5 dumbest things said about the Boston Marathon Explosions: Fox News, (some) Republicans

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The purpose is not (merely) to expose and ridicule—ok, maybe there is a touch of that—but rather to shine the light on areas of shortcoming that we, all of us, will have to deal with if we are to get to a more beautiful place than we are right now.

  • Dear Omid,

    Thank you for looking at this serious issue of the Boston Marathon bombing, an issue that has shaken the nation as these acts of violence do.

    The statement that I wrote regarding the use of “Inshallah” was in the specific context of a transformation of an individual. I noted that the uncle to the oldest bombing suspect could sense a change in his nephew when he saw the change in language in the context of other changes.

    Hyper-emphasis or, conversely, lack of emphasis on issues of orthopraxy, or external signs of ritual, are ones that I know you are well familiar with as signals about someone’s ideological bent.

    When I wrote that this was a politically incorrect statement, I was clearly accurate.

    I would just like to note that I am surprised to read such sarcastic, mocking and partisan comments from someone who I have respected as quite compassionate, serious and fair. Framing your analysis of comments you call “idiotic ignorance” certainly doesn’t seem to match the level of intellectual and academic rigor to which I thought you subscribed.

    I do not have such “idiotic ignorance” that I believe the singular use of the phrase “Inshallah” is signs of radicalism, otherwise every US soldier who uses the phrase in Afghanistan to build rapport would be a suspected member of the Taliban, which clearly is not the case.

    Further, to mock me as someone who “uses” my position in the media to argue a position is extremely unfair and illogical. I am a journalist and writing articles is what I do. What’s more, I am very clear that my advocacy is for the inclusion of religion and ethnicity in threat assessment, not anything that would be discrimination, harassment or unlawful implementation of the law.

    Inshallah, we will have a more measured and balanced conversation in the future.

    Warmly, Asra

  • Pingback: 5 dumbest things said about the Boston Marathon Explosions: Fox News, Asra Nomani, (some) Republicans | What Would Muhammad Do? | Genevieve Shifke()

  • Frank Cannon

    Asra, I think you should have left it alone and not attempted to reply. You just dug a deeper hole.

  • Omar

    Thank you Mr. Omid Safi. You put the thoughts of many people into meaningful words.

    As an implant from abroad, I have a lot of faith in the American Muslim community. Despite whatever media figures and “enlightened” journalists like Ms. Nomani say, the American Muslim community is vibrant, resilient, increasing inclusive, and very pragmatic. It will be exciting to see how much better this community becomes as the younger generation increasing takes on the roles of responsibility.

  • Faisal

    Asra, with so much ignorance in the American mainstream about Muslim traditions, it is even more important to separate and clarify the devoutness from radicalism or fanaticism. For the uninitiated the outside may appear the same but they are literally polls apart. If saying these phrases is brought out as the sign of radicalism (and I understand what you and his uncle mean with the radical stress on these words), the mainstream American media and public does not understand this nuance. The impact would be on the overwhelming majority of Muslims who would be closer to devoutness rather than to radicalism and yet would say these phrases in there every day life because of their level of devoutness in their life and not otherwise.

  • Dear Frank, I don’t agree. In fact, I think it is more appropriate to stand up against Omid misrepresenting my statement, rather than accept his mocking analysis.

    It seems to me that by trying to divert attention to a line of less than 10 words in a piece that was 1,500 words, Omid and others are engaging in the same spirit of deflection that I argue is so often the response to serious issues of extremist ideologies in the Muslim community.

    Thank you for writing, Asra

  • Alana


    Ann Coulter is a satirist. Her remarks are not intended to be taken seriously.
    I note with much irony, that except for Asara, your comments all entail people who lean right. This reveals much about yourself that you would find TV commentators, geographically challenged Twitterers, etc worthy of your comments. I find also that you do not seem very concerned with the deaths of three and injuries in the hundreds worthy of your comments. This is where devout and peaceful Muslims appear to be missing the boat. The wife of the late murderer may indeed have no knowledge of what her late husband was planning but I have not read anything to indicate that she is either guilty or innocent.

  • Dear Faisal,

    Respectfully, I think that, if we allowed, the “mainstream American media and public” would actually be well served by having Muslims speak about the nuances. Honestly, I’ve heard from a lot of readers on this piece and everyone understood clearly the nuanced statement I was making regarding outward expressions.

    From the public speaking I’ve done, there hasn’t been a single audience where people don’t recognize that the challenges of interpretation and practice that are in conflict in Muslim communities are just like the challenges that Christian, Jewish and other communities have faced.

    I think folks who aren’t Muslim can very much handle nuance. They live it.

    Warmly, Asra

  • Qalander

    Asra Nomani has supported racial profiling. She has gone on record to state that the US should follow the “Israeli model” of profiling. She has defended and even applauded Peter King for his “hearings” on “radical Muslims.” Now she is making these ridiculous statements about how saying “insha’Allah” a lot is a “red flag” for extremism.

    Nomani is the one who needs to be more compassionate here. Instead of calling others “mean,” she needs to check herself and reflect upon all of the mean things she has said (everything from the support for racial profiling to the ridiculous statements she made about the phrase “insha’Allah”). There was nothing in this article that insulted her on a personal level either. She needs to listen to all of the brilliant Muslim scholars, activists, bloggers, students, writers, and artists out there who are not only making real efforts against Islamophobia, but also confronting issues within our communities.

    Asra Nomani, if you reading this, PLEASE stop perpetuating these ridiculous stereotypes and Orientalist narratives about our community. They HURT us. Look at the surge of hate crimes and discriminatory acts that are committed against Muslims. Look at the Muslim students who get harassed and bullied in schools – and when they stand up for themselves, they get vilified. People use these stereotypes and project it onto real people – that’s the danger. God forbid if someone reads your article and then starts hating on a Muslim co-worker just because s/he says “insha’Allah” daily. There are ways to address the problems within our communities WITHOUT resorting to Orientalist stereotypes and catering to a mainstream western audience that doesn’t know much about Islam and Muslims. I know there are ways to do this because there are plenty of amazing Muslim writers and activists who are already doing it. Work *with* them rather than work against them.

    You’ve been critiqued on Altmuslimah, on Muslimah Media Watch, and by many Muslim activists who share your advocacy for gender equality in mosques, but dislike the stereotypes you make about Islam and Muslims. Don’t you think it’s time that you stop and listen to these voices?

  • Here is an excerpt from my article on “Uncle Ruslan” and how he owned up to serious issues of radicalization. At no point do I assert what Omid has put in his headline: “Use of phrases like “God-willing” is a sign of radicalization.”


    And it was stunning to see how he acknowledged the shame openly but didn’t allow it to silence his criticism.

    The bombing suspects, “put a shame on the entire Chechnyan ethnicity,” he said.

    Earlier, Tsarni had told the Associated Press: “When I was speaking to the older one, he started all this religious talk, ‘Insh’allah’ and all that, and I asked him, ‘Where is all that coming from?’” Insh’allah is the Arabic phrase that means “God willing.”

    What Tsarni is admitting is something true but politically incorrect to talk about: the increasing use of these phrases of religiosity are code inside the community for someone who is becoming hardcore. It doesn’t mean that they’re becoming violent or criminal, but it’s a red flag. In 2004, when I spoke about women’s rights at mosques at the Islamic Society of North America conference in Chicago, a young Muslim man stood at the microphone during the Q&A and scolded me for not saying an honorific, “Peace be upon him,” whenever I mentioned the name of the prophet Muhammad. He later sent me an electronic death threat I turned over to the FBI. It’s a game of trying to out-Muslim a Muslim.

    Instead of playing that game, Uncle Ruslan did something remarkable. He put his hands together as if in prayer, and he showed humility, not defensive arrogance, saying he’d prostrate himself before the victims of the Boston bombings.

    Ameen, as “amen” is said in Arabic and Muslim culture, to Uncle Ruslan. I believe it’s time for us American Muslims to take collective responsibility, rather than issue collective denial. That’s the attitude that cultivates confidence and fosters safety—for all.

  • Hala Arafa

    I find it extremely disturbing that a Moslem scholar chooses to attack a fellow Moslem intellectual, Ms. Asra Nomani, first by misrepresenting her views then by using inappropriate language (such as ‘idiotic ignorance’) unworthy of an academic professor. Ms. Asra Nomani raised an extremely valid point regarding the need for “self examination” within the American Moslem community & discovering where and how the American Moslem youth veer off the moderation path to become violent radicals.
    Mr. Omid Safi either didn’t understand the gist of Ms. Nomani’s article or he engaged in the same tactics of denying there is a problem. He proceeded to flex his muscles with Islamic cliches & verses from the Qura’an simply to prove (probably to himself) that he has superior Islamic knowledge, when this was never the issue. The issue is NOT the use of the word “InSha’Allah” (God willing). The issue is the change of behavior of a Chechen young man, according to his uncle. The uncle said his nephew’s behavior changed when he started using phrases like “God willing”. It wasn’t Asra Nomani who said it. Ms. Nomani simply pointed out that these changes in behavior should raise red flags & the American Moslem community should investigate, research, & save their youth from radical elements in the society.
    It behooves Mr. Omid Safi to read closely & not to assume that because his culture uses phrases like “God willing” regularly, then other Moslem countries do the same. They don’t! Specially Moslem countries in the former Soviet Union. The phrase “InSha’Allah” is a big red flag for those countries, Qura’an verses notwithstanding. (who is ignorant now!)
    It is shameful & sad that Mr. Omid Safi opted to promote himself at the expense of Ms. Nomani who is genuinely trying to find solutions for a harmful growing problem.

