Americans should learn what 'jihad' really means. Uproar over a recent speech shows why.

"Jihad" is a loaded word, especially when you rip it from the context in which it's being used.

After a video of Muslim activist and Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour went viral, headlines began popping up around the internet claiming she had called for a "jihad" against the Trump administration, with some going so far as to try to link her to violent acts of terrorism.

Yes, she said "jihad" in her recent speech to the Islamic Society of North America. No, it doesn't mean what many of these outlets are trying to suggest — especially in the context she said it.


Sarsour called for nonviolent resistance to harmful people and policies within the Trump administration.

The nearly 23-minute speech touches on organizing, activism, building bridges within the community, standing up to oppressors, and a host of other topics that are well worth a watch if you've got the time. The key moment that seems to have been left out of many of the more sensational reports came when she actually defines "the best form of jihad" as "a word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader."

All GIFs from s khalil/YouTube.

"There is a man who once asked our beloved Prophet Muhammad ... he said to him, 'What is the best form of jihad or struggle?'

And our beloved Prophet Muhammad ... said to him, 'A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler 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 from us that as a form of jihad, that we are struggling against tyrants and rulers, not only abroad in the Middle East or 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."

Author Qasim Rashid came to Sarsour's defense, sharing an important series of tweets further defining what jihad actually is.

It's long but worth a read, starting here. He also shared a link to a resource about the efforts of terrorists to co-opt and pervert the term to mean something it's not.

Wherever your beliefs fall on the political spectrum, it's worth standing up for Sarsour on this. Because anything else is, as President Trump would say, "fake news."

It's a tough time to be Muslim in the U.S., and Sarsour is trying her hardest to strengthen the community's resolve to stand up for their rights as Americans to practice their religion freely and without fear.

"It's my duty to instill courage in Muslim communities, to motivate them to join the non-violent resistance against this administration and to always be unapologetically Muslim, because we have every right to be," Sarsour writes in a Twitter message. "The morale of Muslims is low, my mission is to lead by example with conviction."

Watch Sarsour's entire speech below. Regardless of your religion or political perspective, there's certainly a lesson we can all take from it.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.