Islamic Feminist Responds After Duke University Cancels, Then Reinstates Her Speech

As usual, the forces of extremist Islam attempted to rule the day. At the end of the day, Asra Nomani, the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam”, won the day

(Time) This past week, University of Michigan students watched American Sniper after the university first cancelled the film’s showing amid protests from an Arab-American Muslim student that the film offended her. The episode at Michigan was like my own painful experience at Duke University after a Muslim student group recently blackballed me.

Tuesday night, while Islamic State fighters gained new ground in Syria, I walked onto a stage at Duke University to argue for a progressive, feminist interpretation of Islam in the world. Staring into stage lights, I counted the number of people looking back at me: nine, not including my parents and son.

“I would have come here to speak to just one person. To me, it is simply a victory to stand before you,” I said.

Five days earlier, the Duke University Center Activities and Events had cancelled my talk after the president of the Duke chapter of the Muslim Students Association sent an email to Muslim students about my “views” and me, alleging that I have a nefarious “alliance” with “Islamophobic speakers” and noting that a Duke professor of Islam, Omid Safi, had “condemned” me. After I asked for evidence against me, the Center for Activities and Events re-invited me. A spokesman for Duke said the university regrets the misunderstanding.

We constantly hear about the need for moderate Muslims to speak out against the hardcore version of Islam being spread around the world, particularly in mosques and schools. When one does, the forces of hardcore Islam work overtime to stop them, and the so-called free speech loving Liberals rarely, if ever, come to the defense of the moderates. In this case, where were the liberals in defending a feminist Muslim?

This experience goes beyond feminism to a broader debate over how too many Muslims are responding to critical conversations on Islam with snubs, boycotts, and calls for censorship, exploiting feelings of conflict avoidance and political correctness to stifle debate. As a journalist for 30 years, I believe we must stand up for America’s principles of free speech and have critical conversations, especially if they make people feel uncomfortable.

By standing on stage, I was standing up to the forces in our Muslim communities that are increasingly using tactics of intimidation and smears such as “Islamophobe,” “House Muslim,” “Uncle Tom,” “native informant,” “racist” and “bigot” to cancel events with which they disagree.

Kudos to her. There needs to be more brave Muslims willing to stand up to the Muslim student groups, which are often linked to and backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Will Liberals also stand up for people like her? It happens here and there, but, too often they side with the extremists.

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5 Responses to “Islamic Feminist Responds After Duke University Cancels, Then Reinstates Her Speech”

  1. john says:

    Conservatives likewise do not often come to the defense of “moderates” look at the rush to the right in GOP primaries
    We seldom here conservatives speaking out against the fundamentalist christians either. Perhaps you missed the Pentecostal minister who starved her 2 year old toddler to death and then failed to bring him back from the dead? The toddler was thought to be possessed by a demon
    And the conservatives seem quite silent on the christian witch burnings done in Africa. Or the many Americans who kill after hearing their christian god telling them to do so
    When will moderate christians speak like you speak out against discrimination and other crimes against gays?
    Can you imagine Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University allowing anything close to “free speech”? I seldom hear conservatives complaining about that
    Just a few years ago the right wing was having a hissy fit because muslim cab drivers were refusing fares because of “deeply held religious views” but now these views are championed as being FREEDOM !! no longer is it sharia law in USA

    • geofraz says:

      You mentioned two instances and then referred to “…many Americans who kill after hearing their christian god telling them to do so”. Please. Such occurrences are anomalies in modern christianity an its disingenuous of you to suggest othetwise. In christianity, killing in Christ’s name is a fringe act. In islam, its rampant. If you doubt it, see here:

  2. john says:

    Geofraz there are about 380 million African christians mostly Pentecostals and evangelicals. Their christianity is very different from what we see here in the USA Africa is where christianity is growing, in white western countries it is fading.
    Culture always trumps religion.
    Fringe ? the African Bishop who anointed Sarah Palin in that Wasilla church ceremony is a famous witch hunter.
    Google African witch children and see what you find or go to Live Leak and watch the death by burning of African witches. In our own country slavery was abolished by force of culture not force of religion slavery of course is often condoned/justified in the Bible
    In my lifetime the most deaths by war have occurred in the central African region, about 5 million. That is all christian vs Christian war The Lords Resistance Army under Kony being quite well know, He wants a government by 10 Commandments
    This again is culture over religion
    Have you ever lived in a muslim country ?
    I have lived in Afghanistan and also southern Philippines/Malaysia for almost 12 months
    Have you many personal experiences with that religion?

  3. john says:

    And ISIS??? They believe that when Jesus Christ returns he will lead THEM to final victory.
    Beat that with a stick if you can

  4. jl says:

    The “hecklers veto”. Used by those against free speech everywhere.

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