Throughout the Cold War there was no two meanings of the word "Jihad." Both the USSR and the USA knew what it meant -- Islamic War against Godless communists. For the "Mujahideen," fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan as well as Islamists in North America, Jihad at that time meant "Jihad," that is "holy war."
However, since the Cold War ended, North American Islamists have changed their tune and today try to conceal the true meaning of the word Jihad, insisting it has nothing to do with holy war, but is a 'struggle' against one's ego. I wish that were true, but it isn't.
To give the jihadis credit, unlike their Islamist backers, they speak the truth and are averse to doublespeak.
Listen to the words of the Ottawa jihadi terrorist Zehaf-Bibeau. He referred " to himself as part of the Mujahideen" in a video he recorded before the attack.
As a self-professed "Mujahid," he was not referring to "Jihad," that some wanted us to believe, in a recently published book under the section, "IS JIHAD THE SAME AS TERRORISM?", as a quest or benign struggle for reforming the self, or attaining the higher reality that Muslim Sufis try to achieve through annihilation of their self.
Zehaf-Bibeau was obviously influenced by the explanations and proclamations of "Jihad" that some of the most renowned Muslim scholars of the last century, have used to indoctrinate the minds of Muslims globally. Their messages are widely and freely available in books as well as internet around the world including Canada.
These scholars include Hassan Al Banna, Syed Qutb, and Abul Ala Maududi, who have been the spirit behind the quest of global Islamic revolution, and establishment of Islamic states through whichever means available.
Hassan Al Banna who was the spirit behind the Muslim Brotherhood wrote, "All Muslims Must Make Jihad":
"Jihad is an obligation from Allah Almighty on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded. Allah Almighty has ascribed great importance to Jihad and has made the reward of the Shuhada (Martyrs) and the Mujahideen (fighters) in His way a splendid one. Only those who have acted similarly and who have modelled themselves upon the Shuhada (Martyrs) in their performance of Jihad can join them in this reward. Furthermore, Allah Almighty has specifically honoured the Mujahideen with certain exceptional qualities, both spiritual and practical... Their pure blood is a symbol of victory in this world and the mark of success and felicity in the world to come.
"Islam is concerned with the question of Jihad and the drafting and the mobilisation of the entire Ummah into one body to defend the right cause with all its strength than any other ancient or modern system of living, whether religious or civil. The verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Muhammad are overflowing with all these noble ideals and they summon people in general (with the most eloquent expression and the clearest exposition) to Jihad, to warfare, to the armed forces, and all means of land and sea fighting."
Al Banna's disciple Syed Qutb, carried the thought forward in even stronger terms, in his widely available book, "Milestones," when he declared:
"Anyone who understands this particular character of this religion will also understand the place of Jihad bis-Saif (striving through fighting with the sword), which is to clear the way for striving through preaching in the application of the Islamic movement."
Syed Qutb goes on to state: "As to people who attempt to defend the concept of Islamic Jihad by interpreting it in the narrow sense of the current concept of defensive war, and who do research to prove that the battles fought in Islamic Jihad were all for the defense of the homeland of Islam -- some of them considering the homeland of Islam to be just the Arabian peninsula against the aggression of neighboring powers -- they lack understanding of the nature of Islam and its primary aim. Such an attempt is nothing but a product of a mind defeated by the present difficult conditions and by the attacks of the treacherous orientalists on the Islamic Jihad."
Qutb writes that Muslims should "not to be deceived or embarrassed by the attacks of the orientalists on the origin of Jihad, nor lose self-confidence under the pressure of present conditions and the weight of the great powers of the world to such an extent that we try to find reasons for Islamic Jihad outside the nature of this religion, and try to show that it was a defensive measure under temporary conditions."
He insists that "the need for Jihad remains, and will continue to remain, whether these conditions exist or not!"
"So if Islam be a 'Religion' and the Muslims are a 'Nation'. 'Jihad' (on account of which it has been accorded the dignity of 'The Best of all Prayers' in Islam) becomes useless term. In reality Islam is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals. 'Muslim' is the title of that International Revolutionary Party organized by Islam to carry into effect its revolutionary programme. And 'Jihād' refers to that revolutionary struggle and utmost exertion which the Islamic Party brings into play to achieve this objective."
"To alter the old tyrannical social system and establish a new just order of life by the power of sword is also 'Jihad' and to expend goods and exert physically for this cause is 'Jihad' too," Maududi writes.
Then Syed Maududi comes to the crux of what he believes is Jihad:
"[T]he most important, nay, the fundamental ideal among the revolutionary doctrines of that Revolutionary Party called 'Muslims' is to expend all the powers of body and soul, your life and goods in the fight against the evil forces of the world, not that having annihilated them you should step into their shoes, but in order that evil and contumacy should be wiped out and God's Law should be enforced in the world."
It goes without saying that one would not find a single Islamist in Canada or the USA who does not take inspiration and follow the teachings of Maududi, Qutb and AlBanna.
The Canadian government and its citizens are making sincere efforts towards the prevention of terrorism, to promote de-radicalization, and to keep Canada safe.
Having said that it is absolutely necessary for them to understand the virulent "Jihad" that feeds the Jihadi mind, and that promotes a global Islamic revolution. The connections among the scholars mentioned above and their influence has been well documented by Robert Dreyfuss, in Devils' Game that also provides a critical understanding of "Jihad" in the name of Islam.