Many evangelicals are behind Trump and the Muslim ban. Some of them don’t like what I’m up to.

I’ve had my first trolls on Twitter. One referenced me being dead soon. I wrote about it here.

But my little threat was nothing compared to what’s happening to another American.

Her name is Linda Sarsour. She was born in the U.S.A. She’s a civil rights activist. She’s an American. And she’s a Muslim.

This week in a speech, she used the word jihad. She said that she considered standing up to violent Islamophobic oppressors as a form of jihad.

Then the Muslim-haters went wild because of her use the J-word.

Today, one guy encouraged people to show up to her house. He was an NYPD guy. He posted her address on Twitter.

Kind of bizarre. Especially since over 1,000 NYPD officers are Muslim.

Think about it. Muslims are under organized attack by white nationalists.

Hate crimes against Muslims are going through the roof.

Just last month, three men had their throats slashed in Portland. Because they tried to defend two teenage Muslim girls. Two of the men died. Murdered on a train — white American men murdered for trying to hold back some racist hater for abusing innocent Muslim girls.

Many praised the murderer. They called for more violence against Muslims, against innocent Muslim-American women for wearing hijab.

In her speech, Sarsour said responding peacefully to that kind hate, regardless of whether it’s against Muslims or anyone else, she considers a form of jihad.

Unfortunately many think jihad means violent terrorism. But what jihad actually means is to struggle, or to strive. 

Sarsour was saying she will continue in the struggle.

Because to love is to struggle.

To do good, whether it be to family, children, friends, community, an oppressed people group, usually requires struggle.

You struggle when you care deeply for others.

Ms. Sarsour was just saying, “I will continue in the struggle against such violence, not just against Muslims, but against any Americans.”

Words can be so misunderstood.

Like the word jihad, many misunderstand the term Sharia Law.

In Islam, there is the great debate of the concept of Sharia Law. It’s a very complicated concept. Just like in Christianity there is the debate about issues like sanctification, or justification by faith alone.

You have the extremist view for Sharia Law which means it’s a law that requires that “true” Muslims take over the world. This is a very minority view within Islam. It’s the view of ISIS, who murder more Muslims than anyone else.

Amongst Christians, you can have extreme views, too. You have the Biblical view that homosexuals are to be stoned to death. But of course, few Christians hold to this view (though I’ve known some who hold it).

The bigger interpretation is that Shariah Law is like the way Christians or Jews would talk about following “God’s law.” Namely, loving your neighbor, being generous and kind and civil, following the laws of the land.

Nobody in America would mistake the notion of following God’s Law with trying to violently take over the world.

In the USA, as citizens of this nation, regardless of our religious affiliation, the vast majority of people work within the confines of the US Constitution.

For hundreds of years, Muslims in this country have done, precisely, the same.

Sadly, misinformed people have taken these words jihad and Sharia Law and twisted them. It’s conspiracy theory thinking. You really can’t reason with these people because they don’t read outside of their own websites and echo chambers.

It’s always easier for such people to think in black and white. All Muslims want war and to take over America; all Christians want peace and are not violent.

Good guys versus bad guys.

It’s textbook xenophobia.

It’s the Alt-Right movement.

Here’s a thought for my fellow Christians friends. Over 70% of Americans profess to be Christian. There were over 31,000 incidents of gun violence last year, nearly 8,000 resulting in death.

Presumably, given 70% of Americans identify as Christian, a good number of these 31,000 acts of gun violence were performed by Christians.

So should we ban Christians? Are we to conclude that since the vast majority of murderers were not Muslims, and many Christians, that Christianity is a violent religion?

Of course not. The issue here isn’t the race or religion of those who used guns to harm; the issue is violence.

So Linda Sarsour is famous for her Kingian stance on peaceful protest: speaking, writing, marching, but never violence.

Dr. King practiced those non-violent methods to stand for the human rights of not Muslims, but blacks.

Interesting fact along the way, after his “I have a Dream” speech, the FBI considered MLK the “most dangerous and effective leader in the country.” J. Edgar Hoover had him followed, bugged his office and sent an anonymous letter telling him to commit suicide.

Sadly, Ms. Sarsour is experiencing the same form of suspicion.

Was Dr. King also a jihadist? Of course not! He was “fighting a war” against bigotry and discrimination. He rallied millions of people to try and change laws and change people hearts.

He wanted blacks to be treated like whites.

Equal rights.

Like Dr. King toward blacks, Linda Sarsour wants Muslims to be treated like white Americans.

She said in her speech that she will struggle for their rights.

And why shouldn’t she? Because a few crazies claiming to be Muslims are trying to terrorize the world and hijack her religion?

We must remember in these times that the very purpose of terrorism to produce paranoia — irrational fear.

Laura Sarsour is trying to say, “We will ‘fight’ against this attempt to marginalize 1.6 billion people, over 3 million who are U.S. citizens, and 5,000 that serve in our armed forces.”

A sad fact we also need to realize is that many white Christians hated MLK. Not just the KKK members, but those with the ideas of the current Alt-Right movement — the idea that the USA needs to, as Pat Buchanan recently said in an NPR interview, “America needs to its ethnic core.” Mr. Buchanan then made it clear, in case there was any confusion, that he wasn’t referring to Native Americans.

He talked about the need for the US to find ways to return its citizenry to its Western European core.

White people.

Today I’m sad because I see this implicit racism in the minds and hearts of so many. And most would never come out and confess, “I’m racist” or “I don’t want Muslims to live here.”

But the sad fact is we have a movement in this country that is doing everything it can, with our nation’s laws, to quell any movement for equality, including that of Linda Sarsour.

I hope all Americans can get behind the backbone of our nation: that we are all one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice, for all.

That’s what’s behind the work of Linda Sarsour.

And it’s we’re doing with The Alliance. I hope you can JOIN US!

About The Author

My name is Paul Martin. I am a writer, who happens to be a Christian. I like writing about the intersection of family, religion, and politics. Recently, I launched a peacebuilding organization called The Christian Muslims Alliance.

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