“J1HAD” & “JIHAD 1” – Which License Place Do You Think Missouri Approved?

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Mar 04 2016
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America is a great country because it was supposed to be a free country. As confusing as it may sound, public perception of people in the Middle East is that they hate America, and the West. But at the same time, they admire and aspire to the essence of Western life – freedom of expression, freedom of opportunity and creativity, and the diversity of options available in life.


However, as free as the Americans can be, there’re certain things, or rather license plates not allowed in the country. For example, license plate “VIAGRA” has been banned since 2013 by the state of Missouri for potentially offensive or controversial. In fact, other license plates such as “AXHOLE”, “TO1LET”, “T1TTS”, and “BMWSUX” are disallowed too.

Missouri - License Plate JIHAD J1HAD 1

So, when someone noticed a car with license plate “JIHAD 1” roaming the street, an email was sent to News 4 because he was disturbed and thought the plate was inappropriate since people would associate the word with terrorism. After all, if “VIAGRA” is banned, how on earth “JIHAD 1” could be allowed. Turned out, the license plate belonged to a Muslim family in St. Louis County.


When asked, the Muslim couple explained to the news network that they applied for the plate, and approved, because “Jihad” is the name of their 14-year-old son. They also explained that Jihad has a spiritual meaning for Muslims that has nothing to do with violence or terrorism. Mr. Faizan Syed, the executive director of the St. Louis Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations offered his opinion.


He said – “Jihad is very common and it doesn’t mean Holy War. It means someone who is struggling, so when you name your kid Jihad, it means someone who is going to struggle to be better.” However, Faizan also said the word can be viewed as offensive – “It has the ability to confuse people, and because the average American thinks of Jihad as a certain thing, it’s probably better for this individual not to use it.”


Interestingly, while the state of Missouri bans plates such as “HATERZ”, “K1LLER”, “KKK” and even “J1HAD” (which was banned by the state of Illinois too), not a single soul from the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles, including its director, dares to talk and explain as to why “JIHAD 1” is allowed. Why disallowed “J1HAD” (back in 2009) but approved “JIHAD 1”?

Malaysian Perkasa Jihad Holy War on Cadbury

Nevertheless, it’s true that Jihad was innocent until some extremists abuse the word for something else. For example, besides using it for terrorism, Malaysian extremist group – Perkasa – had launched Jihad (holy war according to their interpretation) on confectionery company Cadbury, forcing Cadbury Dairy Milk hazelnut and Cadbury Dairy Milk roast almond to be pulled from shelves in 2014.


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