Linda Sarsour is one of the most controversial activists in American today, and the impact she is having on the social dynamics of our country is deeply concerning. 

She says whatever she thinks will resonate with her audience, with extraordinary arrogance, and without regard for either the truth or the hypocrisy of what she promotes. Worst of all, she hates, and she spreads her hate wherever she goes. 

“So when we start debating in the Muslim community about Palestine, it tells me a lot about you and about the type of faith that you have in your heart. If you’re on the side of the oppressor [Israel], or you’re defending the oppressor, or you’re actually trying to humanize the oppressor, then that’s a problem sisters and brothers, and we got to be able to say: ‘That is not the position of the Muslim American community.'”

— Linda Sarsour, Keynote Speaker at ISNA Convention 2018

Mostly, she hates ‘Zionists’ (meaning anyone who supports Israel), and although she considers herself a leader of the feminist movement, she hates other feminists whose beliefs don’t coincide with her own. This includes people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the courageous champion for Muslim women. Although she has stood up to militant Islamists, and lived with their death threats for years, she was viciously attacked on Twitter by Sarsour in the most crude and cruel way (see Tweet).

Because Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim and was herself a child victim of a brutal female genital mutilation (FGM), Sarsour’s tweet was particularly nasty and inappropriate, not to mention stupid and crass. The fact that she wrote it while professing to be a proponent of the new feminist movement in America is nothing short of appalling.

Hirsi Ali responded, to her great credit, with quiet dignity, saying, “Ms. Sarsour is hostile to me — and not because she knows me — but because she is a fake feminist …. Ms Sarsour is not interested in universal human rights. She’s a defender of Sharia law. There’s no principle that demeans, degrades, and dehumanizes women more than the principal of Sharia law.”

Linda Sarsour the ‘Feminist’

In Sarsour’s dictionary, the word “feminist” is highly selective. In a 2017 interview, she said that feminism is “about the rights of all women.” But when asked if there is room in in the women’s movement for people who support the state of Israel, she said: “There can’t be in feminism.” In other words, the rights of “all women”, in her eyes, exclude Israeli women, as well as any woman who supports the right of the State of Israel to exist. In fact she proposes, as the solution to the Middle East conflict, a region in which the State of Israel would cease to exist. 

Running throughout her rhetoric is an undercurrent of hatred, a message of raw and primal anti-Semitism. A New York Post article quoted her, “Of course there’s anti-Semitism,” she said, but “you can’t exactly compare [it]. . . to anti-black racism or Islamophobia.” Really, Linda? Does that include the anti-Semitism that was responsible for the massive slaughter of six million Jewish men, women, and children by the Nazis less than 75 years ago? Or the anti-Semitism that has fueled the Israel-Arab conflict for over 100 years and resulted in thousands of murders of Jews at the hands of Arab assailants, who have been urged on and rewarded by their leaders?

At a 2017 conference in Chicago, sponsored by the far-left organization Jewish Voice for Peace, Sarsour took majestic credit for “providing a service . . . that I’m allowing the Jewish community to have the real hard conversation that it always needed to be having” about whether it should support Israel. Allowing? The combination of self-aggrandizement and hypocrisy is breathtaking. While pandering to her far left Jewish ‘friends’ at J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace, and grand-standing when she helped raise money for repairs on a Jewish cemetery in Missouri that had been vandalized, Sarsour actively supports anti-Israel organizations, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement and whose express purpose is to annihilate Israel by destroying its economy. 

Most telling is her clear affection for Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian terrorist, convicted in Israel of murdering Leon Kanner, 21, and Edward Jaffe, 22, two Israelis, both Hebrew University students, in a 1969 terrorist attack in Jerusalem. She was later released in a prisoner exchange and came to the U.S. in 1995, after lying about her conviction on her citizenship application. She lived here for twenty years before she was arrested for immigration fraud and in September 2017, she was deported to Jordan. 

