Posting has been light as I gear up for the big push on my thesis. During my research, I just came across something interesting. The official name of Osama bin Laden's umbrella organization is usually given in the news as the "World Islamic Front for the Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders." I have just seen the Arabic (in a transliterated form) for the first time. Here it is:
Al-Jabhah al-Islamiyya al-'Alamiyya li-Qitaal al-Yahud wal-Salibiyyin
Notice a word missing? Nowhere in the name is the word "Jihad" mentioned. The word that was apparently translated as "Jihad" is actually a verbal noun derived from the root QaTaLa, "to kill." So a better translation would be, "World Islamic Front for the Killing of Jews and Crusaders."
Puts a bit of a different spin on it, huh?
In all the years that we have known of this organization, why have the media and the government never once translated its name correctly?
UPDATE (Nov. 14): I mentioned this to my Arabic teacher, and he said that Qitaal is properly a verbal noun of Qaatil, "to try to kill," or better, "to fight." So the translation should be "WIF for fighting Jews and Crusaders."
At any rate, there is still no hint of meaning related to Jihad. I suspect some Westerner decided to romanticize the name, and it stuck.