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Letter: The term ‘jihad’ has different meanings

A commuter walks past an anti-Muslim poster in

A commuter walks past an anti-Muslim poster in New York's Times Square subway station. (Sept. 24, 2012) Credit: AP

While Newsday’s editorial was right on target about not confusing all Muslims with jihadists, your definition of jihad is in dispute among scholars [“Identify our enemy with care,” July 27].

As a college major in philosophy years ago, I learned that jihad is an internal spiritual struggle in which a Muslim devotee engages in a battle against his own avarice, vanity, gluttony, greed, hostility, jealousy, revenge and all the other foibles of humanity. As I was taught, it’s not a fight against others.

It’s very similar to the struggle for truth and integrity in which Jesus engaged when successfully battling temptation by Satan in the desert. Christians, Jews and Muslims have a lot in common.

Robert N. Shorin, Syosset

Editor’s note: The writer is a psychoanalyst.