Born in 1980 in Brooklyn, New York, Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian-American community activist who has served as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) since 2005. She is also a board member of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY), and a member of the Justice League NYC.
An outspoken critic of Israel, Sarsour supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that uses various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.
Vis-a-vis the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, Sarsour favors a one-state solution where an Arab majority and a Jewish minority would live together within the borders of a single country. She made clear her opposition to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state when she tweeted in October 2012 that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.”
Falsely maintaining that “Palestine existed before the State of Israel,” Sarsour seeks to help “bring back a Palestinian State for the Palestinian people.” To advance this agenda, Sarsour has tweeted images of fraudulent maps claiming to depict the “Palestinian loss of land” that supposedly occurred between 1946 and 2000.
As the head of AAANY, Sarsour has played a central role in pressuring the New York Police Department to terminate its secret surveillance of Muslim mosques and organizations suspected of promoting extremism or terrorism, and to curtail its use of “stop-and-frisk” anti-crime measures. In 2011 she worked in conjuction withCommunities United for Police Reform, a coalition to advance the passage of the Community Safety Act (which expanded the definition of bias-based profiling and created an independent inspector general to review police policy in New York City). Sarsour also succeeded in pressuring City Hall to close New York’s public schools for the observance of the Islamic holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
In May 2012 Sarsour tweeted that the so-called “underwear bomber,” an al-Qaeda operative who on Christmas Day 2009 had tried to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger jet with explosives hidden inside his underwear, was actually a CIA agent participating in America’s “war on Islam.”
In 2013 Sarsour campaigned for New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. After de Blasio was elected, his office repeatedly featured Sarsour in press releases supporting the mayor’s positions on education and other matters. Moreover, his Mayor’s Fund pledged $500,000 to AAANY in 2016.
In a February 2015 appearance on Rachel Maddow‘s television program, Sarsourlamented that a nationwide epidemic of “Islamophobia” was responsible for “anti-sharia bills trying to ban us [Muslims] from practicing our faith,” “mosques being vandalized,” and Muslim “kids being executed” in the United States.
In October 2015, Sarsour posted on Twitter a photo of a young Palestinian boy clutching two stones as he stared down a group of Israeli soldiers, and labeled it “The definition of courage.” When numerous Twitter users, including Queens Councilman Rory Lancman, subsequently criticized Sarsour’s controversial post, she tweeted in response: “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it. You will never silence me.”
On Melissa Harris-Perry‘s television program on December 12, 2015, Sarsour lamented the allegedly long list of “attacks on [Muslim] individuals and on mosques” that had been perpetrated by Americans who — by misperceiving all Muslims as potential terrorists — were themselves “engaging in terrorism against the innocent [Muslim] community that has nothing to do with [terrorism].” Sarsour also scoffed at the notion of Muslim integration into American society: “We can’t change who we are. This is how we look [with Muslim attire]. We can’t integrate and assimilate…. We’re gonna look like this when we walk out into the streets of our cities when we’re traveling in this country.”
According to CounterJihad.com, Sarsour “has attended numerous rallies sponsored byAl-Awda, promoted and solicited donations for their events, and … spoken at their rallies. Sarsour has also solicited donations for the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.
Over the years, Sarsour’s activism has extended also to racial matters within the United States. For instance, when the black, hoodie-donning Florida teenager Trayvon Martinwas killed by a “white Hispanic” man in an infamous 2012 altercation, Sarsour penned an article titled “My Hijab Is My Hoodie” and declared herself “among the millions mourning the killing of Trayvon.” “Blacks in America continue to face racism on a daily basis,” she wrote, “from the workplace to interactions with law enforcement. And yet racism against African-Americans is publicly acknowledged as unacceptable…. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for Muslims in America. Bigotry against Muslims is quite acceptable.”
In the aftermath of an August 2014 incident where a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri had shot and killed a violent black criminal named Michael Brown, Sarsour co-founded Muslims for Ferguson, to draw a parallel between the respective forms of oppression allegedly suffered by black and Muslim Americans.
In April 2015 Sarsour co-chaired the March2Justice, a 250-mile protest march from New York to Washington, DC, to draw attention to the evils of racial profiling and police brutality, and to the need for increased government spending on social-welfare programs. The march was led by the Justice League NYC.
In 2016 Sarsour established Rebuild With Love, a project to raise money for the reconstruction of eight black churches that had been “burned to the ground” in the days following the racist shooting of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina the previous year. Characterizing the burnings as “attacks on Black culture, Black religion and Black lives,” Sarsour said: “As Muslims we know the importance of protecting the vulnerable” from “intimidation” and violence.
In October 2011, Sarsour, who holds free-market economics in low regard, expressed, on behalf of “Muslim New Yorkers,” “solidarity and support” for the anti-capitalistOccupy Wall Street movement. In 2011 as well, the Obama Administration honored Sarsour as a “champion of change.” As of April 2016, she had visited the Obama White House on seven different occasions.
In March of that year, when MDCNY announced its plan to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s upcoming appearance at the New York State Republican Party’s Gala in Manhattan, Sarsour said: “MDCNY plans to mobilize our communities to protest against the hateful, bigoted, racist, and xenophobic Trump candidacy. The NYS Republican Party’s embrace of this candidate shows just how out of touch they are with the millions of Muslim, Black, Latinx, immigrant, women, and other New Yorkers who stand for inclusion and unity over fear and hatred. Their celebration of Donald Trump reinforces what we already know—the Party is only concerned with appealing to the small sliver of the population that shares this bigoted worldview.”
In May 2016, Sarsour announced that she would be attending the Democratic National Convention in July as an at-large delegate.
In 2016 as well, Sarsour announced that she was planning to run for a seat on the New York City Council in 2017.
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