Who are the real Islamophobes? via The U.S. Muslim Honor Brigade Strikes Again – The Daily Beast. h/t Islamist Watch.
By Asra Q. Nomani
In Wilmington, Delaware, students at the treasured Cab Calloway School of the Arts can join a club, “Free to Be You,” and they can call a hotline to report bullying. In my anti-bullying stand for free speech, I will host an after-school teach-in tomorrow, not far from the school at a coffee shop called (aptly) Brew HaHa! The dean of the school has cancelled a talk I was scheduled to deliver to students on peace between Pakistan and my native India after a local Pakistani man, Naveed Baqir—the founder of an ultraconservative mosque—smeared me, an Islamic feminist, as “Islamophobic.”
My new lesson to the kids: we must speak up with moral courage for the change we want to see in the world, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, India’s nonviolence leader.
Sadly, an “honor brigade,” or loose network of academics, activists, bloggers and others, defend the perceived “honor” of “true” Islam by silencing speech and calling reformers, like me, “anti-Muslim,” “House Muslims,” “native informants” and “Uncle Toms.” Last week on Twitter, I was called “Auntie Tom.”
My experience with the Delaware honor brigade emulates the politics, personalities and smears that make it so difficult to have honest conversation in too many Muslim communities around the world. Simple dynamics, like exhaustion and fear of controversy, put open debate at risk.
There are brave ones, whom I will meet tomorrow in Delaware, who stand up to bullying with courage. But, to our peril, with even well-meaning Americans, the casualty is a serious one: censorship.
Tunde Durosomo, another board member, wrote to his colleagues in the group, “The real victims are the 600+ students that are denied the opportunity to experience something different, to hear a different perspective, a different voice of Islam. How can we expect our youths, leaders of tomorrow, to have a balanced education and become free, critical thinkers when they are shielded from opposite ideas and thoughts that some may perceive as controversial or politically incorrect?
He added: “I am even more troubled by the fact that their schools, the citadels of learning, abdicated their responsibility in this regard by giving in to fear and intimidation.”
The targets of the ‘honor brigade’, on campuses from University of South Dakota to University of Michigan, have included films like Honor Diaries and American Sniper.
Earlier this month, Duke University cancelled a talk of mine after the Duke Muslim Students Association cited a Religion News Service blog, written two years ago by a Duke Islam professor, Omid Safi. The Muslim student group said Safi had “condemned” me for an alleged “alliance with Islamophobic speakers.” Anonymous websites like LoonWatch.com reposted the smear after Religion News Service pulled it. (I don’t have any “alliance.” As a journalist, I talk with everyone.) Duke re-invited me after I asked for evidence, expressing regret at the cancellation. Safi didn’t respond to a request for comment.
I am not “Islamophobic,” nor am I “anti-Muslim.” My father is Muslim. My mother is Muslim, and I am Muslim. But I also don’t live with my head buried in the sand. I am for honest threat assessments, public conversations and law enforcement strategies. And I am for critical conversations, not saving face, on the issue of Islamic extremism.
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
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