Linda Sarsour gives terrorist Rasmea Odeh a warm embrace at the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in March 2017 in Chicago.

But when Odeh and Sarsour appeared together on stage at the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in March 2017, Sarsour embraced her and gushed about how she was “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.” Her embrace of this terrorist with bloodied hands, demonstrates in raw terms Sarsour’s real feelings about Jews and Israel.

Dehumanizing Israel  

When Sarsour spoke at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Houston, Texas in August 2018, she had an audience that was on her side. ISNA is an umbrella organization for other Muslim organizations, among the first spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood in America, whose members founded it in 1963. In 2006, ISNA was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the infamous Holy Land Trial, which uncovered a massive funding program that was laundering money for distribution to Hamas. It has nevertheless been able to retain its legitimacy and its annual conventions have drawn large crowds and high level government officials. 

Sarsour spoke with both authority and conceit, claiming to represent the entire “Muslim American community” when she called for the dehumanization of Israelis. She called them “oppressors”, and accused them of genocide. She put it succinctly when she tweeted, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

She threw a blanket of guilt over her Muslim audience, telling them that if they were not sufficiently engaged in the fight against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians, then they are complicit in the occupation of ‘Palestine’ and, more to the point, in the murder of ‘innocent’ Palestinian protesters. 

Her bile is not only directed at Israel, but at the United States as well, and her words are about unqualified ‘jihad’. In her Houston speech, she paraphrasing Mohammed when she said, “A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad . . . . And I hope that we, 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 on 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.” 

A Little About Linda Sarsour

Sarsour was born in Brooklyn to Palestinian parents, who came to the U.S. as immigrants from the city of al-Bireh, in the West Bank, less than ten miles from Jerusalem. She is married to the man her parents chose for her, also from al-Bireh, and they have three children. She has been an activist for most of her adult life, and, following the death of her colleague Basemah Atweh, the founder and director of the Arab American Association of New York, Sarsour, at the age of 25, took over her role as Executive Director of the organization.

In that position, she pushed for the Community Safety Act in New York, which created an independent office to review the policy which police use to evaluate threat and expanded the definition of bias-based profiling in New York. The bill passed despite strong opposition from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Chief Raymond W. Kelly. This law made it much more difficult for New York City police to surveil suspicious activity in the Muslim community, as they did in other, non-Muslim communities. 

During her tenure at the Arab American Association, she was accused of enabling the ongoing sexual harassment of one of the organization’s employees. Asmi Fathelbab went to Sarsour to report a problem she was having with a fellow employee, a man who, she said, was continually harassing her. Instead of investigating her claim (“Every woman has a right to her story”, Sarsour once said), Fathelbab says that Sarsour called her a liar and told her that sexual harassment “doesn’t happen to someone who looks like you,” referring to Asmi’s ample figure. Apparently, women’s rights are only for some, the beautiful and the brown.

When the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, became a national story, Sarsour helped to form “Muslims for Ferguson” and traveled to Missouri to join with activists from Black Lives Matter, an organization with which she has been active ever since. 

But it was in January 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, that Sarsour grabbed the national spotlight as co-organizer of the Women’s March, which took place in Washington DC on the next day. And from there Sarsour went from strength to strength, as she convinced people who should have known better of her legitimacy. 

She decries the negative reputation that follows her, but blames it on the Jewish media, ignoring her close associations with such radical black leaders as the fiery bigot Louis Farakhan and Brooklyn Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whom she calls her ‘mentor’, who is also the father of the man arrested in New Mexico for running a compound devoted to violent jihad. 

Picking and Choosing the Truths of Her Message  

Sarsour proudly calls herself a “woman of color”, although Palestinians are, by definition, Arabs, who are traditionally defined by sociologists as “White”. But Sarsour has aligned herself with the community she calls her brothers and sisters, and is currently promoting the idea that the U.S. census forms should distinguish a new ‘race’ – Arab. 

