we use the same broad term — terrorist — to cover both species of killer, doesn’t mean that the threat they pose is comparable within even several orders of magnitude.

AA Flight 11 hijacker-pilot Mohammed Atta stares out at the world from photos like a sort of robotic jihadi Terminator. He did not give fiery public speeches, or offer lurid manifestos, or seek social approval. All he wanted to do was kill and die. And it seems highly unlikely that the lone wolves who try to follow his example will — even taken collectively — ever inflict a significant fraction of the death and destruction meted out on September 11, 2001.

Jonathan Kay: Jihad’s amateur hour