According to Syrian revolutionary thinker Said Hawwa in his influential book Min Ajl Khutwa (English: For the Sake of a Step), jihad may come in three flavors: by heart, by word, and by hand, a tripartite distinction derived from the hadith literature. The jihad of the heart is an ambiguous formulation: it can mean self-discipline or the passion and steadfastness applied to waging war. The jihad of the hand (also known as the jihad of the sword) is the most conspicuous in virtue of its immediate destructiveness. But the jihad of the word — of indoctrination, propaganda, and institutional infiltration — is perhaps even more menacing since it operates virally, as it were, infecting the organs of the open society with a view to its gradual demise.

In trying to resolve the predicament in which we find ourselves, to protect a way of life which is under attack and which we have far too long taken for granted, we would need to arrive at a means not only of averting terrorist assaults — the jihad of the hand — but of resisting the jihad of the word. This means, among other things, countering the mispractice of "lawfare," the deployment of frivolous and vindictive legal suits with the twofold intention of (a) blocking all criticism of Islam and (b) preventing the exposure of those who, whether explicitly or implicitly, abet the terrorists' aims.

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