Linda Sarsour is a ‘self-proclaimed’ New Yorker well recognized for her political activism. She is the Former Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York.
Sarsour has garnered recognition as an advocate for American Muslims and as the 2017 Women’s March co-chair which took place one day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States.
Who Is Linda Sarsour?
The Palestinian-American political activist was born on March 19th, 1980 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. She is the oldest of the seven children, four girls and three boys, born to her Palestinian immigrant parents. Her parents came from a city about 9 miles north of Jerusalem called Al-Bireh in Palestine.
Her parents who were not entirely educated are said to come from Palestinian’s lower social strata. Her father worked in Crown Heights in his corner store named Linda Sarsour’s Spanish-American Food Center. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom and Linda assisted her in babysitting and shopping. It has also been implied that her parents’ marriage was consanguineous.
Linda had her high school education at John Jay High School situated in Park Slope in NorthWest Brooklyn. Following her dream of becoming a teacher of the English Language, she attended classes at Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College.
She currently resides in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Her passion for activism actually began during high school when she started noticing the disparity between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Sunset Park. Between her high school and college, she had her first son. It was also around this time, at the age of 20, that she began to wear the hijab as a choice. She claimed it helped in explaining her identity.
In 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attack, 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 the time.
Four years later, a tragedy happened which changed a lot of things for Linda. She was driving Atweh and two other passengers back from the Arab American National Museum 2005 gala opening in Dearborn, Michigan. The car was struck by a tractor-trailer killing Atweh and leaving the others with serious bone injuries while Linda escaped almost unscathed. In no time, she was named the Executive Director at 25; she built the association’s budget to $700,000 from $50,000.
She has since been involved in several protests for the Muslim community and Black Lives Matter movement. While her efforts were praised by President Obama, President Donald Trump ensured to remove the mention of her name from the White House website immediately after he took office.
Linda has also identified as a feminist, she even linked feminism as a solution to ending Israeli’s problems during her interview with The Nation in March 2017
At the age of 17, Linda entered an arranged marriage with Maher Judeh a.k.a Maher Abo Tamer. She is said to be happily married with 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 now aged 14 and 12 respectively, before the age of 25. Tamir is now 17 years of age.
She has managed to keep her family’s life away from the public eye, especially that of her husband. It is said that her husband alongside her family members gave her that ultimatum when she decided to take up activism fully.
What Is Her Take On Sharia Law?
Linda Sarsour is a supporter of the Sharia Law. The twist comes in with her also being a feminist. So while on one hand, she supports placing women compulsorily under men, she also fights for the liberation of women and equal rights on the second hand.
In 2014, she protested to Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving and acknowledges the country’s involvement in the violation of human rights. Yet, she is also said to have made several tweets asking those uninformed to know more about the Islamic Sharia laws.
She is also of the opinion that a woman should not go out if directed by her husband as the Sharia law enforces. This begs a question of confusion as feminism and sharia law seem like two sides of a coin.