I’m a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant. I voted for Trump.

Asra Q. Nomani is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement.

A lot is being said now about the “silent secret Trump supporters.”

This is my confession — and explanation: I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman “of color” — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a “bigot,” “racist,” “chauvinist” or “white supremacist,” as Trump voters are being called, nor part of some “whitelash.”

In the winter of 2008, as a lifelong liberal and proud daughter of West Virginia, a state born on the correct side of history on slavery, I moved to historically conservative Virginia only because the state had helped elect Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States.

Tuesday evening, just minutes before the polls closed at Forestville Elementary School in mostly Democratic Fairfax County, I slipped between the cardboard partitions in the polling booth, a pen balanced carefully between my fingers, to mark my ballot for president, coloring in the circle beside the names of Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence.

Boston Marathon bombing suspects met 9/11 conspiracy theorist through mom’s health aide job

BOSTON — Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev befriended a brain-damaged anti-U.S. government conspiracy theorist through their mother’s health care aide job years before the deadly attack, a lawyer said Tuesday.

 

Attorney Jason Rosenberg, who represents the family of Donald Larking, said Larking shared publications with the brothers and discussed theories including that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting didn’t happen or the U.S. government was behind them.

 

The attorney said the Tsarnaev family had a relationship with the Larkings that started years ago when the brothers’ mother began working as a personal care assistant for Larking’s wife, a quadriplegic since birth.

 

Rosenberg said Larking, who lives in West Newton, just west of Boston, was shot in the head in 1974 in an attempted robbery while working in a convenience store. He said Larking suffered brain damage that led to problems with his decision-making and judgment.

 

The lawyer’s account first emerged in a Wall Street Journal article, which included Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s former landlady talking about publications that had been in his Cambridge apartment.

Landlady Joanna Herlihy told The Associated Press she salvaged publications after authorities had searched the apartment and items were discarded. She confirmed that among them were an Alabama-based publication that uses a Confederate flag on its website and a weekly publication that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls anti-Semitic.

 

Rosenberg said Tuesday he doesn’t think Larking helped the Tsarnaev brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia, formulate ideas but may have made them believe others felt as they did.

 

“(They) were seeing someone who was Caucasian and was born in America who was saying the same things,” the attorney said.

The brothers took Larking to their mosque, and he converted to Islam and still attends the mosque, Rosenberg said.

New details emerge of anti-Islam film’s mystery producer

The spotlight in the search for the creators of an incendiary video mocking Islam that set off a wave of anti-American violence in the Middle East shifted Thursday to a shadowy gas station owner with a record of criminal arrests and bankruptcy, who associates said expressed anti-Muslim sentiments as he pushed for the making of the film.

 

CNN initially reported that the man behind the “Innocence of Muslims” movie is likely not an “Israeli real estate developer” by the name of Sam Bacile, but instead as some speculated an Egyptian Copt by the name Abenob Nakoula Bassely.  There are still doubts about who Bacile actually is and as Israel has no knowledge of a citizen by the name of Sam Bacile.

At the heart of the mystery was the filmmaker himself, a man identified in the casting call as Sam Bassiel, on the call sheet as Sam Bassil and reported at first by news outlets as Sam Bacile.

But federal officials consider that man to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was convicted in 2009 of bank fraud.

 

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, the filmmaker characterized his movie, now called “Innocence of Muslims,” as “a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam.”

“The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer,” they said in a statement.

 

The filmmaker told the Wall Street Journal Jewish donors contributed $5 million to make the film. Based on the trailer, however, the amateurish movie appears to have been produced on a low budget.

Anti-Muslim activist Steve Klein, who said he was a script consultant for the movie, said the filmmaker told him his idea was to make a film that would reveal “facts, evidence and proof” about the Prophet Mohammed to people he perceived as radical Muslims.

Klein said the movie was called “Innocence of Bin Laden.”

Klein is known in Southern California for his vocal opposition to the construction of a mosque in Temecula, southeast of Los Angeles, in 2010. He heads up Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, a group that contends Islam is a threat to American freedom.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones to ask him to withdraw his support for the film, said Col. David Lapan, Dempsey’s spokesman.

Leaders of the Coptic Church in the United States, after a fringe figure claiming to be a Coptic leader was linked Wednesday to promoting the film, forcefully denounced the video and denied any connection to the activists who promoted the trailer. They said they learned of the film only with news of the protests.

Canadian Irshad Manji releases new book

News Agencies – June 10, 2011

 

Canadian author Irshad Manji writes in her new work, Allah, Liberty & Love, that she has moved from “anger to aspiration.” A rallying cry to readers to question orthodoxy without fear, the book concludes with the suggestion they get together to trade ideas. Manji even includes a recipe for chai tea to fuel such discussions. Anger was at the centre of The Trouble with Islam, her 2003 worldwide bestseller decrying her own religion’s entrenched prejudice against Jews and injustice toward women. The book earned her many fans but also hate mail, pinched-face cranks calling her the daughter of Satan, and even a smiling man who leaned in to shake her hand but instead spat in her face.

