I've copied the definitions of "crusade" from the dictionary function thoughtfully attached to PiP. I noticed that there are several meanings attached to the word, what Denise, I believe, has described as "levels of meaning," if I understand here correctly.
cru·sade [kroo-seyd] Show IPA noun, verb, -sad·ed, -sad·ing.
( often initial capital letter ) any of the military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries for the recovery of the Holy Land from the Muslims.
any war carried on under papal sanction.
any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea, cause, etc.: a crusade against child abuse.
–verb (used without object)
to go on or engage in a crusade.
Use crusade in a Sentence
1570–80; earlier crusada < Sp cruzada; r. croisade < MF. See cross, -ade1
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
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World English Dictionary
1. ( often capital ) any of the military expeditions undertaken in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries by the Christian powers of Europe to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims
2. (formerly) any holy war undertaken on behalf of a religious cause
3. a vigorous and dedicated action or movement in favour of a cause
4. to campaign vigorously for something
5. to go on a crusade
[C16: from earlier croisade, from Old French crois cross, from Latin crux; influenced also by Spanish cruzada, from cruzar to take up the cross]
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History
1706, respelling of croisade (1577), from M.Fr. croisade, Sp. cruzada, both from M.L. cruciata, pp. of cruciare "to mark with a cross," from L. crux (gen. crucis ) "cross." Figurative sense of "campaign against a public evil" is from 1786.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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"If we could have any security against moods! If the pro..."
"The crusade against Communism was even more imaginary t..."
"I have met with but one or two persons in the course of..."
"The thirst for adventure is the vent which Destiny offe..."
"All Presidents start out to run a crusade but after a c..."
Other dictionaries would doubtless parse the word differently in to other "levels of meaning."
This is one of the ways we attempt to understand words, and not a bad way; but it does not solve the problem that we have with the word "jihad," which we are trying to understand here. The major understanding of "jihad" has to do with spiritual quest to subordinate one's self to the will of God, what the literature calls, "The Greater Jihad." Denise references this herself, and rightfully so.
MNy understanding of the religion of Islam is that this notion, the subordination of one's self to the will of God, is the core element of that religion. "Islam," the word itself, means "subordination," or perhaps" obedience."
Some Muslims find themselves attracted to the lesser Jihad, the militant approach to the religion. Much of the material that Denise speaks about is descriptive of that minority view.
My issue with Denise's hypothesis is that I believe that she has her emphasis reversed. It appears that she lays the majority of her concern on the Lesser Jihad, and misses the point of the religion she is trying to talk about. She and many of her allies on the right, thought by no means all of them, are mischaracterizing the religion of Islam, and are portraying Muslims as enemies of the United States.
Some Muslims are, in fact, Enemies of the United States.
So are some Catholics, some Protestants, dome Taoist, some hindus and some Jews.
To break down the current conflict around terrorist into a purely religious conflict misses the political elements of it and the economic elements of it, to name only two of many other possible factors.
To suggest that the problem is that we are hated because we are not Muslim is to ignore our responsibility over the past hundred and fifty years or so as part of Western Civilization in creating the foreign policies that have helped create the current situation. It ignores the economic elements of the oil industry that currently help maintain the conflict, and it helps maintain the childish fantasy that we are powerless to change the ways in which we relate to the rest of the world.
We are not powerless. We are willfully blind.
None of this justifies 9/11.
neither does it justify our supporting a series of dictators in power in the middle east against the wishes of their populations. Actions such as these, our support for the Shah of Iran, for example; and of Saddam Hussein in Iraq — originally our guy, if folks care to remember that far back, and our continued support of the Egyptian Government and the Saudi Government, all these actions have seriously damaged our standing with Muslims in the middle east.
And I say this without even bringing up the Israeli situation, where there is enough villainy on all sides to confuse the issues of culpability completely.
Even our Last President Bush, with whom I have had few points of agreement, knew enough to be clear that Islam was not the enemy.
They have the same right to have the same number of lunatics among their ranks as any other group you can name, and I'd be willing to bet that they're no crazier than any other reasonable normal group of religious folks, and if some of them believe in things that many of the rest of us find a bit crazy, I can't see how they're all that much different there, either. Some of us believe in the triumph of reason, you know, and you can't get much crazier than that. And I know people who've spoken to angels, and I'd wager many of you do too, though you may not want to talk about it in public.