Linda Sarsour is a ‘self-styled’ New Yorker known for her political activism. She is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.
Sarsour has gained recognition as an advocate for American Muslims and as co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March, which will be held the day after Donald Trump took office as the 45th president of the Arab American Association of New York.
Who is Linda Sarsour?
The Palestinian-American political activist was born on March 19, 1980, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. She is the oldest of seven children, four girls, and three boys, born of Palestinian immigrant parents. Her parents came from a city about 9 miles north of Jerusalem called Al-Bireh in Palestine.
Their parents, who were not fully educated, are said to come from the lower social classes of Palestine. Her father worked in Crown Heights in his corner shop called Linda Sarsour’s Spanish-American Food Center. Her mother was a housewife and Linda helped her babysit and shop. It was also implied that her parents’ marriage was by blood.
Linda had her high school education at John Jay High School in Park Slope in northwest Brooklyn. Following her dream of becoming an English language teacher, she attended classes at Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College.
Currently, she lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Her passion for activism actually began during high school when she began to notice the disparity between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Sunset Park. Between high school and college, she had her first son. At that time, at the age of 20, she also began wearing the hijab. She claimed that it helped her to explain her identity.
In 2001, after the terrorist attack of September 11, Linda became a volunteer for the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY). She worked closely with Basemah Atweh, her father’s cousin and Dr. Ahmad Jaber, a local obstetrician. Ms. Atweh had just founded the Arab American Association at that time.
Four years later a tragedy happened that changed a lot for Linda. She drove Atweh and two other passengers back from the 2005 gala opening of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The car was hit by a tractor-trailer, killing Atweh and leaving the others with severe bone injuries, while Linda escaped almost unharmed. In a short time, at the age of 25, she was named executive director; she built the association’s budget from $50,000 to $700,000.
Since then she has been involved in several protests for the Muslim community and the Black Lives Matter movement. While her efforts were praised by President Obama, President Donald Trump made sure that the mention of her name was removed from the White House website immediately after he took office.
Linda has also identified herself as a feminist; in her interview with The Nation in March 2017, she even linked feminism as a solution to Israel’s problems
At the age of 17 Linda entered into an arranged marriage with Maher Judeh aka Maher Abo Tamer. She is said to be happily married and have three children. She had her first son Tamir at the age of 19, after leaving high school early. She also had two daughters, Sabreen and Sadija, who are now 14 and 12 years old respectively, before she was 25. Tamir is now 17 years old.
She has managed to keep her family’s life out of the public eye, especially her husband’s. It is said that her husband gave her this ultimatum along with her family members when she decided to devote herself fully to activism.
What does she think about Sharia law?
Linda Sarsour is a Sharia supporter. The twist is that she is also a feminist. Thus, on the one hand, she supports the forced subordination of women to men, but on the other hand, she also fights for the liberation of women and for equal rights.
In 2014 she protested against the driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia and acknowledges the country’s involvement in the violation of human rights. She is also said to have made several tweets in which she calls on uninformed people to learn more about Islamic Sharia laws.
She is also of the opinion that a woman should not go out if she is instructed by her husband, as required by Sharia law. This is a matter of confusion, as feminism and Sharia law seem like two sides of the same coin.