Jihad Islamic America

Jihad and Islamic America's quandary begins with 9/11, but extends also to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Although the infamous Osama bin Laden still remains at large and Al Qaeda national and international operations show little sign of weakening, the majority of American would give anything to return to our pre-9/11 state of innocence. In his book God In the Pits: the Jihad-Enron Edition, Mark Ritchie grapples with the fallout from September 11th and asks what are the underlying issues we must now face. This excerpt is from his Prologue:

History of U.S and Osama bin Laden

On 9/11 we were confronted by what appeared to be an evil act that a very strict religion not only failed to avert but actually perpetrated. Denials of this statement are rampant. But if we could hear the mullahs preach in the privacy of their mosques, these rampant denials might be reconsidered.

Who can blame our culture for its total confusion? On September 10th, 2001, we loved everybody and celebrated diversity. On September 11th, we began a long and intricate strategy to shoot people who disagree with us. And many of us out here in Anytown, America only want to get back to normal.

If "normal" means accepting everyone's beliefs as equal in value, we may never get back there. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda believe they are doing God's work. All our love of diversity notwithstanding, Americans in general accept that it is our patriotic duty not merely to convince him otherwise, but to kill him.

The big question I have for America is this: Can we get back to normal without doing the spiritual inventory necessary to answer some difficult, and yes, sometimes embarrassingly personal questions? Normal for us has been a place where spiritual health matters are overlooked without consequences.

Who are the Islamic Jihad

My thesis is that we have consistently attempted to clean up the wrong mess. The mess is not military. The mess is neither legal nor political nor corporate. Neither is it systemic. These are merely the fields on which the mess is made. Killing Osama will not clean up the world's mess. Jailing Enron execs will not clean up the mess. Writing better laws won't force corporate execs, Enron or any other, to put their employees' interests ahead of their own. Someone will gain hero status by achieving these goals. This will lead us to believe that we are cleaning up the world's mess when in fact we are not.

The mess is spiritual. And in spite of the Islamic view of jihad as a physical war against evil, the real struggle is internal. My critic was correct; this story is embarrassingly personal. It is to this struggle that I now turn, and with a degree of sadness I must confess; judging others and throwing a few stones is easier, more fun, and less threatening. But there's only one target I know I can hit-myself.

Killing others, especially if it can be justified, has an element of glamour that cannot be denied. (Rest assured that the 9/11 highjackers possessed ample self-justification.) But the battle inside is where the real adventure begins. It is not for the faint of heart or the easily-intimidated. For those who can stomach a deeply personal struggle, call it a jihad if you like, I invite you to join me on a trip.

Excerpt from God in the Pits, The Enron-Jihad Edition, by Mark Andrew Ritchie
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