Conservative pundit Laura Ingraham and a prominent Muslim imam engaged in a heated debate on Friday over a left-wing Muslim activist’s controversial call for “jihad” against President Donald Trump’s administration and inflammatory accusations of racism made against the White House.
During a speech at the Islamic Society of North America Convention last weekend, leftist activist and Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour called for Muslims to resist the “tyrants,” “fascists” and “white supremacists” in the Trump administration, which Sarsour says she hope will be viewed by Allah as “a form of Jihad.”
“Why, sisters and brothers, why are we so unprepared?” Sarsour said. “Why are we so afraid of this administration and the potential chaos that they will ensue on our community? … I hope that when we stand up to those who oppress our communities that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad. … We are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad … but [also] here in the United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and islamophobes reining in the White House.”
On Friday evening’s episode of “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel, Ingraham, who was hosting the show, suggested Sarsour’s use of “jihad” and her attacks on Trump were deliberately incendiary, but guest Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi said the many of Sarsour’s comments were justified.
“If you live it for us, ‘jihad’ means to be a better person, more honest, more truthful, more trustworthy,” Ali Elahi said. “But, of course, if you live this jihad for ISIS, live the Koran for ISIS, or Bible for the KKK [Ku Klux Klan], they have a different interpretation of it.”
“I’m not representing for Linda, but I think she is expressing her frustration,” he continued. “When we have a president, that he’s putting ban on six countries that are victims of terrorism and rewarding the biggest funders of terrorism in the world, that brings frustration, obvious.” [sic]
Ingraham — who acknowledged earlier in the debate that jihad can mean “to struggle,” especially within a spiritual context — said Sarsour’s allegation that the president’s administration is “fascist” and composed of “white supremacists” is “purposefully incendiary.”
“Imam, here’s what doesn’t go over well with most Americans … Linda Sarsour getting up there and saying the ‘fascist,’ ‘islamophobe,’ ‘white supremacists’ in the Oval Office,” Ingraham said. “That is so purposefully incendiary, and I would say if he weren’t the president of the United States, he could sue for defamation. Because that’s just garbage. That’s meant to incite Muslims, to whom she’s speaking. It’s certainly not meant to build bridges. That is meant to incite, infuriate — infuriate is fine, but incite is not good.”
Sarsour has become one of the leaders of the modern feminist movement, and she’s no stranger to controversy. Sarsour has been heavily criticized for saying Sharia law is “reasonable” and “makes a lot of sense.”
@LaRebelleFleur shariah law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense. People just know the basics
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) September 22, 2011
A tweet Sarsour posted in 2015 of an image of a boy preparing to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers has also drawn the ire of many. Sarsour called the imaged the “definition of courage.”
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) October 12, 2015