  • Lithai

    Wow — Ann Coulter is a *satirist*, huh? If so, she is tremendously unfunny. Horrifying, more like.

  • Ella

    Thank God Boston has @ImamSuhaibbWebb, the way community reacts & does humanity works. Ella collins institute is great.

    Our fellow jews say insha Allah is be’ezrat Hashim. As far as i k ow alhamdulillah is baaruch hashim. I was in US before for 3 years, each states has always place for women. The discussions were accepting always input, complains, etc from the muslims men & women regarding the mosques. @muslimmatters.

    As a muslim, i defend those who are suffering in hands of bad muslims.

  • Elena

    What Ms Nomani wrote above is nearly exactly what I just commented to her on FB! I think the words in her article like “Red flag” immediately set our hair on end; we felt insulted at the idea that anyone would assume our use of popular Islamic utterances made us radicals or extremists. It may be a sign of either; growing extremism or expanding religious devotion, like she said it all depends on the person and in this case since it was out of step with Tsarnaev’s behavioral patterns it became the “Red flag”. I can understand where she might have gotten the idea, Omid, considering the state of say convert Muslims. Many I know who first adopt Islam change their behavior and attitudes immediately to mirror that of their either Pakistani/Indian or Arab mentors: changing their name to an arabic one (something Suhaib Webb actually says is not necessary at all) wearing thobe, uttering any arabic they can grab (even some Urdu) and arguing loudly and angrily with non-muslims and other muslims about the proper application of Islam. It certainly has a “Radical” ring to it, and scares many people. However in my experience I note that this type of behavior only seems to be the jumping off point for new Muslims or born-Muslims who decide to become involved in their faith; they nearly all mellow in time. What irritated me most was not that Ms. Nomani brought that up, but that Tsarni and many people see things like “inshallah” and “mashallah” as religious invocations only when they aren’t at all. Arabs of all nationalities and religions, even Christians, use those words and even call God “Allah” as normal everyday speech in the Arabic tongue. Not remotely radical. Atheists still use words like “amen, sister” or “in the name of all that is holy!” when they are not calling on any God at all– we don’t naturally assume through the use of those that they are secretly religious unless we’re naive (like a certain article that is going around right now http://www.salon.com/2013/04/27/do_atheists_secretly_believe_in_god_partner/)

  • Asra | Omid

    Asra, Your response is appreciated. Being a seasoned journalist, and having endured harassment for the stand you take, you have a greater responsibility to choose the language that does not aggravate the conflict. I see your point of view and context, but facts don’t matter to the right wing nuts, they never get it, they are damned parrots without brains, this is fodder to them.

    I started using Insha Allah in the last ten years, when I realized that I had high BP – and simply cannot promise any one, particularly my Muslim friends that “I will deliver the results” -what if I croak and don’t deliver? Indeed it is the humility that makes me say Insha Allah, if I don’t deliver, it means my life is limited and have no control over it and is subject to what was programmed in my DNA.

    Many Muslims and I support you for the pioneering work you have done in creating awareness about women’s space in the place of worship. There will be greater acceptability of you, if you could just think – am I worsening the situation or mitigating it? Am I a journalist that presents facts to stir up raw emotions or do my words go towards creating a better society. If you don’t believe you have a social responsibility for a better society, I have no argument then.


    Great piece, it is educational and well written. Indeed, I and will share this with my groups. I wrote a similar piece after Major Nidal’s madness and the usage of Allah u Akbar. Its at World Muslim Congress and probably at Huffpost.

    Thank you both, a genuine discussion is good.

  • Dear Asra,
    Salam alaykum.

    You have known me to have been a supporter of you, I might have even been thanked in a book of yours at some point. Insha’allah, as you say, I can be a person who cares about compassion. So why would someone like me, whom over the years you yourself turned to for information and support about gender justice, now critique you?

    Asra, it is because over the last few years, and now again, you are on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of justice.

    Yes, I do care about compassion, and hope to live my life based on it. (So help me God.) But my compassion always starts out on the side of those who are marginalized and unfairly maligned. Over the last few years, time and again you have stood with those who hate and persecute the Muslim community.

    Do you understand that when you take an anecdotal comment from Uncle Ruslan about saying “insha’Allah” and narrativize it to a comment about radicalization of the whole Muslim community, you are providing fuel for fear-mongering about Muslims? There are millions of people who say, and frequently say, insha’allah and masha’allah. I am one of them. You are carelessly associating that with “radicalization.”

    [Do you need a reminder of this environment of paranoia? Do you remember the episode of the plane that was turned back simply because two passengers were speaking in Arabic? By what logic is speaking Arabic (something that more than a hundred million people around the world do, including Muslims, Jews, and Christians) a crime? This is the world we live in Asra. You are not helping.]

    Asra, this is not an isolated issue, and I would not have included you for an isolated episode. Sadly, there is a pattern of you standing with Islamophobes and against justice for years now. More on that in a second.

    I don’t know what is in your heart. That is between you and God. Here is what I do know: you have become an enabler for those who persecute the American Muslim community. You not only went to the absurd “hearing” that Peter King put together, you spoke out again and again in favor of it. You know who wasn’t there? Law enforcement folks, who have talked again and again about how helpful the American Muslim community has been in providing them with tips to identify the few terrorist plans there have been. The one law enforcement person who was called refuted King’s fear-mongering: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/LA_sheriff_takes_on_King.html#

    Who applauded it? Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson, Frank Gaffney. All noted Islamophobes. Who else applauded it? You did Asra.

    What do I mean when I say you have become an enabler? Imagine a hearing on race issues when there is no African-American presenter, or on gender issues when there are no women present. Not many people would pay it much attention, rightly seeing through it. King and his ilk “need” a few token Muslims who are wiling to go along with their inaccurate scapegoating of a whole community. Far from merely reporting on issues—something as a journalist of course it’s your right—you ended up presenting there and writing in its support again and again. You enabled the appearance of legitimacy for a hearing that had none. If you have the time to look up what it means to be a “native informant,” do. Read up on the history of the civil rights era, and see what people like Malcolm X said about people who enable this type of oppression. I won’t use those words here, but I trust you know where to find them.

    Who else presented in those hearings, Asra? Zuhdi Jasser did, the guy who narrated the awful, racist, and inaccurate “documentary” Third Jihad. Yes, the same Third Jihad produced by the “Obsession” people that I wrote the expose on. Who organized this hearing? Peter King, the same guy who says “we have too many mosques in this country.” And what did King do? He proclaimed you and Jasser as “the real face of American Muslims.” Yes, he needs you and Jasser to give him the very last veneer of legitimacy.

    If you want to find a person’s sense of justice, don’t just look at the words that come out of their mouth. Look at where they stand. Look to see on which side of justice and injustice they stand. And Asra, you chose to stand on the side of Peter King and folks who cooperate with—rather than stand up to—the worse of the worst Islamophobes in the country.

    If one cared about issues of violence committed by Muslims—and I do—one would wok at what is actually effective: religious leaders in this country who provide deeper and more effective religious instructions, vibrant mosque communities that are integrated and welcoming, cooperating with law enforcement in those cases where are individuals (not communities) post a threat, etc. The threat of Muslim violence come not from inside these mosques and communities, but for the most part from individuals who are inspired by online lectures of “shaykhs” from overseas who use the context of US aggressions and wars to radicalize the youth. Is that a challenge? Of course it is. How do we respond? Not by holding the Muslim community by collective guilt, but by building up the kind of healthy, grassroots, on the ground level initiatives. And by keeping it in perspective, and to notice the actual trends, as these folks have done: http://tcths.sanford.duke.edu

    You want to report on threat presented by Muslim extremists, do. It’s your right and your privilege. But to talk about by tracing it only to literalist readings of the Qur’an instead of also pointing out the entrapment operations where the FBI plants someone in a mosque to turn people over and then arrests them (http://www.salon.com/2010/11/28/fbi_8/) is not merely dishonest, it is politically ignorant. I should have used the words like politically ignorant, naïve, and simplistic instead of idiotic in my blog. My apologiest for the word idiotic. I stand by the politically ignorant, misguided, and naïve.

