Regardless of popular and publicly accepted meaning of 'Jihad' as holy war, the literal translation is also 'struggle'. What has been waged in the name of jihad in different parts of the Muslim world, in the last few decades has given it a very negative imprint. But we need to look at jihad from its literal perspective --- to struggle against human rights violation, against illiteracy, against exploitation of weak segments of the society, against those opposing girls education, -- the list goes on.

But why to limit the jihad to Muslims only, whoever takes the flag of struggle against injustice is waging jihad. Here I highlight what British Prime Minister announced the other day while launching the first UN-backed 'Girl Summit' on two major issues affecting millions of girls on this planet -- female genital mutilation(FGM) and child marriages. He announced that parents in Britain would face persecution for failing to prevent their daughters from being subjected to FGM. Britain has already taken steps to make child marriage a punishable offense. Let's support all those crusaders who are waging jihad for the better future of our girls. It's a basic right of every girl not to be married against her will, obviously a child can't decide on her marriage, similarly no one has the right to force a girl to undergo FGM.

As we leave the holy jihad to Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and ISIS, we need to struggle for something which may change the lives of millions of girls irrespective of their religion or cultural background.


Saudi Arab, July 24.