Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Lesser Jihad

Do you remember when your friends and family could walk with you all the way to the gate at the airport and give you a hug just seconds before you boarded your flight?

Do you remember when you didn't have to take off your shoes or submit to naked X-ray pictures going through the security line?

If you have darker complexion and a beard like me, do you remember when you could read the Qur'an on a flight without worrying about whether the other folks in your row thought?

Do you remember when the government did not have permission to tap our phones by reason of the Patriot Act?

Do you remember when we at least pretended McCarthyite witchhunts were a bad thing? (Please follow the link and take time to read some of the comments)

Do you remember when the the most infamous Cuban body of water in American history was not Guantánamo, but the Bay of Pigs?

Do you remember when we didn't care much about our president's middle name or want to see copies of his birth certificate?

Do you remember?

I still maintain that fighting and defeating political and/or religious enemies is the lesser jihad. As has always been, the greater jihad is defeating the enemy within ourselves.

Our own prejudices and predilection for injustice do not hide in locked down bunkers in northeastern Pakistan, but instead flaunt themselves in sensational newspaper headlines and viral email forwards about the danger of shari'ah law overturning the constitution. These are the poisonous fruit of a flourishing tree of fear-mongering and hate that has deep roots in the psyche of our country, and ultimately in each one of our hearts.

I pray that we will have the courage to fight the greater jihad. As-salamu `alayna.