A Palestinian-American activist, whose profile in progressive circles has risen in recent months over her vocal opposition to Donald Trump and to Israel and Zionism, has likened opposition to the US president to “jihad.”
Speaking over the weekend at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Chicago, Linda Sarsour, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel who recently declared there is no space in the feminist movement for those who do not criticize Israel, said “I hope that when we [Muslims] stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad.”
Muslims, she said, were “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.”
Sarsour railed against Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, calling it a “Muslim ban” and saying the Trump administration was “relentless” in wanting to see “how much the Muslim community can endure.”
“Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community, it is not to assimilate and please any other people and authority,” she said. “Our obligation is to our young people, is to our women, to make sure our women are protected in our community.”
“Our top priority and even higher than all those other priorities is to please Allah and only Allah,” she added.
Sarsour helped organize the Women’s March on Washington in January, a day after Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s Strike. She also helped raise more than $150,000 for vandalized Jewish cemeteries in the US earlier this year.
In April, she spoke at an event for the pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace and more recently drew criticism for giving the commencement speech at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
Sarsour got her start as an activist defending the civil rights of American Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and, in recent years, protesting against surveillance of Muslim communities.