Editor’s note: This is the first in a two part interview with renowned female Iranian-Canadian author Ghazal Omid by Mr. Nadir Ali (Director – Centre for Peace and Justice)
Ms. Omid talks to Nadir Ali about the true meaning of jihad, the issue of minorities in Iran and Pakistan with regards to their political and civil rights, and why the Muslim world has abandoned the Uyghur Muslims.
Nadir Ali: In the light of the Charlie Hebdo attacks of 2015, and the verdict watched by millions around the world on Sky News, in which 14 people were found guilty earlier this month, what do you think of recent jihadi actions in Paris, and the killing of the staffers of Charlie Hebdo Magazine?
Ghazal Omid: Before explaining anything, I would like to take a moment and explain what jihad is. And what it is not.
Jihad is a very protective way for a minority or even a majority from being discriminated against, demolished or even suffering genocide.
As an example, the Chinese Muslim minority in Xinjiang have actually been banned not only from practicing their faith but have also been put in jail, thinking they will be never able to bring Muslim children into the world – that they would be ‘altered’ medically.
Many, many years ago I heard of Australians doing the same to bees, and everybody said ‘why you are doing that to bees?’.
But now, nobody cares if the same is being done with human beings…
That is where jihad comes into play. You can defend yourself against somebody who is basically ruining your home, destroying your culture and saying you are no longer part of a culture.
Going back to the events of Paris, it is not the right thing to migrate to another country, apply to go through immigration procedures, and then say loudly ‘hey, I am here to carry out jihad.’
That is not jihad.
That is actually psychopathy, that is basically murder, and the people who practice that are just murderers, And, unfortunately that socio-psychopathic individual happened to be Muslim.
In the United States we can call him a mass murderer if he is a white Christian, but if he is a Muslim, we call him a Muslim terrorist or a jihadi – and that is why we have this wrong concept of jihad.
He could have asked Saudi Arabia one of the richest countries to help him – or the UAE, or Qatar. He didn’t have to go to Paris to do jihad.
That was not jihad. That was murder.
People who practice such kinds of behavior are mentally demented murderers.
Another aspect of jihad is the people who provoke or radicalize, people who publish terrible images of the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.
What is the answer to that?
When I speak on radio show about the Prophet I remind people that he has been accepted as the one of the greatest prophets of the Almighty.
If God wants to kill anybody in Paris, he doesn’t need anybody’s help.
Jihad in this sense is complete lunacy, that these people use as a security blanket.
Therefore, there is no jihad in this case. That is murder and a murderer is a murderer. It doesn’t matter if he prays five times a day. A murderer might also go to church – but he or she is still a murderer.
Nadir Ali: So what do you understand by jihad?
Ghazal Omid: Jihad means resisting against forces beyond me.
As an example, in World war II, when Jewish people were sent to camps to be systematically murdered in the Holocaust, if there was jihad in the faith of Judaism, they could have used that.
And standing against China’s genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang is jihad.
Jihad means resistance.
Jihad means don’t let anyone destroy you, or destroy your faith. But it does not mean going abroad and committing murder.
It is actually only applicable when your homeland is in danger.
When you are actually sitting at home, soldiers come into your home and say you are no longer allowed to live in this place – that is where jihad comes in.
Pt II will be released tomorrow – Sunday 27th.