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Asra Nomani in The Daily Beast: Spy on White People

(cross-posted from avari)

By Haroon Moghul

So, Asra Nomani writes an(other) embarrasing example of self-hatred for The Daily Beast, applauding law enforcement’s apparent targeting of Muslims throughout the Greater New York City area. Her essay is riddled with simple errors, clear misperceptions of how law and constitutionalism function, an inability to process profiling, and some faulty logic, perhaps the finest instance of which is here:

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.

The first part of her sentence, about Colombians, is actually right on (by her silly logic); the second part contradicts her own logic (she can call for profiling some Latinos, but she doesn’t have the courage to apply her racializing logic to white America), and everything after “I believe” speaks to how little Asra actually knows anything about the Muslim community, as well as the several seconds of your life which you could have done something better with.For law enforcement to go after white extremism the way it seems to be going after Muslims (at least, with respect to the NYPD), they wouldn’t be going after the KKK, as Asra suggests–unless Asra means to suggest that Muslim student organizations at Yale and UPenn are offshoots of al Qaeda. Law enforcement would instead have to spy on as many white institutions (churches, civic clubs, student organizations, etc.) as they could.

Because, of course, by Asra’s article’s painful logic, a person’s whiteness is a sufficiently significant lead to get law enforcement to pay attention to him, just as a Muslim institution is, on the grounds of its Muslimness, a target of suspicion sufficient to merit law enforcement’s full attention. This is a point Amy Davidson made far more succinctly in an excellent post at The New Yorker:

There is a difference between chasing clues and treating Islam, in and of itself, as a lead.

Does Asra mean to suggest we should be spying on white folks indiscriminately, because they, like the KKK, are white? Should we spy on white Muslims twice, since they are white and Muslim, and so somehow become extremists that hate themselves. I spoke about this issue on a far more relevant basis to Welton Gaddy of State of Belief Radio.

By the way, I’ll be at Fordham’s Manhattan campus today (Monday, March 5th), speaking about the long history of Islam and especially Islam in America. It’s free, and I’ll try to make it fun, educational, and enlightening. We’ll be starting at 6pm at Fordham’s South Lounge inside 113 West 60th Street, right off Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The event ends at 8pm.

Haroon Moghul is a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He is an Associate Editor and columnist at Religion Dispatches and writes for the Huffington Post.

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  • http://thepenofawanderingstranger.com/personal/ Jack Cope

    I reread Robin’s post this morning when I wasn’t so sleepy. As Just Stopping By has pointed out… which history book is he using?

    Yes, there has always been a battle between clerics of all faiths and science. Ask Galileo and Copernicus! Who both, might I add, used Muslim texts and developments to come up with their theories which were already established in the Muslim world.

    So yes, there is always that battle in all faiths, even today. That doesn’t mean that the faith is against science, just that certain people are. Normally for power and control, isn’t is always…

    It is also wrong that Islam claims to have all the knowledge of the world. No such claim exists, where do you get it?

  • Robin

    @ khushboo

    MSA student’s organization – should have a little privacy to get on with the Muslim Brotherhood business perhaps!!

    To be fair MSA is officially listed as a MB organization – the founder of MB was also a student in the US, back in the 50’s, with Elvis, bobby socks and hair slicked to the sides!!

    He was so shocked at the success of this non-Muslim country – he called it decadent and said that it needed to be destroyed – and of course this was to build an Islamic society over that.

    [Rather than 'destroy' a more moderate term used is a 'civilization alternative' or to replace western society.]

    Which is what groups like the Muslim Brotherhood focus on – this kind of background political influence – until like in Egypt they can take the whole country.

    So they are happy to work behind the scenes to influence politicians – to what would be the ultimate aim an Islamic state. But this is at first a collection of laws and policies, and they try to place their members in positions to influence them as best they can.

    Here is a great article explaining a little bit about how the Muslim Brotherhood work in Europe – Radio Netherlands [Left-leaning]
    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/muslim-brothers-gain-influence-europe

    ::

    Anwar Awalaki was not at all ‘loco’ – and that is what made him so dangerous. He knew the Koran and Hadiths both chapter and verse – in Arabic and English. He got otherwise sane men to do crazy things – so there is a difference.

    ::

    There was another Islamic student union leader – in Wales who was also arrested on terrorism charges.

    Some pretty ‘radical’ speeches get held at these places.

    Regardless of what his father thought, the Underwear Bomber was willing to carry out this act – and by his own testimony – he did it in the name of his God.