    What was your response, Asra, to these hearing? To write “Profile Me, Please!” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/03/07/peter-kings-hearings-on-american-muslims-are-no-witch-hunt.html
    Really, Asra? If you yourself want to be profiled, be my guest Asra. But you are writing on behalf of the efforts to racially and religiously profile a single community. How do I say this kindly? Our legal system is based on holding individuals accountable for their actions, not collective and communal blame/profiling. So no to “driving while black”, no to “studying while Muslim”, or whatever. No to profiling any community on basis of religion, ethnicity, class, race, etc. Yes to holding individuals accountable and responsible for their own actions. You yourself are protected by your visibility, American citizenship, and status. The same will not be true for other Muslims.
    And Asra, you have also supported profiling Muslims by comparing the Muslim community with the KKK and Colombian drug-dealers? Really Asra? Here is what you said:
    “Indeed, just as we need to track the Colombian community for drug trafficking and the Ku Klux Klan for white extremists, I believe we should monitor the Muslim community because we sure don’t police ourselves enough.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/05/why-nypd-monitoring-should-be-welcome-news-to-us-muslims.html
    Should I even comment on that? Comparing a whole religious community with the KKK?

    When the hateful pastor Terry Jones burned the Qur’an, you—who always talk about how Muslim communities deflect responsibility—turned the blame away from him and instead on Muslims: “Qurans are being burnt because we, as Muslims, haven’t dealt sincerely and intellectually with very serious issues that certain Quranic passages raise, particularly in the West.”
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/09/08/get-over-the-quran-burning.html You know that quite a few of us have in fact spent a few decades exploring all possibilities of resistance to hateful interpretations of Islam. But when you get someone like Terry Jones, the proper moral response is not to blame the Qur’an or Muslims, but to put the blame where it belongs: on his own hate.

    So who stood with you Asra in this case? Robert Spencer. When the most hateful Islamophobes in the country are applauding you Asra, does that give you pause to stop and reflect on where you stand? http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/09/we-as-muslims-need-to-tear-a-few-pages-out-of-the-quran.html

    Asra, anyone can quote 4:135. It’s also one of my favorite verses. So we are not called to be unequivocal cheerleaders for the community, nor a reflexive defender of the community. In fact, to do so is to precisely engage in the homogenizing of the community that I have critiqued. No, what we are called to do is to stand up for justice. That is what I am critiquing you on Asra: over the last few years, you have time and again stood against justice, for racial and ethnic profiling, for absurd hearings that demonize Muslims, against inclusion of Americans in the mosaic of American religiosity. You have stood against justice, and with vicious haters and the token enablers.

    This is your track record Asra. These are people who stand with you. These are all the sides of injustice and hatred that unfortunately have ended up with you lining up on the wrong side.

    I know how you tend to respond to criticisms: highlight the very personal nature of some online comments against you, and to talk about how Muslims have failed to take responsibility for the actions of a few crazies. I urge you to pause, reflect, and think about where you want to stand. Life is long, and insha’allah we can all use the remaining breaths we have working for something that is good and beautiful. I hope you do that, insha’allah.

    I wish you all the best, and actually do hold you in my prayers that you combine what is best in you with an aware and just political commentary.

    May God bless you and yours,

    p.s. I am no longer a facebook “friend” with you. After you comments over the last few years, I de-friended you on FB. So if you want to engage me in conversations, feel free to do it here.

  • Dear Asra, I wrote a lengthy response. Kindly take the time to reflect on it.
    May God bless you.

  • Well, well, well, Omid.

    Not carrying a grudge, are you?

    To each of the points you make, I stand by the positions that I have taken with a clear conscience and a clean heart. Anyone who wishes to know my position can simply read my work, which I will not repeat here.

    It certainly seems you have collected your grievances over the years and decided you would unleash all of them in one mocking posting, filled by your own admission with a “ridicule” that captures your analysis of “idiotic ignorance.”

    It seems it would behoove a person of your supposed academic standing to have an intellectual debate rather than a personal assault.

    I find it interesting that as long as I agree with a position that you take, you’re fine with me. But if I take a position that you oppose–or that is supported by those you oppose–you add my analysis to your list of grievances.

    I have noticed a refrain of “collective guilt” that seems to be the talking points of many, including you, stating very simply that you will not assume “collective guilt.” I believe that in fact too many are silenced by “collective shame” and, thus, engage in just the kind of deflection, denial and demonization that you have done to avoid something I fundamentally believe is our duty: collective responsibility.

    I find it both sad and predictable that you should add my name to those that you attempt to demonize.

    I will continue to speak clearly, strongly and passionately with a clear conscience and professionalism.

    Inshallah, you will be more respectful and mature than you have been with this posting. As it stands, you have now joined the ranks of the uncles who try to put down a woman by being patronizing, belittling and bullying.


  • Dear Asra,
    Wa alaykum al-salam.

    Glad to hear your conscience and heart are clear to you. As to your political acumen and judgment in lining up with Islamophobes, I think we (me, civil rights advocates, and the overwhelming majority of Muslim community members) are going to radically disagree on that, and insha’allah the judgment of history will help us figure out who was standing on the side of justice and who was enabling injustice and oppression.

    May God bless you, and lead you to a better place than where you are today.

    I guess we are done here.

  • Mustafa

    Dear Omid,

    One of my dear friends posted your thoughts on his timeline, and said that it was a good summary. the following was my response:

    “Almost a good summary, in my opinion. He misses out or maybe forgets to include what should also be a major talking point, which is that Muslims have also committed an egregious mistake throughout. Ever since the bombing, Muslims have been so focused on distancing themselves (and Islam) from the attack that they have forgotten to give the alleged perpetrators any benefit of the doubt as is given by American law. Innocent until proven guilty. And day after day, there have been so many holes in this investigation, so many questionable actions have been taken by law enforcement, and yet, we do nothing but vilify the suspects. That’s right. SUSPECTS. One is dead and one is barely alive, and all we want to do is call them douchebags. Maybe they end up being douchebags, maybe they did do this or were made to do this, or maybe they are innocent of this and were in the wrong place at the wrong time and panicked when they saw their faces splashed on the TV screen as suspects…maybe, maybe, maybe. And yet, in the eyes of Muslims, it seems as if our ONLY endgame is to see to it that the words “Islam” and “Muslims” is separated from all of this.

    I would have loved to see someone own up to this tragedy. Yes, it IS a tragedy that we are willing to let acts against our rights as citizens be corroded as long as there are scapegoats to take the fall. Whether we like it or not, this is what we have made the Tsarnaev brothers…scapegoats. Even if they are guilty, it can never be fair that we jumped on the bandwagon of those who indicted them before any investigation had really played out. We love to jump on the Ann Coulters and the Asra Noumanis of the world (rightly so)…but a little bit of introspection would show that we have not been squeaky clean with our behavior in the aftermath either.”

    I truly believe that we do an injustice when everything is the fault of others, especially when there is an almost constant mistake we are making…and that is to rush to judgment ourselves that the “alleged perpetrators” are actually “perpetrators.” I admit that this may stem from the fear that by not joining in on what everyone sems to think is the truth, we stand to open ourselves to criticism, but if we are to make decisions based on fear, then we cannot at the same time demand justice.

    We have statement after statement from Muslims as to how these kids are douchebags, they are killers, that funeral prayers will be refused by imams (Imam Suhaib Webb was a lone voice who said he would do the prayer if asked, but even he was misquoted), and on and on. Facebook is riddled with status updates villifying the still “alleged perpetrators.”

    In the meantime, while we scramble to say all these things, the city goes under lockdown in an almost militaristic exercise, the younger brother is seen lying motionless in a boat bloodied from the previous encounter and they shoot into the boat as if it was target practice, the decision is made in advanc that Miranda rights would not be read to him, a pressure cooker with explosives (a definition of an Improvised Expolosive Device, I would say) is classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of all that went on. In the midst of all this, that our focus was only on rescuing the name of Islam and Muslims, with no regard for due process, citizens rights, etc. would easily rank in the top 5 dumbest things.

    Just my opinion.

  • Dear Mustafa,
    Thank you. Some of us have been saying exactly that. In fact, I said it on my national NPR interview:


  • Mustafa

    Dear Omid,

    Thank you for being among the very few voices that have actually said that. I still would argue that it belongs in this article as well, as one of the top 5 dumbest things. I do listen to NPR but am not able to catch everything on there in the time that can reasonably be spent listening to radio or even reading articles, so my comment was articularly about this article you posted. Usually, if I bring this up, it is with people who couldnt say that they did say it, but you have actually taken this position publicly on NPR, so I am actually even more confused as to why this isnt included in this article. I would suggest that it is infinitely more important to bring this up than talk about, for example, geographically challenged Americans.


  • Qalander

    Asra Nomani reflects the “voice of real people”? Are you kidding me? She supports racial profiling, Peter King, and NYPD spying on our communities. How is these things “based on love and understanding”? What kind of distorted definition of “love” do you have?

    It’s people like Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser, and others who are making things WORSE for the community. You are perpetuating Islamophobia, not fighting against it. You are participating in the demonization of your own people! How do you not have any shame?

    How can you call Omid Safi’s work “defensive theories”? Scholars not only theorize, they actually do real research. Nomani’s statement about “Insha’Allah” being a “red flag” is not based on ANY research. What are her sources? Did she conduct a survey or questionnaire with a random selection of Muslims? There is an arrogant lack of accountability and responsibility on Nomani’s part. She seems really insensitive about the damage her stereotypes and support for oppressive policies are causing.

