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Linda Sarsour Defends Her Use Of Jihad, Blames Conservative Media

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Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour defended her call for jihad against the White House Sunday, blaming the outrage over her use of the word on conservative media in a Washington Post op-ed.

Muslim activist Sarsour called for a jihad against the White House during a speech she made at the Community Service Recognition Luncheon July 1. After drawing outrage for using the term “jihad,” Sarsour defended herself by saying she used the term to mean “struggle” or “to strive for.”

“In my speech — you can watch the unedited version here — I sent not a call to violence, but a call to speak truth to power and to commit to the struggle for racial and economic justice. I was speaking to an all-Muslim audience; as an American, I should be free to share and discuss scripture and teachings of my beloved Prophet,” Sarsour wrote.

Sarsour was particularly concerned about the outrage over her using the term because it could potentially cause people to be policed because of their faith.

“Most disturbing about this recent defamation campaign is how it is focused on demonizing the legitimate yet widely misunderstood Islamic term I used, ‘jihad,’ which to majority of Muslims and according to religious scholars means ‘struggle’ or ‘to strive for,’” Sarsour wrote. “This term has been hijacked by Muslim extremists and right-wing extremists alike, leaving ordinary Muslims to defend our faith and in some cases silenced. It sets a dangerous precedent when people of faith are policed and when practicing their religion peacefully comes with consequences.”

Sarsour vowed to keep fighting in spite of the attacks from “xenophobes and conservative media” because “dissent is the highest form of patriotism, and I intend to continue to push my country to respect the rights of all its citizens. I will not be silenced.”

Despite being a Women’s March organizer, Sarsour has been particularly dismissive of certain issues affecting women. When news broke of the Michigan doctors performing female genital mutilation on girls as young as seven, Sarsour’s responded to a commenter who asked if she cried over it with “I sure do.”

She has also wished she could take away the vagina of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a female genital mutilation survivor.

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