    Hence the police /security issue.

  • khushboo

    It is well documented that all aspects of these militias lives were monitored”

    Again, you mention “militias” which means a good cause to monitor, not just regular white folks.

    “As for students unions – the Underpants Bomber – was head of the Islamic student union for his university in London, UK. Several other Islamic student union leaders – have posed threats – and been imprisoned”

    I’M SO SICK OF THE UNDERWEAR BOMBER EXAMPLE USED EVERY SINGLE TIME! It’s been stated many times that his father was the one who tipped the investigators on his own son! and guess what? He’s a Muslim too but somehow you guys ignore that fact! and what does that have to do with MSA students in the Northeast part of the US unless there’s a good REASON?? Every MSA in every college is different. It’s just a way to get Muslim students together for social and religious reasons.

    Please show me proof of the alleged “several students” who were arrested. Were they let go?

    Anwar Awalaki was an MSA student that should’ve been tried for threats made since he was a US citizen, not killed as a terrorist! Just because he was loco doesn’t give anyone the right to think all MSA students are the same or have their privacy trampled on. This is insane!

  • Ilisha

    @Robin

    “It was the writer ‘Haroon Moghul’ who I was referring to as a Muslim – who was acting to protect his faith…over protecting the wider public.”

    Haroon Moghul didn’t argue that his faith should be protected at the expense of the wider public.

    No one is suggesting public safety should be sacrificed. Indiscriminate spying on Muslims actually hinders legitimate investigations:

    FBI Head Michael Ward Says NYPD Spying In New Jersey Is Hurting Joint Terrorism Task Force
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/fbi-head-michael-ward-says-nypd_n_1327240.html

    Also, you have expressed an appreciation for the American legal system and the idea of individual liberties. Indiscriminate spying on American citizens–whether they are Muslim or not–infringes on the civil liberties you presumably cherish:

    Spying on First Amendment Activity – State-by-State
    http://www.aclu.org/maps/spying-first-amendment-activity-state-state

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Robin,

    You wrote,
    ————————————————————————
    “Southern Poverty Law Center” they’re the new God on the street – what they say goes!!

    Only faith is required with them and not evidence!!
    ————————————————————————

    No, that’s not true, they back up everything they say with evidence from reputable sources, unlike websites like Jihad Watch which you probably rely upon.

    You wrote,
    ————————————————————————-
    ACLU – do some good work – but I don’t know – are they going to start holding Koran lessons soon – to let people know what is and is not okay to say about Islam!

    For the ACLU – Native Arab speakers who have left Islam – will automatically go in to the racist Islamophobe category – and for the others ACLU will decide how to categorize them later!!
    ————————————————————————-

    What? Seriously? You didn’t answer my question. Instead, you basically just told us that the ACLU is determined to label anyone critical of Islam as a racist. Why would the ACLU do that? Also, why would the ACLU not care if Muslims fanatics had orchestrated a massive conspiracy to replace the united states constitution with their interpretation of sharia? Don’t you think they would care if that conspiracy was succeeding? The ACLU is a civil rights organization. You don’t think they’d care if Muslim fanatics posed a threat to the constitution of the United States?

    Also, I actually know of some former Muslims who for the most part are actually pretty good opponents of anti Muslim bigotry. Here’s one example for you. You’ve probably never heard of Heina Dadabhoy.

    When The Feared Have the Most to Fear
    http://skepchick.org/2012/01/fearmongering/

    The Myth of the Muslim Monolith
    http://skepchick.org/2012/02/the-myth-of-the-muslim-monolith/

    Her view of Islam may not be entirely positive, but try getting Heina to support someone like Robert Spencer. It won’t happen. Despite having abandoned her faith, she has not embraced anti Muslim bigotry, and she does not view Islam or Muslims in black and white terms. She’s too good of a skeptic for that. She’s also not going to be labeled an Islamophobe by the ACLU or liberals. Heck, Loon Watch wouldn’t label her an Islamophobe either.

    You wrote,
    ————————————————————————–
    It was the writer ‘Haroon Moghul’ who I was referring to as a Muslim – who was acting to protect his faith [which he would know is not entirely peaceful- as is claimed], over protecting the wider public.

    Its kind of like saying ‘Moghul’, is putting his personal feelings first – and perhaps has lost his objectivity on the matter.

    Some innocents will get spied on – that’s inevitable.
    ————————————————————————-

    And since you have yet to show us that there really is a significant threat, why should we do any spying at all, especially given the fact that there are going to be innocent people spied upon?

