Some Questions for Linda Sarsour

Unravelling the bizarre world of a fervent feminist who is an ardent Sharia-supporter.

Linda Sarsour is back in the news. What nasty craziness, or crazy nastiness, is it this time that brings her, just as she intended, to our attention? This time it is for her straight-faced claim that Jesus was not a Jew, but a “brown-skinned Palestinian.” Of course this isn’t her claim alone; it’s a staple of “Palestinian” propaganda. Ilhan Omar retweeted the same claim — “Jesus was a Palestinian” — on April 20, 2019. Palestinian and other Arab propagandists have been saying the same thing  for years. This historical revisionism is of a piece with the Muslim rewriting of American history to make it seem that, in Barack Obama’s counterfactual claim, “Muslims have always been part of America’s story.” So we are told, among other things, that  Muslims served in the crews of  Columbus’s ships, that Columbus reported spotting a mosque — forsooth! — in Cuba, that one-third of the slaves brought to America were Muslim, that Thomas Jefferson owned a Qur’an and became a deep admirer of Islam, that he held the first Iftar Dinner, and so on, and so idiotically forth. More details are here.

Thus, in this helter-skelter get-me-rewrite fashion for so much of settled history, do Arab and Muslim propagandists appropriate part of Jewish history to strengthen the Arab claim to Judea, or as they insist on calling it, following the Romans who used a toponym that would efface the Jewish connection to the land, “Palestine.” Part of this appropriation involves Jesus, who must be claimed as “Palestinian” if the Arabs are ever to overcome  the support for Israel of some Christians, especially those Evangelical Christians. This claim by Sarsour, Omar, et al would come as quite a surprise to Mary and Joseph, to John the Baptist, to Martha, Mary,  and Lazarus, to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to Christian theologians, Biblical scholars, and devout Christians of the last 2000 years — and, of course, to Jesus himself. But the claim puts Sarsour back in the news, which she needs to do from time to time to cause a momentary blip of interest, in order to keep the donations flowing. Think of it as an “advertisement for herself.” As for the violence done to history, Linda Sarsour, like her sister-in-arms Ilhan Omar, doesn’t much care: “We don’t need no stinkin’ history.”

As is well known, Linda Sarsour claims to be both a fervent feminist and an ardent Muslim, and sees no contradiction in the two identities, for as she has famously insisted, “oppression of women is absolutely shunned in the Islamic faith.” Sarsour was one of four co-chairs of the 2017 Women’s March. She was also the co-chairwoman of the 2017 Day Without a Woman strike and protest, organized to mark International Women’s Day. Some people have been  impressed with all her marching and protesting on behalf, she says, of women. Her marching and protesting, as a “feminist,’” is a way to insinuate herself into the woman’s movement  in order to further from within her pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel stance. Those who take her “feminism” at face value fail to realize that Sarsour is a supporter of Sharia law. She supports placing women under the management of men, but also claims that she is fighting for the liberation of women and for their equal rights. For her, that “fighting” is only taking place in the U.S., where women are as well off as anywhere in the world, and not in any Muslim country.

Sarsour's only expression of dismay at the unequal treatment of women under Islam was about Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, a ban which she knew, as did many,  would soon be coming to an end. She has stayed away from the much more serious examples of mistreatment of women. She has never discussed Qur’an 4:34, where Muslim men, because they are “superior” in their abilities,  are entrusted with the task of managing the affairs of women. Surely this proud Muslim ought to have used the bully pulpit of her Women’s March, or the admiring coverage afterwards, to express her outrage at that claim, and her distress that in that same Qur’anic verse (4:34), Muslim husbands are given the right to “beat” their wives if they even suspect them of disobedience. Don’t her fellow feminists  have a right to know why she has remained silent on 4:34? Are they quite sure she is on their side, or might she be using them for her own purposes? Nor has she ever mentioned the inheritance laws in Islam, whereby a daughter receives half the amount of a son. And why has she never criticized in Islam the claim that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man, a rule that Muhammad himself explains in the hadith is justified “because of the deficiency in her [woman’s] intelligence.” (Sahih Bukhari 1.6.301, 2.24.501, 3.48.86)

