Linda Sarsour

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There is NOT ONE example of Muslims trying to impose Sharia on ANY ONE. No legislations. Anti-Muslim rallies playing on the gullible.
—Linda Sarsour[1]

Linda Sarsour (1980–) is an American political activist, who has stumped for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, marched with the Black Lives Matter movement and co-founded the Women's March.Wikipedia's W.svg[2] Sarsour was born in Brooklyn, New York and is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants.[3] At 17, she entered an arranged marriage.[3]

Muslim feminist[edit]

Sarsour is Muslim and considers herself to be a feminist.[4] She is very proud of wearing the hijab[5] and she claims that "oppression of women is absolutely shunned in the Islamic faith."[6] Due to Sarsour embracing Islam while claiming to be a feminist, she has been criticized by other feminists. Ayaan Hirsi Ali called Sarsour a "fake feminist".[7] Together with Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, and Carmen Perez, Sarsour was an organizer of the 2017 Women's March, a march of progressive groups protesting President Donald Trump's election.[8]

Criticism[edit]

In 2011, Sarsour tweeted:[note 1]

Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She's asking 4 an a$$ whippin'. I wish I could take their vaginas away — they don't deserve to be women.[9]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM).[10] American journalist Jake TapperWikipedia's W.svg tweeted that this was "pretty vile to say about a survivor of FGM."[11][note 2] Sarsour was asked about her tweet at a 2017 event. She did not apologize or even acknowledge the tweet was real. She also incorrectly said she was in her 20s at the time.[note 3]

Student: Hi. So, um, this question is really important because I believe that women’s rights are human rights. So I really want to know under what circumstances it’s acceptable to say that “I wish I could take their vaginas away - they don't deserve to be women.” Just to give that context, that was one of your tweets off your Twitter.
Sarsour: So, let’s give some context here because you… we have, uh, this is an event organized by an Asian American, right? Let’s just get some… let’s get some context to what is going on here. Celebrating a community, right? Talking about communities of color who are being directly impacted at this moment and I have a young white man in the back who is not directly impacted by any of the issues that I mentioned. A copy and paste that he got from a right wing blog. He doesn’t even know if it came from my Twitter account because he has a screenshot of it. He never actually went to my Twitter to see if it’s actually there, right? That never happened. But let me just say this to you, you’re college students. I was in my 20s, when was that? 2011? People say stupid shit sometimes, right? I will be judged by my impeccable track record for standing for black lives and immigrant rights and womens’ rights and LGBT rights. You judge me by that record and not by some tweet that you think I did or did not tweet 10 years ago, or 7 years ago, or whenever it was. So that’s my answer to your question. Next.[12]

Accusations of antisemitism[edit]

Only Jews in my notifications every night are ones that condone violence against Arabs and are cool with mosques being attacked.
—Linda Sarsour to her Twitter followers, later specifying in the replies she only meant to target the 0.001% non-peaceful Jews.[13]

Due to her ties with Louis Farrakhan and her strong anti-Zionist pronouncements, Sarsour has been — with varying degrees of justification — accused of anti-Semitism. Two directors of the U.S.-based Jewish NGO the Anti-Defamation League, along with the president of the Zionist Organization of America, have criticized Sarsour's stance on Israel.[14] Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL's director, has said that Sarsour's support of BDS "encourages and spreads anti-Semitism".[14] Sarsour has associated with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and refused to condemn his extremely anti-Semitic, homophobic and transphobic rhetoric.[15] Sarsour spoke at a 2015 rally organized by Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam;[15][16] she has also promoted Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam organization as "an integral part" of "the history of Islam in America."[17]

At the same time, she is supported by Jewish Voice for Peace[18] and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.[19] If one wishes to reconcile her alliances together, it would be more accurate to say that she associates with all sides of the political spectrum as Martin Luther King Jr. did in seeking justice, although she loses points by her refusal to condemn hateful rhetoric when necessary as King was willing to do with his peers.

