From her beliefs to her name, Linda Sarsour is one woman who has left her critics bewildered. Although her name doesn’t suggest so, Sarsour is a devout Muslim and staunch activist for Muslim rights in the United States. She has always been a voice for American Muslims but her popularity went uphill in 2017 when she co-chaired the Women’s March that year. Since then, Sarsour has taken on several sensitive issues from feminism to Sharia and what have you. Beyond her advocacy, let’s look at her family background, love life, and other fascinating facts about the political activist.
Family Background and Education of Linda Sarsour
Linda Sarsour was born on March 19, 1980, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. It has been authenticated that she was born to Palestinian parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1970s.
Her father ran a corner store called Linda Sarsour’s Spanish-American Food Center in Crown Heights while her mother was a home keeper. As the oldest of seven children, Sarsour and her siblings spent the better part of their childhood in New York.
Growing up, she attended John Jay High School in Park Slope, NorthWest Brooklyn. After graduating from high school, Sarsour proceeded to Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College where she studied with hopes of fulfilling her dream of becoming an English Language teacher. It was within this period that she began taking baby steps into liberal activism.
How She Became an Activist
The day came in 2001; following the September 11 terrorist attack on the US, Linda Sarsour became a volunteer for the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY). While there, she worked alongside its founder Basemah Atweh, who happened to be her father’s cousin. After four years, she was made AAANY’s executive director when Atweh was killed in an automobile crash.
Sarsour canvassed for action on several issues bedeviling Muslim communities. For one, she pushed for the closure of New York City schools on Muslim holidays. Her tenure also saw an increase in the association’s budget from $50,000 to $700,000. Linda Sarsour served in this role for the next twelve years until she left in 2017 to give more time to national causes.
Although she served as the National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), Linda’s influence began to grow when she expanded her activism to other liberal issues. One of such efforts was seen when Sarsour openly announced that she considers herself as a “person of color”. As her critics put it, the move was meant to help align her activism with those of other marginalized groups, most of whom were people of color. She was at the forefront of the “black lives matter” movement in 2014 and also protested alongside other environmentalists against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.
In 2017, Linda Sarsour openly spoke against President Donald Trump, accusing him of spearheading a white supremacist cause. Although her efforts won her warm praises from then-President Obama, President Trump made sure he removed Sarsour’s name from the White House website when he assumed office.
Linda Sarsour’s Views on Sharia Law and Feminism
Following President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, Linda Sarsour joined other liberal activists in organizing the Women’s March in Washington. The widely-attended march was targetted at the President. In several media interviews, Sarsour has identified as a feminist. In 2018, she lent support to a march of a similar nature in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, her feminist stand has come under intense criticism with many calling her a “fake feminist”. This followed Sarsour’s statement about pro-Semitic women not having a place in the feminist movement.
Another reason for the verbal attacks on Sarsour’s feminism is her staunch support for Sharia Law, which many feminists are opposed to. Former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali once called her out as a “fake feminist” who has no interest in universal human rights but openly defends Sharia law.
You'll know when you're living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sound nice, doesn't it?
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) May 13, 2015
According to critics, Linda Sarsour relishes the idea of putting women under the dictates of the men in their lives and still rallies for the liberation of women and equal rights. Sarsour has tweeted several times that her critics still have a lot to understand about Sharia law. She still enjoys the full support of many Muslim men, especially the man in her life.
Sharia Law is misunderstood & has been pushed as some evil Muslim agenda. 😒 Some Muslims r oppressors for sure https://t.co/7EaWdveeLN
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) April 10, 2016
Who Is She Married To?
According to sources, Linda Sarsour has been married to Maher Judeh (Maher Abo Tamer) since 1997. She was only 17 at the time. Together, they had their first son named Tamir in 2000, then came Sabreen (b. 2004) and Sadija (b. 2006).
Although not much is known about Maher Judeh, we know he is a staunch supporter of his wife and her cause. While they continue to pursue pro-Muslim causes, the couple has managed to keep private matters private. The family currently lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Linda Sarsour’s husband has raised a few eyebrows over the years. In 2017 for instance, he reportedly mourned the death of Hamas terrorists Adel and Imad Awadallah. More so, he applauded the heroism of a police officer working for the Palestinian Authority, for carrying out a shooting attack at an Israeli checkpoint. Maher also openly expressed his support for Fatah, a political party regarded as a terrorist organization in certain quarters.