Linda Sarsour is a controversial Palestinian-American activist who promotes intersectional left-wing activism to address a wide-array of left-wing issues. In 2017, Sarsour gained national prominence as a co-chair of the national Women’s March protest against the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Through intersectional activism Sarsour has adopted the policy prerogatives of numerous liberal movements as her own. Sarsour has been an outspoken advocate in the Black Lives Matter movement.  Similarly, she has protested with environmentalists and Native Americans against domestic energy production, and is an outspoken advocate for granting legal status to illegal immigrants.
Sarsour is a self-described feminist and was a co-Chair of the 2017 National Women’s march.  However, as Politico pointed out, Sarsour was sharply criticized for imposing her rigid left-of-center ideology on Women’s March participants. Most notably, Sarsour prohibited liberal women who oppose abortion from taking part in the event, and she argued that there was no room in the feminist movement for supporters of Israel.
In July 2019, Sarsour, Bob Bland, and Tamika Mallory stepped down from the board of Women’s March due to controversy surrounding Mallory’s ties to anti-Semitic black nationalist Louis Farrakhan and accusations of financial mismanagement. 
Sarsour has also been sharply criticized as a “fake feminist” who is just using the movement to advance her own radical anti-Israel political agenda. These critics point to a 2011 statement by Sarsour in which she threatened to assault and take away the genitals of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who was previously the victim of female genital mutilation.  Sarsour has made controversial statements in support of the policies of authoritarian Muslim governments and Islamic religious law.  
Linda Sarsour was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1980. The oldest of seven children, Sarsour’s parents were Palestinian immigrants from the West Bank town of Al Bireh who came to the U.S. in the 1970s.
Sarsour had an arranged marriage at the age of 17 and had three kids by the time she was 24.
Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, the leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem and one of Ms. Sarsour’s reported mentors said, “she’s [Sarsour’s] candid about not being quote-unquote particularly religious.” Sarsour has said that she began wearing a hijab (Islamic headscarf) at the age of 20 because it gave her a “visible identity.” 
New York Muslim Communities
Also see Arab American Association of New York (Nonprofit)
In 2001 shortly after 9/11, Sarsour began volunteering at the Arab-American Association of New York (AAANY), which was founded by one of her father’s cousins, Basemah Atweh. In 2005, Sarsour took over as executive director of the organization after Atweh was killed in a Michigan car crash. She left AAANY in 2017 “to pursue a more ‘national’ agenda.”
Sarsour has served as Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator and later National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a project of the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS). In 2016, she “launched a web organizing tool called MPower Change.”
As the leader of AAANY Sarsour pushed for a number of liberal issue items affecting Muslim communities. She campaigned to close New York City schools on Muslim holidays and she supported a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that sought to reign in the New York City Police Department’s post-9/11 anti-terrorism policing.
“Intersectionality” and Social Justice
However, Sarsour also broadened her activism to focus on other liberal issues. Sarsour is a proponent of intersectional liberalism, which links seemingly unconnected liberal causes into a singular movement for “social justice.” Sarsour explained:
When I show up for a movement, I’m Palestinian, I’m Muslim, I’m American, I’m a mother […] That promotes intersectionality. When we’re organizing intersectionally. When the environmental justice folks, the black civil rights folks, the Black Lives Matter people, the undocumented people, the LGBTQI people are at the table. When we’re all at the same table, people united will never be defeated.
Sarsour personally labels herself as a “person of color” in an effort to align her advocacy for liberal issues with those of other “marginalized groups, who oftentimes are other people of color.”
Sarsour protested alongside environmentalists against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. She argued that her opposition was built on her solidarity with the marginalized native American community who she claimed could be affected by the pipeline.
Black Lives Matter
After the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Sarsour called for “radical organizing” and created the organization Muslims for Ferguson. In 2015 she helped organize a march against various police actions alongside the liberal group Justice League NYC.
Sarsour has said that associated herself with the Black Lives Matter movement because she saw a crossover between policing policies that affect Muslims and African Americans. According to Sarsour:
We [Muslims] have become a racialized community. Stop-and-frisk focuses on black and brown young people. Well, surveillance programs are focusing on Muslim communities in all of their diversity.
In 2016 Sarsour went so far as to say “the sacrifice the black Muslim slaves went through in this country is nothing compared to Islamaphobia today.”
Sarsour serves on the board of the New York Immigrant Coalition and has argued “that women’s issues are inextricably linked to protecting illegal immigrants.” She pushed for adoption of the Dream Act to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. In 2018, at a rally in support of illegal immigrants, Sarsour compared Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to “the Gestapo.” At the same rally, Sarsour proclaimed, that she was “tired of white men,” specifically U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), negotiating on behalf people of color.
In July 2017, Sarsour controversially stated that opposition to President Trump and the “fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House” was a form of “jihad” in America.
She has widely protested against President Trump’s plan to prohibit travel to the United States from certain countries, and she is the first named plaintiff in a Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) lawsuit against the travel restriction policy.
Sarsour has been regularly criticized for seeking the limelight. Omar Mohammedi, New York City’s former Muslim and Arab New York City Commissioner on Human Rights, claimed that Sarsour knows how to use the media to take “credit for a lot of work that does not belong to her.”  For instance, according to Mohammedi, Sarsour was not overly involved with lobbying for Muslim holidays in New York’s public schools or the lawsuit against police surveillance but she “parachute[ed] in at the last minute” and “elbow[ed] her way into becoming the public face of the cause.”