As a Muslim, Sarsour regularly defends sharia law on social media, arguing that Muslims must follow the laws of the land wherever they live, and that, in any case, sharia does not impose itself on non-Muslims. According to traditional Islamic law, she is wrong on both counts. The most important objection to the practice of sharia in American courts is that it does impose itself on Americans by creating separate legal standards for Muslims and non-Muslims. 

Sarsour tweeted, “Sharia law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense. People just know the basics” and followed that with: “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?” 

Not really, Linda, when you consider what goes with it, like jizya (the tax that non-Muslims pay to their Muslim rulers in places governed under sharia), or FGM (which Linda says has nothing to do with Islam, even though only Muslims routinely carry out this barbaric custom on little girls), and other customs that compromise women, permit sexual slavery, allow honor killings of women and girls perceived to have shamed their families, and offer the promise of a highly erotic paradise to Muslims who kill non-believers in the name of Allah. 

Since 2010, more than 200 anti-sharia bills have been introduced in 43 states in the United States. These bills (called ALAC or American Laws for American Courts) don’t attempt to ban sharia, but rather prohibit the application of any foreign law, legal code, or legal system that supersedes the state and federal laws protecting the rights and privileges guaranteed by state law or the U.S. Constitution. 

Sarsour’s Race Card

Sarsour plays the race card whenever she can apply it to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It is particularly cynical ploy because racism does not apply to either Arabs or Jews, whom she regularly accuses of racism against Arabs. Applying the term to either group, as she does, is simply exploiting ambiguous language to cloud the truth. 

In her 2018 speech to ISNA, Sarsour said that because the Muslim community is such a small minority in the US, Muslims must ally themselves with other minorities in order to give them a voice in a country of more than 330 million people. This is a relatively new political concept called “intersectionality” in which minorities with agendas based on their perceived victimization by the majority (usually ‘white’), join together despite their differences, to fight in common cause. Thus you see Black Lives Matter, BDS, and many Palestinian groups join together to fight what they view as social injustice against them. They are relentless and persistent. In addition to their common hatred of Israel and, by extension, of Jews, their chief enemies are now white males in general and Donald Trump in particular.

Linda Sarsour, Expert in Anti-Semitism

The absurdity of their movement seemingly knows no bounds. In November 2017, the New School in New York city, held a symposium entitled, “Anti-Semitism and the Struggle for Justice”. Unbelievably, the five-member panel was composed of: Rebecca Vilkomerson, chair of the radical, anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization; JVP activist Lina Morales; progressive Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman; and Linda Sarsour. The announcement of the event generated outrage throughout the Jewish community, but the New School did not cancel this preposterous event. 

ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt furiously condemned the program, saying, “Having Linda Sarsour & head of JVP leading a panel on #antisemitism is like Oscar Meyer leading a panel on vegetarianism. These panelists know the issue, but unfortunately, from perspective of fomenting it rather than fighting it.”,,, It’s a sad day for the @theNewSchool.”

Sarsour, as expected, exploited the situation, and was strident and unapologetic. Her remarks were inappropriate, but highly enlightening in a forum supposedly slated to address solutions to anti-Semitism. She said, “If what you’re reading all day long, morning and night, in the Jewish media is that Linda Sarsour and Minister Farrakhan are the existential threat to the Jewish community, something really bad is gonna happen and we’re gonna miss the mark on it . . . .  I am not looking for any approval from Zionists, right-wing Zionists, from Jewish Americans, from not Jewish Americans – I don’t need anybody to invite me to the movement to dismantle anti-Semitism.” There it was – her anti-Semitism in bold and unapologetic.

Sarsour’s Outrage

Nevertheless, Sarsour reserves the right to claim space for her own outrage. “We have to stay outraged,” Sarsour said at the ISNA convention this summer. “Do not criticize me when I say that we as a Muslim community in these United States of America have to be perpetually outraged every single [day] … when I wake up in the morning, and I remember who’s sitting in the White House, I am outraged.”

