Macalester Islam Journal


I’ve been intrigued by examining what it takes to make someone propose and enlist in a war. Often individuals seem to use ethics, morality, or religion to bond together and assert their own perspective in a world perceived as devoid of ethics, morality, or the right religion. Looking to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and his approach to ruling and warring with a religiously different minority and comparing this example with that of the ongoing contentious relationships between Islam and the West as played out by the war in Iraq, provides firm starting grounds for exploring the issues of war, just war, and the ways in which they are influenced by religion and politics. In each example, a key facet includes the necessity of otherizing in order to rationalize fighting. Citing Ibn Khaldun’s analysis of war, Christopher Coker notes that social cohesion, often against an outlier, is a requirement for going to war.1 This cohesion could easily be based on tribal groupings, politics or religious beliefs.