Asra Nomani responded to my article with the following message:
Thanks for the time that you spent discussing the ideas that I’ve presented in my writings. I see that there are many differences of opinion with readers of this site, but, nonetheless, I appreciate the conversation.
It’s interesting to me how often readers of this site use the term “whore” to describe me, and I’m sorry that so many of you feel such anger. I understand that many of these issues from religion to intimacy are sensitive ones.
I would gently say to you that many of the assumptions that are made here are, I understand, an effort by some folks to make sense of ideas with which you don’t agree. Sometimes the truth is a lot less sensational. I’m not self-hating. I’m not gaining riches, and, as a journalist, I can tell you that the “fame” of a TV appearance here or there is most certainly fleeting.
I sincerely care about how Islam expresses itself in the world, and I care about our world. We may differ in opinion, but I would also gently suggest to you that, while anger and insults may be an authentic expression of your frustration, I do wish for all of us a day when we can be in more civil conversation.
If anyone would like to personally write to me, I invite you to do so at asra(a)asranomani.com.
Otherwise, I wish all of you well.
My response is follows:
Dear Ms. Nomani,
You are certainly correct in stating that “civil conversation” is important. However, I’d like to raise a few points with regard to this:
1) It should be understood that this is the internet, and people tend to “say” things with less inhibitions than they would in the “real” world. I myself have been called horrendous things on the internet. Hence, the “colorful” language in the comments section needs to be understood in this context and as a product of this phenomenon. I did not–and neither did any LoonWatch writer–refer to you as a “whore”. Neither do we endorse such language. As a progressive, I cannot condone the use of such a misogynistic word that is often hurled at women. As for the few Muslim users who used this term, they ought to be reminded that in their faith the levying of such a charge is considered strictly prohibited (see Quran, 24:23).
2) At the same time, I suspect that you will transform this into another piece of evidence against “the Muslims”, as if Muslims alone hurl such insults. Yet, female personalities of all creeds are routinely called “whores” by random people (ever seen the comments on YouTube!?). This is very unfortunate, but it is not a Muslim-specific issue. But I’m sure you will make this all part of your anti-Muslim paradigm. You might also feel the urge to boast about the insults you have received here, as you did with the “Uncle Tom” label in your article on profiling, and as Robert Spencer (your fan and loyal supporter) does with the e-death threat he supposedly received on some random forum (he put the quote on the cover of his book, just as the Uncle Tom quote was highlighted in your article).
3) My own article was not nearly as “courteous” as your reply was. But let’s be real for a second: my reply was at least more honest. Your reply, on the other hand, is disingenuous (and as lame as Mr. Rogers). “Dear Friends.” Are we really your friends? “Thanks for the time you spent discussing the ideas that I’ve presented in my writings.” Am I to believe you are actually thankful for the article we wrote about/against you? C’mon, can’t we be real for a second? We’ve accused you in our article of being a fake, not the real thing…and here you reply exactly that way: in a fake way. You certainly could have responded in a courteous manner without being so blatantly fake, but I guess fake comes easier to some people than others.
4) You said: “Sometimes the truth is a lot less sensational.” Ahhh, if only you yourself understood this point. You (and the right-wing loons who agree with you) sensationalize everything about Muslims and Islam. Instead of having serious and nuanced discussion about Muslims and Islam, you engage in sensationalism and fear-mongering.
5) While it may be commendable to respond with courtesy (although in your case I think it is simply an act), it should be noted that some very vile people make sure to respond to critics courteously. For example, David Duke oftentimes sounds like an absolute gentleman, but his ideas are vile. Even Robert Spencer attempts to portray himself in this way. It is not simply the way in which a person responds that matters, but more importantly what they believe and say. In your case, your ideas are horrendous, not the manner in which you deliver them. You are not the “liberal and progressive” you pretend to be; you are a right-winger just like the people who you admire and/or who admire you, including Robert Spencer, Wafa Sultan, etc.
6) On that note, you should be proud that the anti-Muslim website BareNakedIslam has come to your swift defense. That vitriolic website responded with a post entitled LEFT WING LOONIES hating on a Muslim woman who most Americans would love. They praise you as “a one in a billion Muslim author.” On the very same page, they are selling shirts saying “War on Terror Islam” and “Infidel” and links saying stuff like “Islam’s Rules for Having Sex with Animals”, etc. The site boasts a logo that reads “Proud Right Wing Extremist.” If you are really a “liberal and progressive” Muslim as you pretend, then why is a “proud right wing extremist” infatuated with you? You are in fact honored on their page entitled Pro-America Muslims, with such ex-Muslim luminaries as Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc. Why care what we at LoonWatch think about you when you have such a great fan base at BareNakedIslam and JihadWatch?
7) You have offered the opportunity for readers to write personally to you via email. This makes it appear as though you are one who is willing to discuss your views. Yet, your response is completely devoid of substance. You have not responded to a single one of my arguments. If you think that my article is not worthy of response, then why go through the charade of offering to respond to people privately? Surely if you have the time to respond to people individually, you then should have the time to respond to our site. Once again, this is all mere posturing.
You seem to enjoy being interviewed on the “Fair and Balanced” Fox “News” channel. Why not speak with us and actually field some critical questions for once?
Warmly, Lovingly, and Cherishingly,