Linda Sarsour bores me. She is the radical flavor-of-the-month. But she is a numbingly familiar type to longtime observers of sharia supremacists in the West: the forked tongue, the flag-draped anti-Americanism, the close partnership with the hard left, and so on. Eight years ago, I wrote a book called The Grand Jihad about this breed of Muslim Brotherhood-mold operative. Sarsour fits the pathology to a tee … but once you’re on to them, these people are a dime a dozen. Yawn.
She got my attention, though, with her call for “jihad” in executing the Islamist-Leftist “resistance” to Donald Trump. Naturally, this has led to a brouhaha about whether she was really calling for violence or using “jihad” in the revisionist non-violent sense of “an internal struggle for personal betterment.”
I have no doubt that Lee Smith (in Tablet) is correct: Sarsour is a provocateur who was trying to call attention to herself while laying the groundwork to play the victim when she was inevitably criticized. What I have found amusing, however, are the two premises urged by her apologists: (a) we should take the jihad revisionism seriously; and (b) she must have meant “non-violent” jihad because she introduced the term by referring to a hadith in which Mohammed, Islam’s prophet, explains that, rather than violence, “the best form of jihad” is to speak “a word of truth” before a tyrant.
On the first point, jihad is essentially a forcible struggle. As Lee Smith points out, the evidence of sense should tell us all we need to know about it: just look at what is happening “on the killing fields of the Middle East.” Still, we do not need to make a deduction because the meaning of the word is clear, and because non-violent connotations of jihad are understood to be in support of the same mission as forcible jihad: the implementation of sharia, Islam’s societal framework and legal code.
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