Linda Sarsour, organizer of the Women’s March, is finding herself in the position of defending her usage of the phrase “Jihad against the White House,” a comment that seems like a fairly aggressive call for violence.Such a comment is, obviously, garnering a lot of attention and stirring up controversy due in large part to the ever-growing hostilities presenting themselves in the political climate as of late, including the shooting of a GOP congressman last month by a liberal activist.
The Daily Caller is reporting, Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour defended her call for jihad against the White House Sunday, blaming the outrage over her use of the word on conservative media in a Washington Post op-ed.Muslim activist Sarsour called for a jihad against the White House during a speech she made at the Community Service Recognition Luncheon July 1. After drawing outrage for using the term “jihad,” Sarsour defended herself by saying she used the term to mean “struggle” or “to strive for.”
“In my speech — you can watch the unedited version here — I sent not a call to violence, but a call to speak truth to power and to commit to the struggle for racial and economic justice. I was speaking to an all-Muslim audience; as an American, I should be free to share and discuss scripture and teachings of my beloved Prophet,” Sarsour wrote.
Sarsour was particularly concerned about the outrage over her using the term because it could potentially cause people to be policed because of their faith.“Most disturbing about this recent defamation campaign is how it is focused on demonizing the legitimate yet widely misunderstood Islamic term I used, ‘jihad,’ which to majority of Muslims and according to religious scholars means ‘struggle’ or ‘to strive for,’” Sarsour wrote. “This term has been hijacked by Muslim extremists and right-wing extremists alike, leaving ordinary Muslims to defend our faith and in some cases silenced. It sets a dangerous precedent when people of faith are policed and when practicing their religion peacefully comes with consequences.”
Sarsour has promised she will keep fighting, labeling criticism for her use of the term “Jihad” attacks from “xenophobes and conservative media,” an argument that seems to totally ignore a few basic observances.
For one, while she may be correct on her usage of “Jihad” — a scholar would know this for sure — that’s not how the word is popularly used and understood today. It has a certain context and meaning that is now closely associated with terrorism.Words, over time, often change their meanings depending on how the current culture uses them and understands them, which is precisely why “jihad” means what it means now.
Words are weapons that have much power, which is precisely why someone with a platform like Sarsour should be more careful and wise in how she chooses to express herself.
[This article was written by Steve Parker]