  • Heidi

    My initial reaction to the uproar was to defend Ms. Nomani’s statements. However, after reading her article, the problem I see with her comment(s) is that it juxtaposes two extremes – the radical Muslim and the secular Muslim, and presupposes that there are no stations in-between where reverent adherents can use these words benignly without double meaning or some terroristic ‘code’. On what study is Ms. Nomani’s statement regarding the increased usage of “phrases of religiosity” based? None. It’s an opinion based on her personal experience(s). We’ve been hearing these phrases used for decades by peaceful, kind, decent everyday Muslim and non-Muslim people of faith who believe in acknowledging and crediting God in their daily life. The fact that she felt ‘scolded’ by someone reminding her to honor the Prophet is subjective at best.

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  • How could you miss Alex Jones declaring the Boston Marathon bombing, within thirty minutes of the news hitting the Internet, a US Federal governmental “false flag” operation, apparently on the basis of a tip from one of the voices in Glenn Beck’s head?

  • Kelvin R. Throop

    “Everything is open to questioning. That does not mean all answers are equally valid.” Kelvin R. Throop

    For balance, it would have been fitting to include U.N. associate Richard Falk’s comments as equally dumb, once the academic jargon is stripped away.

  • Kilgore Trout

    Kelvin for perspective only, since I believe both Falk and Safi are proponents of Edward Said, please see the following World Affairs Journal article on Said’s scholarship:


  • Hm, well, while I agree with some of what Falk said, he obviously flipped.

    Time for a sabbatical.

  • Elena

    Dear Ismail,

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that the Muslim community needs to be reformed within some communities to fit in better with the American religious mainstream, I don’t think it is wise to blanket the whole of the “muslim community” with that statement. Where there are large populations of Muslims in the US: SF Bay, LA, NYC, Virginia and many other communities, there has been a great deal of reformation. Besides the mosques there are social service non-profits like Islamic Relief, I-SOS in Oregon, and Taleef in the Bay and its small offshoots through out the country. The Muslim population is only around 6 million and spread across this BIG country of ours with hundreds of large and small mosques. How would you suggest the community organize itself inorder to reform, root out Wahabi and Salafi ideology, and deal with angst from amongst a very small minority of people?

    Although, I am a revert (12 years strong) and feel that I can openly criticize (if I wanted to) the failings of the community. I also realize that if I want to help to remove some of the angst and stereotypes it means that I have to work to spread compassion, mercy, and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim alike. One does that NOT by bashing a large group of people, even if that large group of people is from their OWN demographic, but by communicating tolerance and respect. Unfortunately, when one uses divisive language, as Ms. Nomani had, if only in one paragraph, it creates exactly that “division”. There is a reason why many Muslims take offense to her statement and find it cowtailing to a populace that knows little to nothing about Islam and its many many communities and movements.

    As you mentioned Salafis and Wahabis influence is becoming more pronounced within certain sectors of the community, although, like I have mentioned there are organizations like Taleef and Zeytouna and other “Sufi” communities out there that are gaining a wider following. BTW, those communities use Islamic terminology as much as those Salafis and Wahabis do. BTW, she never mentioned anything about Wahabis or Salafis in her article, don’t know exactly where you are getting that impression, I assume it is your own interpretation.

    I would also like to mention that I have participated in Muslim communities all the way down the West Coast (Portland, SF Bay, Sacramento, Stockton, LA, SD, Orange County) as well as on the East Coast, mainly Baltimore/DC area. Yes, there are more traditional minded communities within every community; however, the majority of mosques are very much a part of the progressive Muslim movement.
    Insha’allah you will read this, Alhamdulilah if you did already, lol 🙂

    Khoda Hafiz, Allah Hafiz, Ma’salama, God be with you 😉

  • Kelvin R. Throop

    I often get a headache trying to define the “mainstream media” these days but I find it interesting that PRINCE ALWALEED BIN TALAL of Saudi Arabia owns a significant share of News Corp., which, of course, owns Fox. (He also owns “significant” shares in Twitter, Apple, CitiCorp, et, al.)

    Previously, there was an accusation that the Saudi’s were influencing some of the reporting at Fox. That seems out the window now with Coulter, etc. Nevertheless, traditional Muslims need more and better spokespeople explaining their religion but still condemning any radical elements within.

    The Muslim spokesman on O’Reilly last week, tried the “they are not really Muslim line” without opening with a condemnation of any radical possibility within their religious population world-wide.

  • Alana


    I find the death of three innocent people and the maiming of 200 horrifying. Ann Coulter’s horrifying are words.

  • Alana

    “facts don’t matter to the right wing nuts, they never get it, they are damned parrots without brains, this is fodder to them.”

    Mike, nice work. This is a great way to establish a dialogue with those that do not see the world the same way you do. This will go a long way to improving Islamic relations in the States.

  • Chris

    Alana, please do not forget the fourth person who died, the MIT policeman. In some ways, the face-to-face execution of this 26 year was as cruel of an act as one can imagine.

  • Pingback: Linksies: Boston Bombings Edition()

  • Dave Johnson

    Wow, I’m a grad student that studies Muslim communities in the US, and I found Nomani’s response wholly unsubstantive. Asra, do you plan on addressing Omid’s detailed points?

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  • Tiggy Sagar

    I think saying, ‘the increasing use of these phrases of religiosity are code inside the community for someone who is becoming hardcore.’ is a very misleading statement. There are plenty of Muslim communities where saying ‘insha’allah’ is normal for some, occasional for others, and sometimes a statement of irony. I have Muslim friends who are not very religious who will sometimes say it. I know committed Christians who use it! I use it myself, though there was a time before when i didn’t use it. Does that mean I’m becoming radicalised? And what does ‘hardcore’ mean? To the reader this could well be understood as something negative and probably as a hardcore terrorist, whereas i think you meant becoming very religious.

  • Tiggy Sagar

    Why did he call them ‘losers’? Wasn’t the younger one a medical student? That doesn’t sound like a loser to me.

  • Alex


    Sophia’s post, which you clearly didn’t read, focuses on a specific fringe group within the larger GOP, not the entire country. That you conflate her criticism of this fringe group with criticism of America says a lot about your own sad political affiliations. That being said, your point about Shias and Sunnis is entirely irrelevant given that we’re discussing domestic ideological extremism, not religious polemics. Send me your email address if you have time, I know some good reading comprehension teachers that might be looking for a challenge.

  • Tiggy Sagar

    People so far on this thread have spoken respectfully. I don’t think there’s any need for the sort of tone you’re taking and being so rude, whatever you think of Alana’s opinions.

    Dear Asra,

    Why do you think Omid, and several others including me, have taken the time to write these extensive reflective notes.
    It is not to criticize you, but to keep you within the fold of the genuine moderate Muslims to bring about a positive but gradual awakening. Correct me, if that it is not your drive.

    I have always admired you from the very first day you arranged for the women led prayers, you were on my radio show that very same day along with Amina Wadud, and I have stood up for your principles, despite a few short-sighted Muslims calling me names.

    As a genuine moderate Muslim, whose Muslimness in not manifested in externalities, I beg you Asra, my sister to stay within the fold, our praise for you work is genuine and will continue to be, however, I do admit, the people who lavish praises for your write ups, far outweigh a few who appreciate your work, but our appreciation is genuine.

    I will repeat, “There will be greater acceptability of you, if you could just think – am I worsening the situation or mitigating it? Am I a journalist that presents facts to stir up raw emotions or do my words go towards creating building a cohesive society with respect to every American? If you don’t believe you have a social responsibility for a better society, then I have no argument with you, nor will I appeal to you.

    Omid’s comments shows a lot of patience, and I agree with him on this statement, which he has elaborated with documentation, “it is because over the last few years and now again, you are on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of justice.”

    I wrote a similar appeal to you several months ago, begging you to continue your critical work and not fall to the temptations of thousands of congratulatory comments for being the right winger’s “moderate Muslims” which is earned by irrationally criticizing the faith that your profess. The compliments are very appeasing indeed, and joy giving, but in the end, you, Omid and I have to be carried on some one’s shoulders and remembered for the sea change you brought – those rascals (of all faiths and persuasions) that heap shallow praises, will not be there for you, I guarantee you from my little experience. They are using you and may be you have a need for that.

    Ultimately, it is the good work you do, that will bring solace to you in your reflective moments.

    Asra, I beg you to remain a genuine moderate Muslim – who sees the faults in our practices and brings about corrective actions, instead of pushing fellow Muslims away to gain duplicitous friendships. Don’t believe for a moment that no one was there for you during the Morgan Mosque times, we were all there, and you were busy. We are still here for you.
    Just be thoughtful and reasonable, let your words be critical, but a guide to shaping a better society.

    Thank you
    Mike Ghouse
    Muslim thinker, writer and a speaker

  • Alex

    How is Sunni-Shia relevant to Omid’s article, which is about Muslim Americans, and American politics? You don’t need me to say you can talk about any topic you want, but at the very least let’s try and address the topic at hand without obfuscating.

    Anyway, Alana clearly took Sophia’s criticism of Nomani and the political voices to whom she aligns herself as criticism of American politics in toto. At best, she misread Sophia’s admittedly heated post, and at worst, Alana shares Nomani’s misguided and divisive stances, which probably prompted the defensive response.

