The final question in my lecture tonight came from (I think) a Muslim, who wanted me to elaborate on the distinction between Arabic qital (“killing”) and jihad.
I was happy to.
Contrary to popular supposition, jihad doesn’t mean “holy war.” It just means “striving.” I described it as practical action, getting your hands dirty, as opposed to purely devotional acts like scripture reading and prayer.
In the Mormon context, I compared it to nineteenth-century Mormons building temples . . . and establishing settlements and digging irrigation canals and planting Lombardy poplars.
In the bellum omnium contra omnes, the perpetual war of all against all, that was ancient Arabia, practical action to serve the Islamic community unsurprisingly often meant military action. In a non-military context, however, it can (and, to at least some Muslims, does) mean building a strong education system for a Muslim society, etc.
In conclusion, I called upon Muslims and Mormons to work together on practical service to society.
Afterwards, the fellow who asked the question came up to me and said “You do understand, don’t you, that somebody who was here is going to blog that you called for a joint Mormon-Muslim jihad?”
But not unlikely.
There is, for example, out there — and I really mean “out there” — one vehement (and, I suspect, unhinged) anonymous critic who has been trying obsessively for roughly six years to publicly brand me an anti-Semite, a mercenary thug with violent tendencies, a religious bigot, a slanderer, a deliberate wrecker of careers and family relationships, a liar, a homophobe, a spy, and etc.
Peterson-as-jihadist would be right up his alley. You heard it here first.
Posted from Cambridge, Massachusetts.