"Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." This is the battle cry of Hizb al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin, Egypt 's notorious Muslim Brotherhood, the intellectual font of Sunni Islamic radicalism for nearly a century. And that should give us pause.

Unlike al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other terror networks, the Brotherhood purports to forswear violence — convincingly so, according to foreign-policy solons who urge U.S. diplomatic engagement with the group. The Brotherhood, they say, is mainstream and moderate. It is the Brotherhood, not the repressive Mubarak regime, that grips the mantle of democracy, pining for free elections. The political process, not terrorism, is the Brotherhood's chosen path for achieving its ends. So the organization's American fan club insists, blithely gliding by what those decidedly immoderate ends entail. Thus, the enormity of the motto: The Brotherhood may have abandoned violence (at least its direct execution by Brotherhood operatives), but it has never forsworn jihad. For the Brothers, jihad is still "our way," and "dying in the way of Allah" — the martyrdom glorified by Islam's prophet — remains "our highest hope."

To speak of jihad without brutality seems contradictory. But it is not — though the explanation for this differs markedly from the benign rationale offered by Muslim revisionists. They claim the Islamic obligation of jihad (which literally means "struggle") is not about violence or "holy war." In their fable, the "greater" jihad has always been the Muslim's struggle to live a virtuous life, and the term's bellicose connotation is no more meaningful than commonplace calls to metaphorical "war" — against drugs, poverty, tobacco, and the like. They acknowledge a "lesser jihad," a violent vestige of Islam's history, but claim it is relevant in modern times only when Muslims are under siege.

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