Linda Sarsour is the Executive Director of the local taxpayer-funded Arab-American Association of New York (AAANY) where she began her “activism” over ten years ago. A Sarsour family friend and AAANY founder, Basemah Atweh, invited her to join the organization and assured her if she volunteered she will eventually be offered a paid position. Less than two months after her “volunteer work” helping newly arrived immigrants get settled and adjust to life in the U.S. Sarsour was hired in a paid, full-time capacity. Even in those very early years former colleagues who worked with Sarsour noticed she was driven exclusively by personal interests and eager to insert herself in the forefront, especially if an opportunity to meet with members of the local political establishment and power elite presented itself. After surviving a car crash in which Atweh was killed, Sarsour took over the organization. It was at this time that she reached an arrangement with her husband and family members providing her with the luxury of devoting all her time and attention to transforming herself into a full-time, career activist of the worst kind. Many poor and working class men and women with far more talent and potential to contribute to their communities do not have the luxury of devoting any amount of time to causes they genuinely believe in, let alone a full-time career as a fake activist without even requiring the services of a paid babysitter. With the increased media exposure she has been recently receiving, her entire public persona has now become a masquerade inundated with pretense and exaggeration. While much of it has provided entertainment for Arab-Americans in NY, activists are now concerned the activities of this fraudster have become politically corrosive to the issues and causes of concern to the community.
[IKHRAS NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure Ikhras maintained a cordial and friendly relationship with Linda Sarsour over a period of three years. We had no alternative but to terminate this relationship for reasons that will become apparent. Moreover, and in the interest of full honesty, it is this relationship along with requests from community members to postpone this blog post in hopes of steering Sarsour in the right direction that delayed its publication. These same community members have now urged exposing this fake activist and we can no longer remain silent. The following report is partly based on a visit by Ikhras to Brooklyn, New York late last year and interviews with local community activists, former friends and colleagues of Sarsour, and Sarsour family members.]