BBC Arabic: Is the concept of "jihad" inevitably linked to acts of violence?

CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, appeared on BBC Arabic to discuss the concept of jihad and the #MyJihad public education campaign.

Excerpts of Ahmed Rehab’s statements in English:

…The prophet defined a Muslim as one from whose tongue and hand people are ensured peace.

…Muslim extremists have tarnished the image of Jihad in the first degree.

…The prophet stated that the greatest Jihad is a word of truth, not a bomb of truth or a bullet of truth or a spear of truth or a sword of truth – a word of truth.

…The goal of the campaign is to introduce a new space for a logical, rational discussion about Jihad and Islam, above and beyond the simplistic, dumbed-down rhetoric that has dominated the discussion on Islam in many circles. We are succeeding evidenced by this dedicated hour on the BBC as well as similar global venues.

…When he returned from the battlefield, the Prophet stated we have come from the small Jihad to the great Jihad. The great Jihad is the struggle against oneself.

…I reject the definition of Jihad that subscribes to force to spread God’s word. Jihad is never about forcing anything on anyone, if you wish to share your faith do it by sharing the good word, and even better do it by living it out, certainly not by force – The Qur’an states that there is no compulsion in faith and that who wishes to believe let him believe and who wishes to reject the faith, let him do so.”

…My last word is a call to Muslims around the world: reclaim the virtues and qualities of this faith and the proper meaning of its concepts including the true meaning of Jihad. I call on them to make their Jihad FOR education AGAINST ignorance and illiteracy, FOR jobs AGAINST indolence and idleness, and FOR truth AGAINST injustice and falsehood. This is my Jihad. We cannot just settle for media campaigns, the reality of the Muslim has to be a healthy one, we must return to the true values and virtues of this faith that once built tolerant civilizations.