(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

Last weekend’s Women’s March was dubbed the largest civil protest in U.S. history. And while protests against the government are an important and welcomed component of democracy, we shouldn’t pretend this march was representative of all women.

It wasn’t. Not only were some women explicitly excluded from attending the rally – women whose politics were at odds with the event organizers, including pro-life women – the event also housed violence and included extremists who have hijacked the feminist movement.

In Edmonton, reporter Sheila Gunn Reid was allegedly assaulted by a man as so-called feminists heckled her while others helped the perpetrator flee the scene of the crime. He now faces charges of assault and uttering threats.

In Washington D.C., a conservative woman had her hair set on fire by an anti-Trump thug. Some have argued that these were isolated incidents, not indicative of the overall movement. That is fair, but unfortunately the behaviour of the event’s leaders was not much better.

From the main stage, keynote speaker Madonna told the crowd that she had thought about “blowing up the White House.” Honoured guest Ashley Judd went on a vulgar rant equating conservatives to Nazis.

Aside from the typical hyperbolic rhetoric from the Hollywood crowd, an even more telling indicator of the extremism at these rallies was the Women’s March National co-chair, Linda Sarsour.

Sarsour calls herself a Palestinian-American-Muslim, and has become a high-profile activist and community organizer. But her online footprint shows she is no moderate.

Sarsour has publicly defended Sharia law. She’s basically praised Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women, speaking positively about their maternity leave compared to the US and dismissing concerning about the ban on female drivers and forced head-coverings for Muslim women.

When the film Honor Diaries was released, Sarsour tried to suppress the film and delegitimize those involved with it. The film exposes violence against women in Middle Eastern societies, and tells the story of victims of this cultural violence.

Sarsour worked to discredit those involved the film, notably targeting activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali – herself was a victim of abuse and FGM. She said in a now-deleted 2011 tweet concerning Hirsi Ali and another women involved with the…(READ MORE)

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