 

Manji now lives in a book-filled apartment — she calls it her Manji cave — in New York’s Greenwich Village, where she moved in 2008 to launch the Moral Courage Project at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. In the course, she encourages students to “challenge intellectual conformity and self-censorship.” A regular on Bill Maher’s late-night HBO show — the audience cheers when she comes on the set — and on the networks MSNBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Al Arabyia and, occasionally, FOX, she’s seen all over America and around the world. Manji writes twice monthly for The Globe and Mail, and contributes to The New York Times op-ed page and The Wall Street Journal.

Despite Manji’s wide audience in the U.S., her work has not resonated in parts of Canada’s mainstream Muslim community. “I don’t know why, but there seems to be little mention of Irshad in Muslim circles in Canada,” says Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

 

Aftermath and Consequences

“On May 1st, New York’s Times Square was the target of a failed terrorist attack. In the extensive coverage of the incident, you will find the timeline of the incident leading to the arrest of the suspect right before he scarped the country. The coverage will also include the news following the arrest, the charges against the suspect and the debate around the suspect’s Miranda rights. It will review some of  the immediate consequences of the incident including debates about the effectiveness of the no-fly list, the heightened security measures in NYC and potential effects of the incident on US foreign policy. International dimensions of the incident in linkage to Pakistani Taliban as well as the coverage by Pakistani sources have also been included. Finally, a collection of links related to the suspect’s background is available.”

USA Today: Pakistani-Americans’ “Worst Fear”
Associated Press via CNN, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal: Questions about the No-Fly List
Associated Press via CNN and The New York Time: On Terror-Watch List Individuals Buying Gun
Associated Press via CNN and MSNBC: Bill aiming at Stripping Certain Americans of Their Citizenship
CNN: Tightening Security Measures at East Coast Airports
Associated Press via The New York Time and La Times: Extra Security Measures
Associated Press via ABC, CBS News, USA Today: Abandoned Truck Forces NYC Bridge Shutdown
Associated Press via ABC 4, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post: Police Investigates a Suspicious Package
MSNBC: Petraeus on the “New Generation of Terror”
Huston Chronicle: Petraeus: Suspect Likely Acted Alone
USA Today: Potential Effects on US Foreign Policy

Wilders: Champion of freedom or anti-Islamic provocateur? Both.

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at Geert Wilders, controversial Dutch lawmaker and creator of the inflammatory anti-Islam film ‘Fitna.’ It examines the dualistic conceptions of Wilders – as an advocate of free speech and secular values, or an anti-Islam and anti-Muslim provocateur. While Wilders acknowledges that the majority of Muslims in the West are not terrorist or violent people, he believes this “doesn’t matter that much” because Muslims in America and Europe are mostly immigrants, and are unable to leave their own cultures behind, which results in a loss of European and national identity and culture. More about the recent debates about Islam and Muslims in the Netherlands, with particular interest to Mr. Wilders, can be read at the link below.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)

CAIR Welcomes GOP Call for Resignation of Anti-Muslim Leader

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed a resignation call by the New Mexico Republican party concerning local GOP leader Marcia Stirman, who wrote that Barack Obama is “a Muslim socialist” and “Muslims are our enemies” in a recent letter.

A party official said that Ms. Stirman’s statements do not speak for the Republican party. A CAIR executive said that the group welcomed the response and criticism of “Ms. Stirman’s disturbing and un-American views,” saying that “no political party should accept or excuse religious intolerance.”

See full text articles:

Wall Street Journal

CAIR

Denver Post

United Press International

Market Watch

At rally, McCain refutes that Obama is Arab, says he is decent

At a recent town-hall style rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain refuted comments from a rally attendee, who told the senator that she could not trust Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama, because he was “an Arab.” McCain responded saying, shaking his head on the false accusation, and told voters that Obama was “a decent person” and a “family many.” While McCain was booed for his intended defense of Obama, others have condemned McCain’s response for being insensitive to Arab Americans and others who expressed that there is not disparity between being Arab, and being decent. The racist remarks from the rally attendee is another in a seeming trend of racism, bigotry, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab comments made against the Christian Barack Obama.

See full-text articles:

New York Times

Washington Post

Wall Street Journal

BBC

Reuters

CNN

Controversy Over Novel About Muhammad’s Bride Continues

U.S. publishing company Random House will not publish a planned novel by Sherry Jones, called “The Jewel of Medina,” that was expected to hit stores on August 12th. The Islamically-themed novel explores Aisha, the child bride of the prophet Muhammad, who overcame a number of obstacles to reach her potential as a revered woman and leader in Islam. Random House said that it has been advised that the fictional novel, might be offensive to some Muslims, and “could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” “The Jewel of Medina” traces the life of Aisha, who is often cited to have been Muhammad’s favorite wife, and is believed to have been engaged to the prophet from the age of six. Muslim writer and feminist Asra Nomani published a column in the Wall Street Journal, saying that she was “saddened” by the book’s scrapping, saying that the move is “a window into how quickly fear stunts intelligent discourse about the Muslim world.” Others, including Denise Spellberg, a professor from the University of Texas in Austin, said that the book was “ugly,” “stupid,” and was “soft core pornography.” The decision to indefinitely delay the novel’s release was made in consideration for the safety of the author, employees of the publisher, booksellers, and others involved in the distribution or sale of the novel.

See full-text articles:

Chronicle of Higher Education

Washington Post

The Guardian

United Press International

BBC

The Telegraph