'What Is Your Take on Jihad and Jihadis, Mr. President?'

Henry Percy
I had heard about this, but I was still not prepared for it.

Our president gave a speech at St. Xavier College, Mumbai, and asked for some tough questions from the audience. He got one: "What is your take, or opinion, on jihad or jihadi? What do you think of them?"

Pretty straightforward. Would that one of the Bigfeet from the NY Times or Washington Post could be so clear. "Well, uh, ya know, uh, uh, the phrase 'jihad' has a lot of meanings within Islam, um, and is subject to a lot of different interpretations." But not to your audience it isn't, sir!

He's speaking at a Roman Catholic college, his audience primarily Christian and Hindu. They've been far closer to the business end of jihad and jihadis than the armchair philosophers in the faculty lounge at University of Chicago could ever dream. But no, our Community-Agitator-in-Chief takes this as a teachable moment, a chance to inform the woman that Islam is "one of the world's great religions" that's subject to "misinterpretation."

What an insulting, condescending nonanswer. She was not asking what jihad is - Indians know that. They have been on the receiving end of jihad for over 13 centuries now, and the Religion of Peace is not so "great" when it is being administered with a jihadi's club or sword or gun or bomb. The question was not "what is jihad?" but "what is your take ... what do you think of them?" (emphasis added).

"Young people like yourselves can make a huge impact in reaffirming that you can be a strong observer of your faith without putting somebody else down, or visiting violence on somebody else." Yes, the Hindus and Christians in front of him can be. The question is, can Muslims? The evidence suggests not. Among the many meanings the president apparently sees for "jihad" are "being a schoolyard bully" or "not playing nice with your basketball" or "not sharing your crayons."

Mr. President, the "young people" in front of you are not the problem! Here's a followup question: "Mr. President, what is your opinion of the court in Pahk-ee-stahn that yesterday sentenced a Christian woman, a mother of five, to death by hanging for blaspheming the Prophet (peace be upon him)? Was that a ‘misinterpretation' of Islam? Would you care to send your message of ‘being a strong observer of your faith without putting somebody else down' to the court?" Sounds like a teachable moment to me.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d@gmail.com.

I had heard about this, but I was still not prepared for it.

Our president gave a speech at St. Xavier College, Mumbai, and asked for some tough questions from the audience. He got one: "What is your take, or opinion, on jihad or jihadi? What do you think of them?"

Pretty straightforward. Would that one of the Bigfeet from the NY Times or Washington Post could be so clear. "Well, uh, ya know, uh, uh, the phrase 'jihad' has a lot of meanings within Islam, um, and is subject to a lot of different interpretations." But not to your audience it isn't, sir!

He's speaking at a Roman Catholic college, his audience primarily Christian and Hindu. They've been far closer to the business end of jihad and jihadis than the armchair philosophers in the faculty lounge at University of Chicago could ever dream. But no, our Community-Agitator-in-Chief takes this as a teachable moment, a chance to inform the woman that Islam is "one of the world's great religions" that's subject to "misinterpretation."

What an insulting, condescending nonanswer. She was not asking what jihad is - Indians know that. They have been on the receiving end of jihad for over 13 centuries now, and the Religion of Peace is not so "great" when it is being administered with a jihadi's club or sword or gun or bomb. The question was not "what is jihad?" but "what is your take ... what do you think of them?" (emphasis added).

"Young people like yourselves can make a huge impact in reaffirming that you can be a strong observer of your faith without putting somebody else down, or visiting violence on somebody else." Yes, the Hindus and Christians in front of him can be. The question is, can Muslims? The evidence suggests not. Among the many meanings the president apparently sees for "jihad" are "being a schoolyard bully" or "not playing nice with your basketball" or "not sharing your crayons."

Mr. President, the "young people" in front of you are not the problem! Here's a followup question: "Mr. President, what is your opinion of the court in Pahk-ee-stahn that yesterday sentenced a Christian woman, a mother of five, to death by hanging for blaspheming the Prophet (peace be upon him)? Was that a ‘misinterpretation' of Islam? Would you care to send your message of ‘being a strong observer of your faith without putting somebody else down' to the court?" Sounds like a teachable moment to me.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d@gmail.com.