  • Zemar


    You’ve already been an embarrassment to the Muslim community. Vast majority of us Muslims do NOT consider you our valid representatives in the very least. So, please trying to represent us by stabbing us in the back.

    And enough with the emotional personal drama stories, “well this happened to me….that happened with me”, no one cares about about your sob stories. There are plenty of such stories of Muslims at the hands of Islamophobes and extremely liberal Muslims as well. I knew a Muslim girl who said her father (also a Muslim) use to force her to drink alcohol and beat her when she wanted to wear the hijab! I wonder why such stories are not printed.

    I don’t know how much your getting “paid” to be the other side while still claiming that you represent American Muslims (which the vast majority of us DO NOT AFFIRM), but you really need to evaluate yourself and get your head straightened up.

  • Zemar

    Wow Nomani, your completely full of it. We have read your work and it’s completely FULL of it, that’s the point he is trying to make.

    “have an intellectual debate rather than a personal assault” REALLY?! You are one of the QUEENS of this science. Your personal assault on the vast Muslim community at large is well documented.

    “if I take a position that you oppose–or that is supported by those you oppose–you add my analysis to your list of grievances” – and you’ve never done this with others? Oh please!

    “I will continue to speak clearly, strongly and passionately with a clear conscience and professionalism” – and we will keep speaking against haters like yourself with even a STRONGER voice.

  • Amy

    Asalaamu alaikum,

    I read Asra Nomani’s Washington Post article and I was shocked by her statements. Saying that using words like insha’Allah is a “code inside the community that someone is becoming hardcore” is just absurd. I don’t know what “community” she belongs to but I would say a MAJORITY of Muslims use words like insha’Allah. We say things like insha’Allah one day there will be no more terrorism, no more crazy people killing in the name of religion. Insha’Allah the victims will heal from their terrible injuries. Insha’Allah the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

    I was actually more disgusted by Asra’s statements than I was by those made by Ann Coulter. Ann is just a crazy islamophobe who will probably never change and I think many Americans can see her for what she is. But Asra, being a Muslim is, as you said, an enabler. Because she’s a Muslim, people may listen to her and then hear Muslims in the supermarket saying “insha’Allah” and assume that these must be dangerous radicals. May Allah guide Asra to the straight path. Ameen.

  • Chameleon_X

    Asra is either a self-hating Muslim, a seriously deluded Muslim or yet another so called “Muslim” on the Islamophobe dole based on her persistently irrational and fact-free logic (see the “Fear, Inc.” Islamopobia report by the very well respected Center for American Progress for details).

    For example, what does she mean by “I believe it’s time for us American Muslims to take collective responsibility” when describing how Muslims should respond to terrorism by so called “Muslims”? How can Muslims be collectively responsible for something that they are in no way responsible for? The actual truth is that virtually every high profile thwarted terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11 (except three) was manufactured by the FBI (see the book “The Terror Factory” for the shocking proof), and just about every successful terror attack worldwide since 1980 (over 95%, including 9/11) was politically-motivated, not religiously motivated, according to the best academic data out there. The universally ethical “self-defense” argument (not in any way unique to Islam) was nearly always used as the post-hoc “religious” justification, but religion itself was almost never the actual motive.

    Moreover, only 6% of all terrorist attacks in the U.S. (per the FBI’s own data) and only 0.6% of all terrorist attacks in Europe (per Europol’s own data, including thwarted attacks) were committed by Muslims over many years (since 1980 in the U.S.). The Boston terror attack itself had nothing whatsoever to do with family or community responsibility for radicalization, as all evidence is showing and completely contrary to Asra’s claim. Although it seems almost impossible to believe given how much the “Islamic supremacist terror threat” is hyped up via propaganda, this attack represented the VERY FIRST deaths of civilians in the U.S. by terrorism from “Muslims” since 9/11! So how the hell can Asra blame Muslims as being uniquely responsible for terrorism or demand that they “take collective responsibility” for the sick crimes of individuals? Her Islamophobic position is simply absurd. And instead of addressing any arguments against her, she just engages in ad hominem diversion.

    Muslims who follow Islam cannot possibly be responsible for “crimes of Islamic violence”, since that would be demanding they be responsible for an irrational oxymoron that does not exist. Islam rejects all unjust violence according to the Quran, and the Quran is the only holy book that I am aware of that specifically punishes terrorism (i.e., waging war or destructive chaos by individuals, not states) according to the harshest verse in the entire Quran, by far: verse 5:33.

    Why would a terrorist who falsely invokes “defense of Islam” as justification for his political motives be any different from politically motivated states who invoke “defense of Freedom” or “defense of Democracy” as their reason for slaughtering innocents by the tens of thousands after invading and occupying foreign countries? Should we blame all citizens of those states by demanding that they “take collective responsibility” for the “crimes of Freedomism” of the evils of “violent Democracist supremacism”, since those crimes were done IN THE NAME OF Freedom and Democracy?

    Do you think Americans would buy this same hate argument turned upon them for their crimes against innocents? After all, we are not really criticizing Freedom and Democracy when we make them look into their Orwellian mirror vulgarizing their sacred ideologies. We are just criticizing “Freedomism” and “Democracists”, which are different, so that makes it all A-OK. Or would they reject this as a wholly unacceptable vulgarization of their sacred values? Of course they would, in the same way that all Muslims should vociferously object to and wholly reject any and all negative vulgarizations of Islam via such nonsensical proxy words as “Islamism” and “Jihadist”. Islam and jihad have absolutely nothing to do with unjust violence – period – so why should Muslims tolerate such repugnant vulgarizations?

    We only start buying into the irrational argument of “collective responsibility” when we allow non-Muslims to frame our sacred values in a way that makes them inherently vulgar with the presumption of guilt and shame. We have become so beaten down over decades by the same propaganda that Asra continues to hawk to pay her bills that we don’t even realize anymore how much we have acquiesced to this vulgarization. Even when Muslims communicate, we have unwittingly assimilated this very same vulgarity by adopting words like “Islamism” for political injustice and violent crimes, and “jihadist” for criminals and terrorists. This vulgar bigotry needs to stop, just as Islamophobic arguments for “collective responsibility” by Muslims need to stop. The sort of fact-free zombie logic used by Asra is utterly moronic. If Muslims are going to “take collective responsibility” in some way for crimes of terrorism, it should be to wholly reject – via facts and logic, not apologies – any and all associations of violent injustice with Islam and with Muslims who follow Islam.

    Incidentally, the same argument applies to terms like “extremist Muslim” or “fundamentalist Muslim”, both of which should logically imply a Muslim who is even more extreme in following all the fundamentals of Islam, including Islam’s categorical opposition to violent injustice. However, Muslims have all but succumbed to the Orwellian definition imposed upon them instead, where these terms describe a violent individual in total opposition to Islam. Make no mistake. This a propaganda war, and Muslims need to step up to the plate to fight against it, especially when “Muslims” like Asra are fighting for the other side, the bigots against Islam.

    As a final point, since Asra implicitly argues that Islam is somehow responsible for unjust violence – hence her call to Muslims to be “collectively responsible” to counteract the inherent injustice somewhere within Islam – I demand that she show all of us how Islam in its purest form, per the Quran, could possibly be responsible for violent injustice. I will even lower the bar way down, as far as possible, to make it extremely easy on her. I hereby challenge Asra right now to show me just ONE verse in the entire Quran that is not in compliance with Just War Theory, the highest ethical standard of warfare in the modern world today.

  • Chameleon_X


    So let me get this straight, when you preach on your well paid pedestal about the Muslim “red flag” radicalization threat hidden in innocuous phrases like “inshallah”, it must be respected free speech. However, when someone challenges you with facts and logic, it is called “join[ing] the ranks of the uncles who try to put down a woman by being patronizing, belittling and bullying”. How pathetic. I am all for the complete inviolability of free speech for everyone, including you. However, we all must realize that our words can sometimes have awesome power, especially when published so widely and when they so strongly confirm the powerful words of others who hate. Words may always be legal and unimpeachable, but they can be morally and directly responsible for hate, murder, terrorism, and even mass genocide. Speeches before major battles, even single phrases, have turned the tide of history many times over. That is why I respect your right to free speech as much as I respect the power of speech itself. But that is also why I am holding you to full account to your words.

    You so strongly advocate standing up tall to tout your “collective responsibility” and to shed the traditional Muslim baggage of guilty silence or irrational “collective denial”, which you so detest. You even go so far as to exclaim that Muslims should never be “shamed into silence”. However, that is exactly what you shamefully tried to do to Omid in shaming him into silence. You then ran and hid behind your disingenuous dainty womanhood and phony plea of victimhood to deny responsibility for your words and to weasel out of an informed challenge to your values, as if being a woman makes one damn bit of a difference. I don’t care, and I am sure Omid doesn’t care, if you were a man, woman or alien from another planet. You are making invalid and nonsensical claims, and we are calling you out on those claims. Stop this ad hominem diversion and feigned victimhood BS and get engaged in the debate.

