Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour speech at NYC college draws barbs from right | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour speech at NYC college draws barbs from right

Linda Sarsour has been critical of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories and supports the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the country.

world Updated: Jun 03, 2017 00:03 IST
Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the National Women’s March and one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People raises her fist as shes walks to the stage as the keynote speaker at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health’s inaugural commencement ceremony June 1, 2017 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.
Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the National Women’s March and one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People raises her fist as shes walks to the stage as the keynote speaker at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health’s inaugural commencement ceremony June 1, 2017 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. (AFP Photo)

A Muslim-American activist who was one of the lead organizers of the Women’s March on Washington was scheduled to speak at a college commencement ceremony in New York City on Thursday, despite protests from critics who don’t like her views on Israel.

Palestinian-American civil rights activist Linda Sarsour was expected to give the keynote address at the graduation for just over 100 students at City University of New York’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. But the choice of the Brooklyn-born, hijab-wearing Sarsour as speaker has sparked opposition from pro-Israel critics, including some who have spread false internet reports claiming she supports Islamic State militants and Sharia law.

Sarsour has been critical of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories and supports the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the country. She got her start as an activist defending the civil rights of American Muslims after Sept. 11 and in recent years, protested against police surveillance of Muslim communities. She also has put her activism toward other causes, including the Black Lives Matter movement, and was one of four national chairs for the Women’s March that led to massive turnouts in Washington D.C., and around the world.

But a higher profile has also brought out more opposition. There have been false claims that she’s a supporter of the Islamic State group, with critics sending around a photo of her with one finger up and saying it was her making a gesture in support of ISIS, when she has called it a global cancer. Other false accusations include that she supports Islamic law being put in place of the U.S. legal system, based on a sarcastic tweet from 2015 that actually was about ridiculing conspiracy theories around Muslims and the Sharia system.

Sarsour says those accusations are ludicrous. CUNY has stood behind its decision to invite her to speak.