02 Dec

“Jihad is to protect and save lives”. – Imam Ibrahim Saidy. 

Beyond the usual reverberating rhetoric and assemblage of world powers at the on-going Climate Change Summit in Paris – tagged COP21 – is the very unusual and equally fascinating conglomeration of religion-inclined climate activists with avowed commitment to world peace. The presence of these activists, sans divisive religious commination, is a reassuring testament that we can all leave in peace; jointly committing ourselves to the common good, irrespective of religious affiliation.

I watched the proceedings of COP21 without much interest until I saw “Green Jihad” on the news report of Euronews TV Channel. At the forefront of Green Jihad is Ibrahim Saidy (an Imam from the Oslo area of Norway). 

Imam Saidy’s understanding of Jihad is joining like-minds to raise awareness on climate change. He declared a Green Jihad against climate change, admonishing fasting and educational events to raise awareness of what is at stake. To him, Jihad is “to protect and save lives”.

“We fast for the climate together as one human family”, Saidy said.

It was sooth and interesting to see the word JIHAD – which has been given so much opprobrious connotation – assuming different garb. Positive. Humane. Assuring. 

Of course, while Jihadism (in pure, literal dictionary meaning) could be described as any vigorous, emotional crusade for an idea or principle, its provenance is Islamic. 

But while Muslims relate well with the word, people of other faiths more or less see Jihad as a dreaded word. And it is a justified fear. 

Criminal elements, deranged individuals and religious zealots do evil and claim it is a religion-sanctioned instruction with bountiful rewards hereafter. To them killing and maiming is Jihad. The so-called Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al-Qeda, and many other agents of death daily turn our world upside down. 

Jihad is their catchword!

While the likes of Imam Saidy identify Juhad with making our world a better place for all, these bloodsucking death squads kill without let. Other Muslims, to them (except their accomplices and other similar merchants of death) are un-Islamic enough and deserve sordid death; while people of other faiths are similarly not fit to leave.

The world would be a better place if we have more of Imam Saidy. Our world would be better if Jihad is seen and used to foster unity and human progress.

Muslim faithfuls need to redefine Jihad from the sacrilegious definition of these death merchants. Islam and Islamic injunctions and tenets should not be defined by criminal elements.

We can all declare Jihad against hunger, poverty, corruption and other societal ills. 

We have a good example in Imam Saidy.
Femi Olabisi (a Christian) is on Twitter: @Femiolas; and blogs at

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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Opinion


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