    As others have pointed out, you have also yet to address the factually supported claims by Omid against you, which is important in exposing who you really are and what your intentions are. You are already profiting quite handsomely from your Islamophobia in nationally publicized media, in spite of your shoddy writing. Your writing is in demand only because nothing gives the Islamophobic masses a more warm and fuzzy feeling than to hear their hate confirmed so eagerly by a self-proclaimed “Muslim”. The only question in my mind now is whether you have stooped so low to be a paid shill for the Islamophobia industry as well. Based on the fact that you refuse to engage in a debate that you know will lead to your public humiliation and loss of credibility — thereby threatening your cash flow from promoting hate and collective punishment on Muslims — my bet is that you are indeed on the Islamophobe dole. Please prove me wrong, or else prove me right by refusing to engage in a debate, as I suspect you will.

    As Omid stated, you have to realize what the real world consequences are of promoting “collective responsibility” upon Muslims. You are advocating the view that Muslims are a collective threat and that they deserve collective monitoring and therefore collective punishment, which is absurd. These are the very same lies and inspirations of hate that are promoted by terrorists like Robert Spencer and his cohorts. I call them terrorists because their words have directly inspired multiple terrorist attacks and hate crimes against Muslims, in the same way that bin Laden can be held accountable as a terrorist for inspiring terrorist acts that he did not participate in himself.

    Did you know, for example, that Robert Spencer and his hate-spewing cohorts were cited at least 375 TIMES in Breivik’s manifesto explaining why he killed so many innocents in Norway to stop the “Islamization of Europe”. Over half of those references, by the way, were to Robert Spencer and his personal hate site promoting “collective responsibility” of Muslims for terrorism. If you don’t believe me, I can easily prove it, since I did the count myself, and so can you in less than five minutes. Breivik even expressed his consummate devotion to Robert Spencer and his hate cohorts as his spiritual inspiration by nominating them specifically by name for Norway’s Nobel Peace Prize, to honor their “fight” against Islam and Muslims.

    Doesn’t it shock you at all that these terrorists are now citing YOU for their inspirations of hate and terror? I have written even more extensively in another post on this article, which I dare you to read and reply to as well. That post contains a factual destruction of your nonsensical core argument advocating “collective responsibility”. And those facts are only just the tip of the iceberg.

    By the way, did it ever occur to you why you have yet to state your claim or ideal in a way that is not meaningless and nonsensical? You keep repeating the mantra of “collective responsibility”, but this is not a claim or ideal that anyone can possibly follow, since it fails to specify by whom, for whom, and how. Should Muslims be “collectively responsible” for picking up garbage on the street, voting in elections, loving their children, or what exactly? Any of those ideals would be good, since coming together and being responsible are generally good things. But, of course, none of these innocuous ideals is what you meant. So why don’t you dare to say the full sentence to clarify what “ideal” Muslims should be subjected to? Because you know how shamefully wrong it sounds when you actually say it in full and out loud for the entire world to hear: “Muslims should be collectively responsible for terrorism.” Say it – I dare you.

  • Chameleon_X


    You quote the uncle of Tamerlan as saying the following: The bombing suspects, “put a shame on the entire Chechnyan ethnicity.” And then from this you tout this guy as a model for Muslims to feel “collective responsibility” for terrorism. Your logic is utterly juvenile.

    So are all Muslims now Chechnyans? What he is speaking of is the shame on his tribe, not his religion, which he didn’t even practice. Note how he specified “Chechnyan ethnicity”. You are conflating genetic and tribal cultural identity with religious identity, which are very different concepts entirely. Religious doctrine, at least for Islam, remains unchanged and can be evaluated objectively and analytically for responsibility and blame. Cultural and genetic affiliations are much more subjective in nature and cannot be evaluated analytically for blame by outsiders. For the latter, the only recourse is to be “ashamed” when strong and widespread social judgments are passed on those identities because of the actions of even one or two “bad apples” of that group. The same cannot be said for Islam, which stands transparent and completely independent of any individual actions.

    You also made the following absurd claim: “What Tsarni is admitting is something true but politically incorrect to talk about: the increasing use of these phrases of religiosity are code inside the community for someone who is becoming hardcore. It doesn’t mean that they’re becoming violent or criminal, but it’s a red flag.”

    Now that you have made this claim, please walk us through the statistical analysis that you performed or researched – as a “journalist” – to conclude that the adoption or use of such phrases is statistically correlated with radicalization to a sufficient degree that it can be considered a “red flag” (as opposed to a lower threshold, such as an orange flag or hot pink flag). Please define your statistical definition of “red flag”, and please disclose or link to your entire data set, your full analysis and research, and the level of statistical confidence that was derived from this data set. Or are you going to humiliate yourself by remaining silent, or by admitting what we all know already, that no such data set remotely exists?

    We all know you are reading my posts, since all my posts to you go directly to your inbox. Now stop being an intellectual wimp and come out of hiding and get engaged in the debate. Or are you going to consummate your hypocrisy by focusing on your dainty, vulnerable womanhood and be “shamed into silence”, just like all those shame-infested Muslims that you so pitifully detest? Shame, shame, shame indeed.

  • Chameleon_X


    You say: “The phrase “InSha’Allah” is a big red flag for those countries, Qura’an verses notwithstanding. (who is ignorant now!). It is shameful & sad that Mr. Omid Safi opted to promote himself at the expense of Ms. Nomani who is genuinely trying to find solutions for a harmful growing problem.”

    What is shameful and sad is that you are backing up a bigoted claim with absolutely zero facts to support that claim, and then on top of that you have the audacity to label Omid as “ignorant”. Ignorance is making offensive claims without facts, not demanding facts to support those claims. Please read my post above to Asra where I demand the facts behind her “red flag” claim. Any self-respecting and self-proclaimed “journalist” should be able to produce at least some relevant facts to support the core claims behind an article, especially when those claims are clearly controversial. Let’s all wait and see what facts Asra finally brings to the table to back up what is so far nothing more than bigoted hot air. You might want to prepare yourself to eat some serious crow, because it won’t be coming.

  • Hala Arafa

    I am really not responsible for your lack of knowledge about various cultures in different Moslem countries nor am I responsible for your inability to understand plain English. If the bombers’ uncle says that he suspected his nephew was radicalized when his speech started to include phrases like “InSha’Allah” that should have been your clue right there.
    Everyone on this board, including your esteemed professor, unleashed the most vicious smear campaign against Asra Nomani because of something she didn’t say, something you don’t know and obviously are incapable of grasping even when the Chechen guy himself gave you the clue.
    I’ve been reading all the hysterical responses & fanatical attacks on Asra on this board & didn’t find one single “calm” reflection on the issue she raised, which is: “How do we save our American Moslem youth from violent radicalization”.
    This knee-jerk reaction to devour anyone who calls for introspection & self-examination is only symptomatic of a very sick community…. a community that confuses “free speech” for hurling insults & calling each other names, instead of listening to other opinions, weighing new ideas, & reflecting on different thoughts.
    The level of dogmatism & lack of understanding & lack of open-mindedness demonstrated in the attacks against Asra Nomani proves that no amount of evidence will be accepted by this bunch…. no logic will prevail and any discussion will be futile.

  • Chameleon_X


    You say, “I am really not responsible for your lack of knowledge about various cultures in different Moslem countries.”

    But you are responsible for backing up your audacious claims with actual data, which you have still embarrassingly failed to provide. Your so-called “knowledge about various cultures”, no matter how detailed, would still not be logically sufficient to get you the data to back up this wild claim with a valid statistical correlation. You need to have actual data,not on the general culture, but on how many terrorists in Chechnya started using these phrases concurrently with their terrorist radicalization, or at least some data showing that the proportion of terrorists in Chechnya who use these phrases is significantly higher than the proportion who do so in the control group, i.e., the general population of all Chechnyan Muslims. So where is this data???? You and Asra made this wild claim based on some sort of phantom data. Now back it up. Show us the data! Or are you too embarrassed to admit that you too have absolutely none?

    You say, “If the bombers’ uncle says that he suspected his nephew was radicalized when his speech started to include phrases like “InSha’Allah” that should have been your clue right there.”

    Sorry, Hala, but one data point, especially observed in hindsight rather than at random, does not a statistic make. It is certainly not a basis to extrapolate across any population, let alone to contradict the provably innocuous use of these phrases by over a billion Muslims worldwide!

    You also ask, “How do we save our American Moslem youth from violent radicalization”?

    First of all, step #1 is that you have to show that such radicalization is a rampant problem. I have seen no compelling data that it is, especially when you remove the effect of the #1 terrorist recruiter and source of radicalization of Muslim youth in the U.S., by far: the FBI. The FBI has built a well-oiled “Terror Factory” of 15,000+ informants and agent provocateurs in Muslim communities across the nation with a no cost-barred $3 Billion anti-Muslim “counterterrorism” budget. There is no FBI Islamophobia conspiracy at work, though, contrary to how this reality sounds. The explanation is much blander than that. It is just a cause-effect organizational behavior result of a fear-based system gone wildly out of control. Massively excessive “counterterrorism” budgets and incentives have been implemented to “find” – and if necessary, create/entrap – “Muslim” terrorists to justify what amounts to nearly 40% of the FBI’s entire annual budget. Like the U.S. “War on Terror” foreign policy that is the #1 recruiter of foreign terrorists by far according to academic research, the FBI is manufacturing its own terrorists domestically. There is a high probability, for example, that the mysterious Misha was an FBI agent provocateur who radicalized Tamerlan but failed to entrap him before he went solo with his own terrorist act.

