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Middle East Eye - August 19, 2020

Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour offered advice to the Democrats on Tuesday on how to engage Muslim voters: ensure representation, treat Muslims as a decisive voting bloc in swing states and reach out to them in their communities.

"The Democratic party is not perfect, but it is absolutely our party in this moment," she said, stressing the need to elect Joe Biden and defeat the Republican party, which she accused of promoting fascism.

Hours later, the Biden campaign disavowed her.

Right-wing media outlets and Donald Trump's campaign denounced the Muslim organiser's appearance at the Democratic convention, and Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates joined them in condemning Sarsour.

"Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her (Sarsour's) views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform," Bates said in a statement, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

"She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever."

Sarsour's support for BDS has made her a target of anti-Muslim activists, who have also tried to smear Democrats who associate with her.

She had helped organise the Women's March after Trump's election in 2017, but stepped down from the group last year amid growing accusations of antisemitism against her and other board members.

A vocal supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during the primary season, Sarsour had vowed to help elect Biden against Trump in November. On Tuesday, she appeared at a panel focused on moblising Muslim voters as part of a Democratic National Committee-sanctioned event at the convention.

'Islamophobia on the left'

Muslim Americans, who have been complaining about a lack of representation on the main stage of the convention, were quick to voice disappointment in the campaign's statement.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a major Muslim advocacy group, issued a strongly worded statement in defence of Sarsour on Wednesday. ...
Read full report at Middle East Eye