When a female co-worker of Linda Sarsour at the Arab-American Association of New York, Asmi Fathelbab, accused a male coworker of harassment, Sarsour became enraged, not with the male harasser, but with Fathelbab. She told her insultingly that ‘“something like that doesn’t happen to someone who looks like you,” a cruel reference to Fathelbab’s being overweight. Asmi Fathelbab also said in a televised interview that Sarsour had warned her “that I will never work in New York City ever again for as long as she lives” if Fathelbab were to press  her claims. Sarsour was suddenly not the feminist stalwart she pretends to be, but a defender of a Muslim male. She was prepared to dismiss or shut up those who might sully the reputation of the faith or of its Believers. In Sarsour’s universe, her pretense of being “feminist” is used to make friends and allies among self-described “progressives” for the sake of Islam, and especially for the “Palestinian” cause.

It would be helpful if some intrepid journalist were to ask Linda Sarsour the questions she has never been asked, about how her “feminism” and her devotion to “Islam” manage to coexist in her understanding, but that she ought at long last to answer. After all, in 2017 TIME magazine had already crowned her as one of the “100 most influential” people in the world — an astounding and absurd claim (she is, no doubt, one of  the “100 most influential Arab-Americans”) — and she needs to explain what might charitably be called an “internal contradiction.”

Here are a handful — eight — questions that Linda Sarsour might profitably be asked:

1. As both a feminist and as a Muslim, Linda Sarsour, what do you think of the right of Muslim husbands to practice polygyny — one husband, many wives? Do you think that this practice devalues a woman’s worth?

2. Qur’an 4:34 gives Muslim husbands the right to “beat” their wives if they suspect them of being disobedient. Do you think that verse should be abrogated?

3. According to the Shari’a, a woman’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man. The reason for this, according to Muhammad, in several hadiths (Sahih Bukhari 1.6.301; 2.24.501; 3:48:86} is “because of the deficiency in her intelligence.” Could you tell us, Ms. Sarsour, what you think of that justification for men to manage women’s affairs from the Prophet Muhammad himself?

4. Muhammad consummated his marriage to Aisha — that is, had sexual intercourse with her — when she was nine years old and he was 54. Muslims regard Muhammad as the “Perfect Man” and the “Model of Conduct.” Many Muslims as a consequence find nothing wrong with older men marrying young girls — even as young as nine. The Ayatollah Khomeini married his wife when she was ten years old. He was determined to lower the marriageable age of girls to nine. What do you think of Muhammad’s treatment of Aisha? And what should be the minimum age for Muslim girls to marry?

5. In Islamic law, Ms. Sarsour, a woman who accuses a man of rape has to produce four male witnesses. Doesn’t such a requirement make it almost impossible, in Muslim countries, to convict a man of rape? Should this requirement be done away with?

6. You have been quoted as saying that Muhammad was “the original feminist.” Could you tell us what you meant by that, keeping in mind his comment about the “deficiency in woman’s intelligence”? Some Muslims have claimed that Muhammad had encouraged his first wife Khadija to engage in business — but isn’t it true that when he married Khadija she was already a successful businesswoman and needed no encouragement?

7. In the Qur’an, men are told they can treat their wives as their “tilth,” and sexually use them  whenever and in whatever way  they wish. The wives may not object. And recently the fatwa-issuing authority of the Palestine Authority, Dar al-Ifta, issued the following fatwa about a Muslim husband’s right to have sex on demand:

“A woman must ask permission from her husband to fast, because the husband has the right to enjoy his wife [sexually] at any time, and it is obligatory [for his wife] to fulfill his right immediately.

This was  published in the Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 15, 2019.

Do you agree with this fatwa, Ms. Sarsour? Or do you think that a woman has a right to say “No” to her husband?

8. You can be seen on YouTube here at 1:17, claiming that “oppression of women is absolutely shunned in the Islamic faith.” How do you reconcile this with the practice of polygyny, or the right of Muslim husbands to demand sex at any time and in any way, from their wives, or the right of husbands to “beat” their wives if they suspect them of disobedience?

That’s all the questions for now, Linda Sarsour. Thank you for your attempts at answering, But there will be other occasions, other questions, other questioners, other colossal doubts. 

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