    The fact is that almost all terrorist acts are done by self-radicalized lone wolves, not by terror cells nurtured from within American Muslim communities. Moreover, the motive behind terrorism is almost without exception political, not religious. That is what the data actually shows if you cared to look. If you have contrary data to show that there is an endemic Muslim youth radicalization problem in the U.S. and that this radicalization is NURTURED BY AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITIES OR FAMILIES, then please do provide that data rather than make more dogmatic and hollow claims.

    You also say, “the attacks against Asra Nomani proves that no amount of evidence will be accepted by this bunch…. no logic will prevail and any discussion will be futile.”

    I am not attacking Asra Nomani. I am factually and logically eviscerating her core arguments. She is the one refusing a discussion and debate, not me. The fact that you can’t see the difference shows that you have no respect for facts or logic and are easily beguiled by her vacuous claims. You say “no amount of evidence will be accepted” by us, but the hypocrisy and irony of that statement is that we have demanded that evidence from her (and now from you) over and over again, yet Asra won’t provide it. What we are working with right now from her is ZERO amount of evidence, logic that is demonstrably juvenile, and claims that are completely vacuous. You are seriously embarrassing yourself by standing by her side on this one.

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  • Hala Arafa

    Surat Al-Noor, Aya 23
    “إن الذين يرمون المحصنات الغافلات المؤمنات، لُعنوا فى الدنيا والآخرة ولهم عذاب عظيم”
    صدق الله العظيم
    And the judgement of who this definition applies to, is God’s and only God’s.
    Thank you, JGandhi. You must be very proud of yourself. Congratulations! 🙂

  • Khaugar

    I see that RNS rightly has removed the distasteful piece on Nomani so I am commenting here on that :

    The Muslim community needs more Nomani’s. You like many others in the Muslim community may want to totally deny that your faith is being hijacked even while the larger ( even neutral ) general public discourse reflects that these bombers and several others were “Islamic” militants. THE BOMBERS WERE DRIVEN BY SOME STRANGE IDEA OF ISLAM.

    I am stunned with how very very few progressives are out there among the Muslim Community who have had the courage to make straight perhaps politically incorrect observations like she made in the Uncle Ruslan piece.The debate that follows also show how very tiny that progressive group is. Her observations are so innocuous and basically says a kid who went from partying like a normal kid to saying Insha’Allah after every sentence essentially suggesting that when a person suddenly gets very pious, people ask questions. This is true in any religion. Its amazing how Safi and other so called moderate Muslims are angry about this and blew things out of proportion. Progressives ? Really?

    Every religion ( Christian , Hindus etc) has their own Nomani’ s who make others in the community uncomfortable and even angry. This specific exchange between Safi & Nomani and the ensuing commentary by the community ( some truly ugly) shows how few truly provocative change drives are around in the muslim community. Its so sad to see that people like Nomani are being openly threatened.

    Asra Nomani is Muslim and she takes responsibility for violence committed in the name of her religion & fights against it. So many progressive Christians take responsibility for their religion’s toleration / encouragement of Westboro Baptist Church & fight it tooth and nail sometimes with words that are politically incorrect .Same with Progressive Hindu’s who openly criticize the violence emerging from Hindu fundamentalists.

    The Muslim Community has very very few true radical progressives like Nomani compared to the other religions.

    You may not like what they say or even agree with what they say sometimes.But you do desperately need them given that as you say most ppl in the community like to live in a culture of total denial or told that they should ignore it as its “not their problem”.

    Grow up! And Yes.. to everyone this involved: This discourse could have been more civil. Its hilarious to Senior Scholars / Experts fighting like little children? Unfriending on Facebook? Hilarious!

  • Ella

    That is what i’ve been thinking. I am really touch to read this. May God bless you , dear!

  • Ella

    Thanks for your point. I agree

  • Hala Arafa

    Thank you Khaugar 😀 I was beginning to give up on sane people! Thank you for renewing my faith that there are still some sane people out there who see things the same way I do.
    All my best!

  • Chameleon_X


    You said, “like many others in the Muslim community may want to totally deny that your faith is being hijacked”.

    I hope you weren’t hallucinating and referring to Omid or me. The comments in both of our postings literally scream in agreement that someone is hijacking Islam to redefine it into something totally opposite to what it is. I am making the deliberate personal choice – without assuming ANY collective responsibility — to try to stop that and to pinpoint exactly who that is with real data, not phony claims.

    The key question is, Who or what is “responsible” for the hijacking of Islam? Is it Muslim families or Muslim communities in the U.S.? Definitely not — the data clearly debunks this myth.

    Is it individual, self-radicalized criminals, which are hardly more likely to exist in Muslim communities than elsewhere? Yes, this is exactly what the data shows.

    Is it also the FBI, which is responsible for hatching, financing and guiding more high profile (and obviously thwarted) terror attacks in the U.S. than all other terror groups combined? Most definitely yes, as thousands of hours of professional journalism sifting through court documents and hundreds of interviews has proven, per the book “The Terror Factory”.

    Is it the media, which is well funded and fueled by a deliberate, massive propaganda and fear campaign against Islam and Muslims, as described in the “Fear, Inc.” think tank report among many other sources. Oh, yes, most definitely so.

    So how do all these fact logically make the Muslim community “collectively responsible” in any unique way for individual criminal acts vs. other communities in the U.S. where individual criminals are responsible for tens of thousands of murders each year? Are they collectively responsible for those murders too? Of course not, and neither should the Muslim community as a whole be responsible for terrorism in any way.

    You don’t realize it, but you scream how much you have been programmed by the media with comments like this: “THE BOMBERS WERE DRIVEN BY SOME STRANGE IDEA OF ISLAM.” Actually, no, they were driven by a purely political motive, as they themselves stated, with zero reference being made to Islamic doctrine. They only justified their act morally based on the universally ethical argument of self-defense, which is of course not at all unique to Islam.

    You say, “Asra Nomani is Muslim and she takes responsibility for violence committed in the name of her religion & fights against it.”

    Wrong, she promotes violence against Muslims by advocating that Muslims are collectively responsible for terrorism when they most certainly are not. Also, her idea of “takes responsibility” is implicating and apologizing on behalf of Islam for its supposed shortcomings in motivating terrorism. Her “fight” is against Islam, not for it. If her claims against Islam were true, then why I am still waiting on her to provide just ONE verse from the entire Quran that is in contradiction of Just War Theory? When is she going to grow up and join the debate instead of spouting fact-free claims like an intellectual juvenile and refusing to engage in informed challenges to her claims? Please do tell. I really don’t think the “progressive” thing to do is to bury your head in the sand like a dogmatic ostrich whenever your ideas are challenged. You might want to remind her of exactly what “being progressive” is all about, because she ain’t it.

  • Allan

    Everytime we Christians refer to God as “Our Father who art in Heaven” or “Heavenly Father” the Muslims have a fit. But if we question Islamic practice, we are Islamaphobic. Maybe if the Muslims were more tolerant of us, we could be more tolerant of them.

  • Khaugar

    HI Chameleon_X

    1) when you say ” Boston Bombers had “Purely political motive” you are kind of endorsing their acts. They are crazies had no basis for what they did.
    2) On being “brainwashed by Mass Media”.. I am basing my views that these terrorists were motivated by some twisted version of Islam based on their own Social Media & You Tube.

    No one is asking Muslims to take collective responsibility dude. We are asking Muslims to fight against those hijacking their beliefs ( like the boston Cowards) instead of playing victim & denying that most folks incl even neutral commentators are calling it a crime committed in the name of Islam.

    And as an outsider who observes all religions but is only spiritual and not religious : I think its alarming that so called moderates like Safi & you ( & most of the muslim community judging by this specific instance) are mad angry at Nomani but don’t feel the same level of anger against the boston Bombers ..& You actually are going so far to say “not our problem” ; FBI is the cause or their cause is political etc.

    Like I said the Muslim communities has the lowest number of true progressives. Please take a peek out of the Windows and study Nomani’s in Christianity or Hinduism & compare the numbers.

  • Zahid

    Dear Asra,

    Going through your comments, I could see you have been using the word ‘inshaAllah’ quite often now. Point made. Now that if the FBI start using your filter on languages, mails, comments etc., that might put you in trouble. The filter is usually as : if the words contain the word ‘inshaAllah’ >= 2, start spying on him/her. And there you go. Somebody might be knocking.

