Yep, you read that right. This week you’re getting a Leftist Lexicon two-fer, and I will make this worth your while.
Recently Women’s March organizer, Leftist activist (which is pretty much the same thing), and prominent Muslim Linda Sarsour raised a few eyebrows recently when she referenced the word “jihad” in a speech criticizing President Donald Trump in a keynote address for the Islamic Society of North America. The Right focused on her use of the word to suggest she wanted to wage holy war against the President, while the Left said she was taken out of context and that jihad has a completely peaceful meaning.
Let’s take a look at this explosive word, if you’ll pardon the pun. And if you don’t, I’ll win on appeal.
What the Left thinks it means – an internal struggle, but can also mean holy war in limited cases
What the Right thinks it means – holy war, but can also mean an internal struggle in limited cases
What it really means – holy war and an internal struggle, depending on context
Yes, there’s that little word “context” again! In the interest of making sure Sarsour’s words are put in context, here is the portion of the speech in question. I would type it out, but a) it’s better if you read the transcript in full, b) it’s too fraking long to type, and c) it’s nuttier than squirrel dung. In context, Sarsour doesn’t overtly come out and call for violent holy war, but she doesn’t overtly come out and say it’s a personal struggle, either.
Now, if this were an isolated incident, I might be inclined to agree with the Left on this one. It’s not, of course, so I’m going to disagree with the Left’s take on jihad. Reading through Sarsour’s Twitter feed brings up some interesting tidbits, including an attempt to turn Islam into a female-friendly religion. Also, she has said female critics of Islam should have their genitals removed.
And remember, kids, she’s a feminist.
Sarsour has tried to push back against the Right’s criticism of her use of “jihad” in a speech, saying she was taken out of context and would never advocate violence. Given what she said and who she was targeting, I would be hard pressed to give her the benefit of the doubt. She speaks of fascists, Islamophobes, and white supremacists in the White House, but we’re supposed to believe her call for jihad is strictly peaceful? Let’s not forget she said earlier in the section I linked earlier that those who sit on the sidelines in the fight for Muslims in America are empowering the people who she says are oppressing Muslims. So, how would Sarsour propose to peacefully stop the oppression via a personal struggle?
Well, she hasn’t really gotten to that point yet. However, I might have a hypothesis; she’s lying through her hijab. Although she likens her movement to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the civil rights movement didn’t behead racists en masse or force FGM on white women who didn’t see segregation as a positive step forward. Nope, those actions are supported by…Muslims. Granted, not all Muslims model this season’s bomb vests, but enough do to raise eyebrows.
Digging a bit deeper into Sarsour’s history, you find she is Palestinian. Let’s just say Palestinians may not have gotten the memo about jihad meaning personal struggle because they’ve been practicing the more violent kind of Islam. This leads me to believe Sarsour also may not have gotten the memo, or did and wants us to ignore Palestinian violence in the name of Islam while paying sole attention on her version of jihad.
Sorry, Ms. Sarsour, but that’s not how this works. Not only are you using the tired Leftist “I was taken out of context” defense, but you’re relying on people not to take your upbringing and history into account when you speak of jihad. You can say you’re following Dr. Martin Luther King’s example, and you can certainly believe that with your whole heart. I can call my dog a bird, but it doesn’t mean he can fly. Words mean things, Ms. Sarsour, and you used the word jihad purposely to elicit a response on both sides of the aisle. And you succeeded, but to what end? So you can play the victim, thus getting Leftists to run interference for you and possibly give you praise and money for your struggle?
Or is it something more sinister? Let’s be honest here. The Left has gotten more violent than an MMA fight directed by Sam Peckinpah, and they are finding ways to act on their violent natures. It’s not that far of a leap to suggest the use of jihad in Sarsour’s speech was meant to inflame the same people attacking Republican Congressmen, threatening Republican Senators, and cheering the “artistic expression” of a bloodied severed head of Donald Trump. And given what she said in her speech about Trump, it’s easy to conclude she’s a fan of the violent Left as well as the violent Muslims. Put another way, Sarsour is the perfect spokeswoman for both the Left and Islamic extremists because she speaks both of their languages.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. Jihad has more than one meaning, so it’s important to keep context in mind. I know Muslims who wouldn’t hurt a fly and find radical Islam distasteful. These are good men and women whose jihads may be closer to what Linda Sarsour and her Leftist fans want us to believe it means. But we cannot ignore the definition of jihad that involves violence, death, and destruction. The two meanings cannot be separated and must be defined in the spirit in which they are used. To assume one definition or the other is the right one is to open up the possibility of being wrong.
And when it comes to Islam, we can’t afford to be wrong. If we round up all Muslims when they want nothing more than to live in peace, we deny them basic human liberties and prove Linda Sarsour right about America. If we treat all Muslims as peaceful, we run the risk of leaving ourselves vulnerable to attack from those who wish to do us harm.
Not an easy road we walk to be sure, but as Americans we owe it to ourselves not to give in to the overly optimistic or the overly pessimistic view of Islam. That means we have to do our own vetting on a personal level, but it is worth it to protect not only our country, but our liberty. After all, a government that can round up Muslims today can round up Christians tomorrow without changing their mission statement.