A Quiet, Little Jihad?

In late summer last year, two United States embassies in East Africa were the target of murderous bomb attacks by Islamic terrorist groups. After ordering two retaliatory missile attacks on installations presumed to be connected with militant Islamic extremism, President Clinton hastened to assure the American people that he has nothing against Islam, which he called "a religion of peace." In November, Islamic militants reacted violently to the progress of peace talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization with a series of terrorist attacks on Israelis, apparently with the intention of provoking a severe reaction by Israel. Again, we were assured that, contrary to the widespread impression, Islam is a peace-loving religion.

Now, it is true that Islam has many variants, although not so many as Christianity and it would be false to say that the jihad is a fundamental element in the Muslim faith, or at least a universally fundamental one. Christianity has had its Crusades and crusaders, and at one point, all of Western Christendom seemed to be focused on crusading in the East, but a simple glance at world history shows that the expansion of Islam is far more directly due to military action than is the spread of Christianity.

Generic Christians and other gentiles of our day do not hold any faith passionately enough to fight for it and find it hard to believe that adherents of another religion could...

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