Women's March Organizer Linda Sarsour Accused of Being Anti-Semitic, Affiliated with Hamas

After the Women's March took place on 21 January 2017, rumors asserted event organizer Linda Sarsour promoted Sharia law and had ties to Hamas.

Published Jan. 25, 2017

On 21 January 2017, millions of people in Washington, D.C., and cities across the U.S. and in other countries participated in a Women's March event organized in part by civil rights activist Linda Sarsour:

The idea started with women on Facebook. On the night of Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November, a grandmother in Hawaii named Teresa Shook went online and called for women to storm the capital on Inauguration weekend.

[Organizer Bob] Bland quickly realized that in order to transform the march from an angry Facebook group into a progressive coalition, she’d need help. She enlisted veteran organizers Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour as national co-chairs with the aim of wrangling one of the largest Inauguration demonstrations in history — and making it one that brought together activists of all stripes.

During and after the event, several web sites targeted Sarsour in articles claiming she was anti-Semitic, had "ties" to the Palestinian fundamentalist organization organization Hamas, and wished to impose Sharia law on Americans of all faiths (or no faith):

Organizer For DC Women’s March, Linda Sarsour Is Pro Sharia Law with Ties To Hamas

She also advocates for Sharia Law in America and has ties to terrorist organization, Hamas.

Linda Sarsour is very vocal about her support for Palestine and her utter hatred for Israel. She has ties to the terrorist organization, Hamas ... Linda Sarsour is very active on Twitter. She is pro Sharia law and a couple of her tweets even have a seditious tone to them where she romanticizes Sharia law and hints at it taking over America whereby we would have interest free loans.

The fact that an Islamic faction was one of the organizers of the Women’s March is laughable at best. Islam is responsible for the worst abuses of women and children not only throughout history, but at present day. Islamic supremacists who wish to impose Sharia law in America have infiltrated various leftist movements in order to appear as an oppressed minority.

Sarsour's "utter hatred" for Israel was referenced but not evidenced in that piece, although another article provided some detail regarding her political stance towards Israel:

An outspoken critic of Israel, Sarsour [avidly] supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that uses various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and lawsuits to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

Vis-a-vis the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, Sarsour favors a one-state solution where an Arab majority and a Jewish minority would live together within the borders of a single country. She made clear her opposition to Israel's existence as a Jewish state when she tweeted in October 2012 that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

In 2004, Sarsour acknowledged that a friend of hers as well as a cousin were both serving long sentences in Israeli jails because of their efforts to recruit jihadists to murder Jews. Moreover, she revealed that her brother-in-law was serving a 12-year prison term because of his affiliation with Hamas.

A 2004 Columbia University journalism item about Arab-American voters, whose author actually spoke with Sarsour (rather than gleaning information about her second-hand) was less strident in its depiction of her:

As the [2004] presidential election grew near, Linda Sarsour sat in her small office at the Arab-American Association in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, looking at the photos of two thickly bearded young Arabs on the front page of an Arabic-language newspaper.

The paper carried fervent slogans calling on young people to become martyrs in the conflict with Israel.

Sarsour, a 24-year-old Palestinian-American, sighed. One of the men, she said, was a cousin who has been in Israeli jails for 25 years. The other man, she said, was a family friend serving a 99-year prison sentence in Israel.

Her brother-in-law, she said, is also serving a 12-year sentence, accused of being an activist in the Hamas, the religious militant group, though, she said, he was secular in his beliefs.

Despite those concerns, she said, she was more worried these days about her own future in America, She said she had been questioned by U.S. authorities, and her Palestinian husband, after seven years in America, faced deportation proceedings. So, like many Arab-Americans in the Bay Ridge area, she had hoped that Tuesday's election would end the presidency of Republican George Bush. With that goal in minx, she worked to turn out voters for Democratic challenger John Kerry as part of a broader effort led by the Arab-Muslim American Federation and the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, two major centers for Arab life in the neighborhood.

"I'll never lose this chance to vote Bush out," Sarsour said before the election. "Bush has long been backing Israel with cash and weapons against my own people."

Sarsour's purported ties to Hamas were also referenced, and denied by her, in a 2008 New York Times article about anti-Islam rhetoric during elections:

Linda Sarsour, a community worker from Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, has also been the focus of a recent debate after she was appointed to a neighborhood advisory panel. The main reason for the controversy: Members of her family had been arrested on accusations of supporting Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip. One member of the Tea Party and other community workers asked that she be removed.

She denies having any contact with Hamas or other radical Muslim groups. Otherwise she never would have received a “Champion of Change” award from President Barack Obama some months ago, she said.

Sarsour was also accused of "romanticiz[ing] Sharia law and hint[ing] at it taking over America whereby we would have interest free loans." Those claims appeared to stem from tweets in which she stated that as a Muslim she abides Sharia law (a "set of principles that govern the moral and religious lives of Muslims") and in which, depending upon one's point of view, she either advocated that legal system in the U.S. or lamented the poor understanding of its meaning and application (particularly that its principles apply only to Muslims and not those of other faiths) in America:

We contacted Sarsour via e-mail and Facebook to ask about the myriad claims but have not yet received a response.