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'Jihad is about killing the badness in you'

I recall you telling an interview that you've been getting deeper into Islam, reading about it, to find out what is it about the religion that's made you also made those who kill others in its name. Has your quest ended, or is it an ongoing one?

I keep reading it, but you know, in a strange sense just being a movie actor has made me stand for a lot of values and iconic things. And one of the things that I suddenly stand for is that I am a Muslim in a Hindu country. And I suddenly realise that nobody has ever made me feel that way. So can I tell people that? Can I explain that to people that I am a Muslim in a country called India, and it's not just a Hindu country or something. We've never been made to feel this is a Hindu country. Which means we are amazingly secular. And if I feel like that in this country, then I think Islamic people should feel that way in every country.

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And why don't they?

If some person is using the name of Islam and confusing it with jihad, I think one needs to understand the meaning of jihad. And jihad means overcoming your own frailties, your own streak of violence, and I wanted to understand all that. I've read the Quran, I've read the Bhagwat Gita, I've read the Mahabharata. But I've understood the essence that jihad is not about killing other people, jihad is about killing the badness in you. It's an emotional war, and when people use it for a physical or material war then it's a wrong use of term. The earlier the world understands that, the better.

I mean, there's already enough problems from global warming to tsunami to economic breakdown to be bothered about a small little word which you are misinterpreting. And it's not nice to be frisked at an American airport because somebody is misrepresenting your religion. People should realise that Islam, like Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhism, is about being kind.
Also read: Part II: 'I don't like romance'

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