As a universal religion, Islam envisages a global political order in which all humankind will live under Muslim rule as either believers or subject communities. In order to achieve this goal, it is incumbent on all free, male, adult Muslims to carry out an uncompromising "struggle in the path of Allah" or jihad. In the Muslim community, jihad is a religious duty because of the universalism of the Islamic mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. This belief has its origin from the birth of Islam that is linked with empire. For hundreds of years, tension between the center and the periphery became the hallmark of Islam's imperial experience. The wide gap between delusions of grandeur and the centrifugal forces of localism would be bridged time and again by force of arms, making violence a key element of Islamic political culture. Up to the present, the fuel of Islamic imperialism remains as volatile as ever, and is very far from having burned itself out.
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|Published - Apr 2006