Linda Sarsour is getting a lot of heat lately as a result of a speech in which she used the word “jihad” to describe the social justice struggle against Trump and Co.
I hope that we when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad, that we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or in the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.
The use of “jihad” here is not concerning to me. I know it’s just the Arab word for “struggle,” and that the violent terroristic jihad isn’t the only kind that exists. It’s really no different from encouraging people to join #TheResistance. Resistance can be violent or non-violent, and jihad is the same. As such, I don’t think that Linda has given us any more reason to criticize her than she always has. She’s saying the same thing she’s always said, except in slightly different words.
What’s more interesting to me about this speech is how it relates to Donald Trump’s recent speech in Poland, which, from what I’ve heard, was pretty good. He’s been criticized for praising “the West” and “Western Civilization,” which are apparently code words for white supremacy.
For both radical leftists and Islamists, “the West” is a metonym for all that is evil and must be eradicated. This seems to me to be the reason behind the bizarre alliance of radical leftists and Muslims in the United States. To the radical left, “the West” means the oppressive white cishet patriarchy that must be dismantled. To Islamists, “the West” is the part of the world actively rebelling against Allah that must be destroyed. The two groups differ in the way they understand their aims, but they seek the same concrete goal of destroying the West.
My take on Linda Sarsour is that she’s more of a leftist than an Islamist. She spouts off the dumb social justice rhetoric about oppression and stuff, but she doesn’t talk about how the infidels are an abomination to Allah and must be destroyed. She’s doing the same thing that non-Muslim SJWs do, using Islam as an identity marker to signify victimhood status. Her use of “jihad” in her speech is less concerning than the paradox that being a member of one of the 21st century’s most regressive religions somehow gives you authority to speak as a progressive and decry “fascism” and “white supremacy.” She herself may not advocate the imposition of Sharia law, but she can delude people into thinking that Sharia wouldn’t be so bad.
Islamism is the common cold. It’s a problem that we need to take certain precautions to avoid, but it’s manageable. Leftism is AIDS. It destroys our ability to distinguish between what is good and evil so that we can no longer protect ourselves from Islamism and other ideological ailments. Obviously, both are bad, as both aim toward the dismantling of Western Civilization, but the more immediate threat is Leftism. Let’s make sure our criticisms of Sarsour and her friends reflect that.