Doublespeak is language that deliberately distorts or even reverses the meaning of words. For example, when critics of radical Islam expose this extremism for what is it, their critics call them “Islamophobes;” when those who call themselves “social justice warriors” campaigning for tolerance exhibit just the opposite (i.e., intolerance) by shutting down any conversation with which they don’t agree; when others force their religious beliefs (i.e., blasphemy laws) upon others in the name of religion (as in Canada’s new motion against criticism of Islam); or when perpetrators of crimes frame themselves as victims.
Doublespeak often leads to doublethink, as George Orwell writes in his seminal novel Nineteen Eight-Four, “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.” In the novel, people explicitly learn doublethink due to peer pressure and a desire to fit in or gain status with in the “Party.”
With these definitions in mind, Clarion Project launches a week-long expose of some of the worst offenders:
Speaking at the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) conference in Chicago over the weekend, Islamist activist Linda Sarsour provoked outrage when she called on the Muslim community to wage “jihad” against U.S. President Donald Trump.
In a breathtaking display of doublespeak, she billed her speech as a talk about patriotism. Addressing immigrants and children of immigrants, Sarsour said, “Patriotism in your home country is different than patriotism in these United States of America. In this country, in the land of freedom of speech, in the land of democracy, dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
And here is essentially where jihad comes in. Sarsour explained:
“There is a man who once asked our beloved prophet … ‘What is the best form of jihad or struggle?’ And our beloved prophet … said to him, ‘A word of truth in front of a tyrant or leader. That is the best form of jihad.’ I hope that when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts us as a form of jihad.”
She framed her rant in the context of the greater struggle “against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or the other side of the world, but here in the United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
Making sure to top off her cause with “justice” for her assailed community – whose members she paints as victims of religious persecution and racism — she stated, “Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community. It is not to assimilate and to please any other people in authority. And our top priority . . . is to please Allah, and only Allah.”
When called out for her use of the word jihad, she disingenuously pointed to her history of non-violent protest.
While it is true that jihad connotes both inner struggle as well as armed violence, Sarsour’s deliberate use of the word jihad is classic doublespeak.
Everyone knows how the word jihad is normally used – including Sarsour. Besides the publicity she knew she was sure to get from using such a term – and with it, the ready-made opportunity to bash those objecting to it — one can only imagine her reaction if someone took her words a different way to take out who she calls the “fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
And given today’s society, where Islamist terror has become so rampant, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that use of such language is incitement to violence.
Consider the opening words of Sarsour’s speech, where she praised radical Imam Siraj Wahhaj as “her favorite person in the room.” Wahhaj was listed as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings and testified on behalf of the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, the former leader of an Egyptian terrorist organization, who was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement with the same bombing.
Wahhaj has a long history of speaking about jihad in the most traditional way: “I will never ever tell people ‘don’t be violent, that is not the Islamic way.’ The violence has to be selected.” Wahhaj also said, “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”
So, while Sarsour – who longs for the day she will live in a sharia-compliant society — will continue to be fetted by today’s feminists, “progressives” and social justice warriors, the rest of us will not be taken in by her doublespeak about patriotism.
Watch the full version of Sarsour’s speech at the ISNA convention:
Thanks to Linda Goudsmit for her invaluable ideas for this series.