After turning more than a few heads in calling for “jihad” against the Donald Trump administration, Women’s March organizer and Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour explained that she only used the term in context of a “personal struggle.” And she is correct, the term “jihad” in the Quran does refer to one’s personal or spiritual struggle, but even she ought to have known better in choosing words, given how terrorists define their jihad.
A tweet from 2013 of hers even acknowledges as much:
Republicans using the word "jihad" in the right context. "Jihad against Obamacare." How ironic? What if a Muslim said that? Smh.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) October 3, 2013
Speaking of terrorism, new footage from a separate speech of hers shows that Sarsour thinks she knows who to blame: America, of course.
To quote: “When we talk about ISIS, everyone is always like, ‘ISIS this, ISIS that.’ Did anybody here…Was ISIS around 15 years ago? 10 years ago? 7 years ago? Why do I have to explain to everybody where ISIS came from? We have to challenge the frame that the media puts us in, to say – as an example – that we have to get to the root of the problem when it comes to terrorism. The root of the problem doesn’t come from within the Muslim community. It comes from a politicized foreign policy of war on our people, and those most directly impacted by groups like ISIS and wars are Muslims. So I don’t know why we have to defend ourselves in the media when we are not the ones who created the problem.”
So, Islamic State is Obama's fault, Linda? There was no Islamist extremism before IS? All the West's fault! 🐍🐍🐍 pic.twitter.com/Gih0tBcSQP
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) July 10, 2017
For starters, was ISIS around 15 years ago? Seven years ago? Why yes – yes they were….
While they weren’t the self-described caliphate they are today (but not for long, as losses mount), ISIS did indeed exist prior to when Sarsour thinks they did.
Two points dispel her argument that terrorists wouldn’t exist if only mean old America didn’t fight terrorism:
First, as noted in my (Matt Palumbo) book, A Paradoxical Alliance, America’s first war with Islam is nearly as old as America itself. Like most people, you’re probably unaware that roughly 1.5 million Europeans and Americans were enslaved in Islamic North Africa between 1530 and 1780. Naturally, that was a political issue at that time. The Muslim pirates responsible for the enslavement all came from the Barbary Coast – Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.
In March of 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams made a trip to visit Tripoli’s ambassador to London. They asked why it was they attacked American ships and enslaved their people (yes – this is completely hypocritical given the law on slavery in America at the time), given that we had done the Barbary nations “no injury.” The response from the ambassador, Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, essentially boiled down to the religious version of “because we can.”
Jefferson wrote in a letter to John Jay relaying the exchange: “The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” Hardly the kind of response you can blame on American aggression, Islamophobia, or a few bad apples.
Military force later solved the problem during the Jefferson administration.
Secondly — also discussed in the book — ISIS has told us themselves why they hate us in their propaganda magazine Dabiq. In an article, literally titled ‘Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You,’ they write, “What’s important to understand here is that although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you. No doubt, we would stop fighting you then as we would stop fighting any disbelievers who enter into a covenant with us, but we would not stop hating you.”
Interesting — one could nearly glean from such a quote that the Islamic State is Islamic.