Linda Sarsour is an American political activist. She was co-chair of the 2017 Women's March, the 2017 Day Without a Woman, and the 2019 Women's March. She is also a former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She and her Women's March co-chairs were profiled in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" in 2017.
A Muslim of Palestinian descent, Sarsour first gained attention for protesting police surveillance of American Muslims, later becoming involved in other civil rights issues such as police brutality, feminism, immigration policy, and mass incarceration. She has also organized Black Lives Matter demonstrations and was the lead plaintiff in a suit challenging the legality of the Trump travel ban.
Her political activism has been praised by some liberals and progressives, while her stance and remarks on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have been criticized by some conservatives and Jewish leaders and organizations. Sarsour has advocated for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories and expressed criticism of Zionism and support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. Sarsour, Bob Bland, and Tamika Mallory stepped down from the Women's March organization in September 2019 following a controversy over the organization's handling of accusations of anti-semitism.
Early life and education
Sarsour was born in Brooklyn, New York, the eldest of seven children of Palestinian immigrants. Her father owned a small market in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, called Linda's. She was raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and attended John Jay High School in Park Slope. After high school, she took courses at Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College with the goal of becoming an English teacher.
As of 2011, Sarsour lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. At 17, she entered into an arranged marriage, and had three children by her mid-20s. Both Sarsour's family and her husband are from the Palestinian city of Al-Bireh in the West Bank, and about 9 miles (14 km) north of Jerusalem.
Sarsour is a Muslim. On the subject of women in Islam, she told The Washington Post, "There are Muslims and regimes that oppress women, but I believe that my religion is an empowering religion." She chooses to wear a hijab. Sarsour argues that the Islamic religious laws and principles known as sharia do not impose on non-Muslims and that Muslims must also follow civil laws.