Well, Linda, I too am outraged. Like you, I believe that black lives matter. But not at the expense of any other Americans. Unlike you, I believe that all lives matter. And  like you, Linda, I also believe in immigration – there is scarcely anyone in America whose ancestors didn’t come from somewhere else. But they came here legally, following a lengthy process that assured the American government that they would not be carrying contagious diseases and that they would not be a burden on the country that welcomed them. They were called ‘immigrants’, and there is a great difference between them and the illegal immigrants who sneak across our borders and claim entitlement to benefits to which they have no rights. 

Sarsour ignores this distinction and rails against those who demand that illegal immigrants be treated as law breakers, and not afforded sanctuary for the crimes they commit. In her distorted view, the rights of ‘immigrants’ trumps the rights of citizens. 

Her disregard for law and decorum was also apparent at the Kavanaugh hearings in Washington. She was the first demonstrator at the hearings to be removed from the gallery, as she screamed, “This is a mockery and a travesty of justice! . . . . This is a travesty of justice . . . . We will not go back! . . . . Cancel Brett Kavanaugh! Adjourn the hearing!”

The Bottom Line – Sarsour’s real agenda   

Sarsour’s hypocrisy is transparent, but that does not keep her from carrying on her crusade. She is not only accepted but lionized in activist circles, more evidence that her message, however crude, false, and hypocritical, is reaching a growing audience that accepts her ideas, and is caught up in the raw emotion of her message. 

Her association with so many of the rejectionist movement’s groups, each with different and sometimes competing missions, whose energy and ginned-up rage is now filling our universities and our cities across the country, pose a growing danger to the U.S. The inclusion of Hamas-linked groups increases the danger by opening the door to new opportunities through which to carry out their mission to destroy America. 

When I stand up here and I’m fighting for your rights and the rights of all people in these United States of America, I am a true patriot. And those of you who have fear in your hearts and don’t have the courage to stand up for your deen (religion), for your communities, for your religious institutions, for your children, that is not just a question of your patriotism. It is a question of your iman (faith).”

That Sarsour cloaks all of her hypocrisies in feminism and, of all things, patriotism, is what makes her so dangerous. Her real message, her true self comes out when she is speaking to her own, and it is a message of hate, spoken to audiences who are either firm believers in her message or who naively follow the passion that she shows, unaware of her real beliefs and intentions have little to do with their own self-interest.

Sarsour’s primary commitment is not to the ‘immigrants’ or to the rights of women. It is one she enunciated to her own ‘brothers and sisters’ at this summer’s ISNA Conference in Houston. 

“Our number one and top priority is to protect and defend our community, it is not to assimilate and please any other people and authority . . . .  Our obligation is to our young people, is to our women, to make sure our women are protected in our community. . . . .Our top priority and even higher than all those other priorities is to please Allah and only Allah”.

— Linda Sarsour, Keynote Speaker at ISNA Convention 2018

Linda Sarsour is first and foremost an Islamist. She is not a humanist, not a feminist, not a supporter of the civil rights of any besides her own. Her racing from group to group, from cause to cause, has only one mission – to advance the agenda of spreading and protecting Islam in America. In her own words, if “you’re actually trying to humanize [her], then that’s a problem sisters and brothers.” It would help to remember that for her, allegiance to Islam and Allah is a higher cause “than all those other priorities”.  

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst and advisor in intelligence-led counter-terrorism solutions. Trained in Israel, where she lived and worked for sixteen years, she returned to the U.S., and served as CEO of Gerard Group International in Massachusetts until 2009. Since then, Ilana has been an independent consultant, working with major corporations and government agencies on security issues. Her global network of specialists and field assets provides an ongoing resource of critical, real-time intelligence and domain expertise. Ilana is the author of many articles on the terrorist threat to America and the West, and four books on Islamic terrorism.