Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Global Studies


Tamara Sonn

Committee Members

Abdul-Karim Rafeq

Debra Shushan


This thesis considers how -- and why -- the understanding and interpretation of the Arabic term jihad has been the subject of so much contentious debate since the very beginnings of Islam until the present day. My thesis is that although jihad has generally been studied and understood in a religious context, it has since its inception been manipulated and co-opted for political purposes. The term, then, has not primarily functioned as a religious ideal, but rather a political tool that has been used by leaders of empires and states, as well as intellectuals, activists, and militants for their own purposes. In addition, the U.S. government's lack of understanding of the the origins, history, and evolution of the concept of jihad has had a negative impact for U.S. efforts in the War on Terror.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only