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Johnny Jihad

Johnny Jihad n. a Muslim or Muslim combatant. Editorial Note: After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this term was first used in reference to John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who fought on behalf of the Taliban in Afghanistan. In 2003 Ryan Inzana released a graphic novel also called Johnny Jihad, using a story loosely similar to that of John Walker Lindh’s. The first cite below is not related to current usage of the term. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  • Perhaps, but Johnny and John are common given names in fictional everyman-type words: John Bull, John Chinaman, John Doughboy, John Farmer, John Indian, John Law, Johnny Congress, Johnny Green, Johnny Haultaut, Johnny Newcome, Johnny Raw, Johnny Tinplate, etc., etc. (all taken from the Historical Dictionary of American Slang).

  • Two other uses of “Johnny” to personify an enemy soldier come to mind.  Australians refered to their opponents as “Johnny Turk” during the First World War, while the Union side in the American Civil War dubbed soldiers from the south as “Johnny Reb”.  Could these earlier usages, coupled with the attractive alliterative potential of “jihad”, have suggested this current term?

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