Views of race and racism[edit]

Sarsour rejects the standard definition of racism and believes that "Racism is bigotry + power. The group that doesn't have power can't be racist."[20] She also thinks that the race of a person depends on their privileges, since she stated: "I am not white. If I had the privilege of a white person, maybe. But I don't."[21] Nevertheless, she later identified as a white girl,[22] and subsequently as a person of color.[23] While discussing the racial identity of Arabs, she has said "At the end of the day it's self-identification. I'm Palestinian; if I want to say 'I'm Black,' — I'm Black!"[24]

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine[edit]

In a controversial episode, Sarsour said she was "honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea [Odeh]."[25][26] Rasmea Odeh was a member of the terrorist group[27][28] "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine", and was convicted in 1969 for her involvement in a bombing that killed two people and injured several others at a crowded Jerusalem supermarket.[29][30]

Protests and arrests[edit]

Due to her acts of protest, Sarsour has been arrested on several occasions:

  • On March 8, 2017, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland were arrested after a day of loud but orderly protests for "A Day Without a Woman," a strike the group organized to mark International Women's Day. The group was arrested for disrupting traffic by sitting in the street near the Trump Hotel at Columbus Circle.[31]
  • On March 6, 2018, Sarsour and other Muslim-American leaders were arrested at the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, after demanding that he meet them to hear their concerns.[32]
  • On September 4, 2018, Sarsour and other women were arrested for obstructing the proceedings at Brett Kavanaugh supreme court hearing.[33]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. The tweet has since been deleted, but is archived here.
  2. Additionally, this tweet was not made in good given the existence of transgender women.
  3. Sarsour was born in 1980 so she was either 30 or 31 when she posted her tweet in 2011.

References[edit]

  1. Linda Sarsour on Twitter. (archived)
  2. "American Muslims: 25 most influential". CNN. May, 2018. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Chandler, Michael Alison (February 7, 2017). "March catapults Muslim American into national spotlight and social-media crosshairs". Washington Post. 
  4. "Are Islam and Feminism Mutually Exclusive". December 2, 2015. 
  5. Refinery29. Are Islam and Feminism Mutually Exclusive | Get Real | Refinery29. YouTube, 0:52.
  6. Refinery29. Are Islam and Feminism Mutually Exclusive | Get Real | Refinery29. YouTube, 1:17.
  7. "Ayaan Hirsi Ali says controversial Women’s March organizer is a ‘fake feminist’". Women In the World. February 2, 2017. 
  8. Alter, Charlotte (January 20, 2017). "How the Women's March Has United Progressives of All Stripes". Time. 
  9. Linda Sarsour on Twitter. (archived)
  10. Kazmir, Munr (July 24, 2017). "Linda Sarsour Is Dangerous, So Let’s All Stop Pretending Otherwise". The Huffington Post. 
  11. Jake Tapper on Twitter.
  12. CAMERA On Campus. Linda Sarsour Attacks Student For Questioning Her Sexist Tweet. YouTube, May 23, 2017.
  13. Linda Sarsour on Twitter. (archived)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sales, Ben (May 2, 2017). "Linda Sarsour: Why the Palestinian-American activist is controversial". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Roth, Daniel J. (March 3, 2018). "Women’s March leaders refuse to condemn Farrakhan after antisemitic speech". The Jerusalem Post. 
  16. Marquardt-Bigman, Petra (March 7, 2018). "Linda Sarsour Has Been A Farrakhan Fan For Years". Forward. 
  17. Linda Sarsour on Twitter. (archived)
  18. JVP-NYC Stands with Linda Sarsour. Jewish Voice for Peace, May 3, 2017.
  19. Sasson, Audrey. The 2017 Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk Taker Awards!. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, December 21, 2017.
  20. Linda Sarsour on Twitter. (archived)
  21. Linda Sarsour on Twitter. (archived)
  22. Vox. A beginner's guide to hijabs. YouTube, 1:13.
  23. Abrahamian, Atossa (April 27, 2017). "Who’s Afraid Of Linda Sarsour?". Fader. 
  24. Elder of Ziyon on Twitter. (video)
  25. Sales, Ben (May 3, 2017). "Why Linda Sarsour Is So Controversial". Forward. 
  26. Israellycool. Linda Sarsour Speaks At JVP Conference. YouTube, 2:37.
  27. Council Decision 2012/333/CFSP. Official Journal of the European Union, June 26, 2012.
  28. Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Bureau of Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State.
  29. Detroit Associated Press (November 5, 2014). "Arab-American activist on trial for allegedly concealing terror role in immigration papers". The Guardian. 
  30. Meisner, Jason (October 22, 2013). "Feds: Woman hid terror conviction to get citizenship". Chicago Tribune.  (archived)
  31. Alter, Charlotte (March 8, 2017). "Women's March Organizers Arrested at 'Day Without a Woman' Protest Outside Trump Hotel". Time. 
  32. "Linda Sarsour arrested at Paul Ryan's office". Al Jazeera. March 6, 2018. 
  33. Siddiqui, Sabrina (September 5, 2018). "Brett Kavanaugh: protests disrupt Senate supreme court hearing". The Guardian.