Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American activist and Women’s March organizer, drew criticism over a recent speech she gave at the Islamic Society of North America convention over her use of the word “jihad.”
“I hope that … when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad … here in these United States of America,” Sarsour told the crowd, “where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
Some interpreted her use of “jihad” as a call for outright violence.
“Linda Sarsour’s Call For ‘Jihad’ Against President Trump Is A Call For Treason,” a headline in the Federalist read.
The word has many uses in the Islamic faith, and is often evoked by groups like ISIS. The word literally means “to struggle” but is also often translated as “holy war.”
Sarsour’s allies defended her use of the word, describing it as a reference to a peaceful struggle.
“For people to out of nowhere claim that I would be calling for some sort of violence against the president is absolutely ludicrous,” Sarsour told the Washington Post. “That’s just not who I am. That’s never been who I am.”
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .
Did Linda Sarsour Call For Jihad Against Trump?