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Asra Q. Nomani

Georgetown University
Born in Bombay, India, in 1965 to a conservative Muslim family, Asra Q. Nomani grew up in Morgantown, W.V., becoming a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 15 years. After the 9/11 attacks, while on book leave, she went to Pakistan to report for Salon magazine. There, her colleague and friend Daniel Pearl was kidnapped while staying at her home in Karachi. In the face of the tragedy, she wrote, “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam,” in 2005, challenging intolerant, violent and sexist interpretations of Islam, earning her name-calling and death threats by some co-religionists. In January 2015, she wrote a widely circulated essay for the Washington Post Outlook section, arguing that an “honor brigade” of academics, bloggers, community leaders, political leaders and religious clerics, supported in part by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, uses accusations of “Islamophobia” to silence debate on Islam. Still hopeful, Nomani is editing a project to codify a new school of Islamic law, rejecting mainstream interpretations, including blasphemy laws, and espousing feminist, peaceful and liberal values, including free speech. She can be reached at asra@asranomani.com or @AsraNomani on Twitter and Facebook.

My Speakers Sessions

Sunday, October 30

10:30am PDT