Similarly, Debbie Almontaser, the board president of the Muslim Community Network, said that Sarsour lacked a “sort of ingrained humility” that allowed her to seek publicity for the work done by other activists.
In January 2017 Sarsour was “one of the lead organizers” of the Women’s March on Washington, a large liberal protest against President Donald Trump.”  She is also involved with the 2018 march in Las Vegas and is “reportedly helping the Women’s March expand state-level initiatives for women’s rights in 2018.”
Sarsour billed the 2017 protest march as intersectional effort to go beyond abortion issues and unify women in “all” of the disparate feminist movements. However, Politico pointed out that because of Sarsour possesses dogmatic belief in “intersectional” progressivism” “not everybody felt welcome at the Women’s March.” 
According to Politico, Sarsour’s unyielding personal political positions caused friction among many women who did not abide by her beliefs and was emblematic of the feminist movement’s struggle “to strike a balance between big-tent politics and the purity of its platform.”
For example, Sarsour and the other Women’s March organizers revoked an anti-abortion group’s status as an official partner of the march. Sarsour said, “If you want to come to the march you are coming with the understanding that you respect a woman’s right to choose.” However many anti-abortion feminists criticized Sarsour for excluding them from the March over one specific issue.
Sarsour also argued that a woman cannot be both a Zionist and a feminist and that there was no room in the feminist movement for individuals “who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it.” A self-avowed liberal feminist and Bustle politics editor Emily Shire chastised Sarsour’s position for alienating her and other women from the feminist movement solely because they support Israel.
Liberal feminist Emma-Kate Symons wrote that Sarsour had hijacked the Women’s March. Symons chastised Sarsour for embracing “a fundamentalist worldview” that has “little to do with female equality and much more of a connection with the ideology of political Islam than feminism.” Symons then noted that “bizarrely […] it is Sarsour, who has taken a high-profile role speaking about ordering pro-life women out of the march […] despite her association with an illiberal ideology that many Muslim women say is all about men controlling their bodies, and taking away that choice on a range of issues including reproductive health.”
Sarsour has been widely criticized for a 2011 tweet in which she said “Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a prominent critic of radical Islam and victim of female genital mutilation should have her vagina taken away.” Sarsour’s full tweet read:
Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don’t deserve to be women.
Hirsi Ali blasted Sarsour as a “fake feminist” who is not interested in universal human rights.” Hirsi Ali based her claim in part on that fact that Sarsour defends Sharia (Islamic religious) law.
Similarly, in 2015 Aki Muthali, a commentator writing for Pakistani newspaper the Nation, chastised Sarsour for supporting Sharia law and failing to condemn the enormous growth in honor killings taking place in Palestine.
Sarsour has made numerous controversial statements in support and defense of Sharia Law. In 2011, she tweeted “shariah [sic] law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense.”
In 2014, Sarsour tweeted that women get “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave in Saudi Arabia. Yes PAID. And ur worrying about women driving. Puts us to shame.”
In 2015, Sarsour tweeted “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?”
In 2015 she spoke at rallies on behalf of left-wing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)  and served as a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Sarsour joked that Sanders is “literally the love of my life.”
Sarsour helped to create the first Muslim Democratic Club in New York, and the New York Post has labeled her an ally of liberal New York Mayor Bill De Blasio (D). In 2016, De Blasio selected Sarsour’s organization to receive $500,000 from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York.
In 2015, Sarsour reportedly considered running for the New York city council.
Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation
On September 4, 2018, Sarsour was arrested along with approximately 20 other left-wing protesters for interrupting the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the U.S. Senate’s Hart Office Building.
Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Sentiments
Jewish and civil rights groups have labeled Sarsour both anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
Jonathan Greenblatt, president of the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League, mockingly proclaimed that “having Linda Sarsour & head of [Jewish Voice for Peace] 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.”
Similarly, “the Zionist Organization of America called Sarsour an “Israel-bashing, Jew-hater.”
In 2012, Sarsour tweeted “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and suggested that support for the state of Israel is racist.
Sarsour is a self-proclaimed “staunch supporter”  of the anti-Israel movement known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). She has expressed support for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute.
In 2015, Sarsour called New York City Councilor Rory Lancman (D-Queens) a “Zionist troll.” Lancman had previously criticized Sarsour for tweeting a picture of a Palestinian boy holding rocks in front of Israeli soldiers and labeling it “The definition of courage.”
Supports Controversial Leftists
In 2017, the Women’s March’s official twitter page tweeted a message in support of exiled domestic terrorist Assata Shakur. CNN’s Jake Tapper condemned the statement because as he put it, “Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba.” In his tweet Tapper called specific attention to Sarsour’s “ugly sentiments.” Sarsour responded by labeling Tapper, a liberal-leaning journalist who formerly worked for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gun control group, a member of “the alt-right.”
Support of Louis Farrakhan
Sarsour has associated with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and refused to condemn his extremely anti-Semitic rhetoric. Sarsour spoke at a 2015 rally organized by Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam; she has also promoted Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam organization as “an integral part” of “the history of Islam in America.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Farrakhan repeatedly “expressed anti-Semitism and bigotry” at events promoting the 2015 rally featuring Sarsour.
In her 2015 Farrakhan rally speech, Sarsour proclaimed:
The same people who justify the massacres of Palestinian people and call it collateral damage are the same people who justify the murder of young black men and women.
At the Farrakhan rally, Sarsour “shared the stage with the controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright, who used his address at the Farrakhan rally “to denounce Israel as an apartheid state and to assert that ‘Jesus was a Palestinian.’”