  • Chameleon_X


    You say, “[Y]ou are kind of endorsing their acts. They are crazies [and] had no basis for what they did.” Your rebuttal sounds like an extremely contorted ad hominem against me, as if I am not allowed to point out the obvious facts of the case supporting motive without being accused of somehow “endorsing their acts”. Are you kidding? As you stated, “they are crazies [and] had no basis for what they did”. I couldn’t agree more. Just because their motive was political and they morally justified this motive “in the name of self-defense” does not make it somehow correct. The crazy part, of course, is attacking innocents in the name of self-defense. Not only is this strictly forbidden in Islam, but it is simply not possible to “defend” against innocent people who are not even attacking you! The point is that their logic is sick, but the ethical principles of Just War Theory and Islam are not sick. There is no “version of Islam” that can possibly support terrorist acts, contrary to popular delusion.

    You state, “No one is asking Muslims to take collective responsibility dude.” Uh, did you not read Asra Nomani’s article? “Collective responsibility” of Muslims is her central mantra. Try reading it again one more time, including her summary of the article in her posted comments.

    You state, “[You] don’t feel the same level of anger against the boston Bombers ..& You actually are going so far to say “not our problem”. I think you missed my point. Hell, yes, I am mad at the Boston bombers for giving Islam a bad name, but the reason they are doing so has absolutely nothing to do with Islam or the Muslim community, as the facts show per my other posts. It has everything to do with the propaganda that Islam or some nefarious hate-nurturing community of Muslims and their network of secret terror cells is somehow responsible when that is definitely not the case. When your are actually ready to bring some data to the table to counter the mass of evidence pointing overwhelmingly to this conclusion, let me know. Until then, I will agree 100% with your assessment of my position that the Boston bombers are “not our problem” any more than they are your community’s problem. I am no more responsible for individual criminals acting flagrantly against my religion and my community’s values than you are responsible for mass murderers who are not Muslim, killing artificially in the name of some sacred ideal like “Self-Defense”, “Love”, “Freedom”, “Democracy”, “Security”, or “National Defense” that you also believe in. These ideals are not sick. The logic of unjust violence in their name is.

    You state, “Like I said the Muslim communities has the lowest number of true progressives.” This is just more fact-free opinion and therefore irrelevant. For fact-based conclusions to the contrary on this topic, I recommend that you look at surveys of Muslims, particularly by independent authorities. I can recommend a couple of books on this that I have read cover to cover: 1) Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billions Muslims Really Think (the largest poll of Muslims worldwide ever in history, by Gallup) and 2) Arab Voices (by Zogby, the leading survey authority on all Arab countries). There are some good polls on western Muslims out there that are even more relevant to the apples to apples “progressive” assessment, since you have to eliminate the geographic variable to isolate the effect of religion alone that you are claiming would show significantly less Muslims being “progressive”. I don’t recall the poll names, but I do recall that Muslims did not stand out statistically in a negative way from the general population in western countries in terms of “progressive” views.

    By the way, is it just me, or does it seem like the self-proclaimed “progressives” on this site have declared freedom from facts as a central tenet of their value system? If you are going to make sweeping claims, then please respect traditional values too by bringing the facts to go with them.

  • Zahid

    Dear Mike,
    Ms. Nomani cannot be a representative of Muslims on the basis of her name only. A representative of Muslims is a responsible person whose words and deeds reflect the Islam in its true glory. You have given quite a good suggestions to the sister, but the only concern is, does she really care about that? There is sometimes (most of the times) this ego which hinders a person’s self development. I pray this not be a case here. I too have something to share for Asra. Please convey to her in case she doesn’t get time to see this.
    Dear Ms. Nomani,
    You don’t always need to defend Islam if any other Muslim does any wrong. In US itself, there have been numerous instances of violence not done by Muslims in the past one year and nobody came forward to defend the religion to which the criminal belonged. Also as a matter of fact more Americans have reverted to Islam post 9/11 after studying about Islam. However, if your inner self, your work pressure or anything else makes you do so, then please get yourself aware of the beliefs of Islam. Start studying the religion you were born with from the religious teachers. Discuss with them what you feel about this or that particular thing in the religion. Why i say religious teachers because a doctor can cure a disease, a lawyer can help you in legal matters etc. same ways an expertise in Islam has a duty to impart the knowledge of Islam to the common folk. The authentic Islamic teachers spend most of their life studying religion under authentic teachers in Authentic Schools of religion called Darul Uloom(Institute of Knowledge). I pray Allah Almighty help you in your sincere efforts. Being humble helps adding to your knowledge and intellect.

    Warm regards

  • Omar

    The comment below is what I posted the other day. It was placed in another blog which apparently was not viewed.

    Omar Apr 30, 2013 at 12:56 am
    I agree with Ms. Nomani we have to fight the wrong concept of Jihad in our religion. Islam inculcates the love of humanity in our beliefs. Rather than warring other nations or groups we must live in harmony with them as indicated in our holy book, the Quran where it says that we are one nation of humans rather than tribes and sects indicated elsewhere, where the implication is that we are separate because of our jealosies for each other,
    The Quran also teaches us while we live on earth we will be subject to the wrath of our Creator if we disobey Him or the prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him. There is no compulsion in faith. If we fail to recognize the merit of the holy words of our Creator regarding these edicts our destination is hellfire in the hereafter.

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  • rayznack

    You don’t realize it, but you scream how much you have been programmed by the media with comments like this: “THE BOMBERS WERE DRIVEN BY SOME STRANGE IDEA OF ISLAM.” Actually, no, they were driven by a purely political motive, as they themselves stated, with zero reference being made to Islamic doctrine.

    What statements, by them, are you basing this on? Did they leave behind a manifesto you’ve read or perhaps you’re relying on snippets from news reports?

    Surely you’re not bothering to cite the elder brother’s YouTube channel with videos of Islamic extremists justifying the killing of non-Muslims on the basis of Islam’s texts and teachings.

    No, it’s better to ignore their religious zealotry and connections between their actions and a radical Islamic worldview.

    If her claims against Islam were true, then why I am still waiting on her to provide just ONE verse from the entire Quran that is in contradiction of Just War Theory?

    I’m so confused, mainly due to your deliberately fallacious argument. What are Asra’s claims about Islam and what are their relevance to Just War theory and the Koran?

    Anyway. Is the taking of slaves, booty, retaliation, expulsion, etc violate Just War theory? I’m pretty sure attacking non-Muslims to make them feel subdued certainly does.

    And last, but certainly my favorite: How about the command to kill enemies of Allah? Certainly that’s a scriptural loophole to justify killing almost anyone you could fly a 747 through.

  • rayznack

    You state, “Like I said the Muslim communities has the lowest number of true progressives.” This is just more fact-free opinion and therefore irrelevant. For fact-based conclusions to the contrary on this topic,

    Sure Goebbels. Whatever you need to tell yourself.

    Why don’t you bother reading polls showing overwhelming support for stoning, amputation, lashing and killing apostates in Jordan, Pakistan and Egypt and relatively strong support in Indonesia and even Turkey?

    Fiction writer, John Esposito, can cook the numbers in his books – deliberately re-classifying Muslims who somewhat or mostly support the 9/11 attacks as ‘moderates’ and have people parroting his fiction years after. I mean, he sure fooled you, didn’t he?

  • rayznack

    Did you know, for example, that Robert Spencer and his hate-spewing cohorts were cited at least 375 TIMES in Breivik’s manifesto explaining why he killed so many innocents in Norway to stop the “Islamization of Europe”.

    No I didn’t. Particularly since most of these so-called references were lifted from another writer Anders appropriated in his manifesto.

    But using your logic, what Osama bin Laden’s ratio of citing a Koranic/hadith/Islamic scholar per word compared with Breivik?

    Do you think you OBL was more likely to cite Islam’s texts and teachings more or less than Breivik was to cite Spencer?

    And you seem to shy away from what these citations of Spencer actually consisted of. Were they exhortations to violence and militancy like the Koran verses OBL cited?

    I’m sure you’ll now avoid this issue.

    Doesn’t it shock you at all that these terrorists are now citing YOU for their inspirations of hate and terror?

    Just wondering, but how many terrorists do you think have cited Noam Chomsky?

    and only 0.6% of all terrorist attacks in Europe (per Europol’s own data, including thwarted attacks)

    Europol’s data refers to the European Union and not Europe.

    You should probably know what you’re talking about before you spew your impenetrable verbal diarrhea.

    The vast majority of Europe’s terrorism deaths occur in Russia (>90% for most years). When you want to be taken seriously you can collate the data to provide a quantitative breakdown of attacks in that country.

  • ajsuhail


    Time to retire to the pavilion to use a cricketing term.You have once again been roundly and soundly exposed and this time in style by Omid. You are part of a trinity of Muslim baiters who simultaneously claim to belong to the community.The other being Zuhdi Jasser and Tarek Fatah.The overwhelming majority of Muslims has nothing but contempt for the three of you; perhaps the reason you take the easy route to fame by aligning yourselves with Islamophobes and other bigots.I suggest you stick to what you do best; write books on Tantric sex and not bother yourself with issues that you are unable to comprehend.

  • AJ

    Just found this article. I enjoyed it and agree wtih it. I was disappointed, however, that the author decided to take the name of Jesus in vain for, presumably, entertainment value. As I Christian, I would certainly never disrespect the name of Muhammad in this way and I wonder if we could reach a point of courtesy all around on such matters.

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