    You wrote,
    ————————————————————————-
    Shari’a law is not a conspiracy – for many in the Islamic community it is a religious duty –

    they believe that it is a religious duty to implement the Shari’a or god’s law – as the law of the land.

    It’s not that they are bad people for wanting to do this.

    Many believe that the whole earth should one day be run under god’s law – instead of man’s law.
    ————————————————————————–
    Okay, what percentage of Muslims living in the west want to replace secular governments with their interpretation of sharia?

    According to Yellow Stars, most Muslims in the west support secular governments and they site a lot of credible sources.

    Islamification Myth
    http://yellow-stars.com/blog/islamification-myth/

    ————————————————————————–
    Fine – you argue they just want a few laws – but these 1, 2 or 3 laws are ‘religious based’ and not ‘rights based’.

    So that under US law – your individual rights would be given priority – as it uses ‘rights based laws’

    But under Sharia Law – the religion would be given priority – as it uses ‘religious based laws’.
    [See Cairo Declaration of Human Rights versus Universal Human Rights Declaration]
    ————————————————————————

    And seriously, what makes you think that we would just let Muslims living in the US put their religious laws over the United States constitution? What makes you think that the supreme court would rule in favor of sharia when there’s a conflict between it and the constitution?

    You Wrote,
    ————————————————————————–
    Fine – if this is about governing people who want to be governed by it – what can we say.

    Except these laws also include – how to deal with others – as before those who abide by the religion are given priority under the law – say versus those who choose to practise the Baha’i faith, for ex, are granted significantly less rights under these laws.

    It’s not that everything about Islamic law is entirely problematic and bad – but it has passed its sell-by date and freedom under the rights based laws – that protect individual rights – are so so much better. They are user friendly!! Anybody can use them!
    ————————————————————————–

    You still haven’t proven that the threat you speak of exists. Plus people in the west are not going to just let Muslims ignore our laws when they don’t like them.

    You wrote,
    ————————————————————————–
    We are talking on a computer – we did not have to ask a religious cleric for permission to invent such an idea – it did not have to passed through the Holy book – we just straight up invented it.

    This is kind of like how we would like to keep it!!
    ————————————————————————–

    Again, where is the threat that you speak of? I don’t see it. You only see it because you have convinced yourself it exists. Actually Examine the evidence, all of the evidence, it is not there.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Robin says, “Greek philosophy for example was not translated – because it involved the use of reason and logic – something thought to be against Islam ..”

    Yes, that would be an interesting reason to oppose Islam … if it were true.

    Wikipedia says (and I know this general history from other sources but Wikipedia is just convenient), “During the Middle Ages, Greek ideas were largely forgotten in Western Europe. With the fall of Rome, very few people in the West were left who knew how to read Greek. The Islamic Abbasid caliphs gathered the manuscripts and hired translators to increase their prestige. Islamic philosophers such as Al-Kindi (Alkindus), Al-Farabi (Alpharabius), Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd) reinterpreted Greek philosophies in the context of their religion. Their interpretations were later transmitted to the Europeans in the High Middle Ages, when Greek philosophies re-entered the West through translations from Arabic to Latin. The re-introduction of these philosophies, combined with the new Arabic commentaries, had a great influence on Medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_philosophy

    Since your conclusion on this was based on incorrect information, Robin, I assume that now that I have provided the correct information, you will reverse your view. After all, that is what reason and logic dictate, do they not? If you won’t reverse your view, then just admit that your bias against Islam is not based on facts and we can agree to disagree.

  • http://thepenofawanderingstranger.com/personal/ Jack Cope

    Robin;

    What you tell of Islam is your own opinion of it, based on I trust the opinions of persons who have ‘left Islam’. I have yet to find a singly ‘ex-Muslim’ who knows his or her stuff when it comes to what Islam is about. Again, its your opinion, not mine, and I can back mine up. Can you do the same for yours?

  • Robin

    @ Just Stopping By

    Halacha would be Jewish law – one of the things the Pope talked about was the ability to rationalize and reason. The two things Islam has huge issues with.

    You can look on the web – there are campaigns from high-clerics particularly out of Malaysia and Iran – warning Muslims about – ‘free thought’ – they say is a ‘western invention’

    The state of Israel regularly puts forth invention – like every other free sate bring their ideas to the market – and have a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes in comparison to Islamic nations put together.

    To look at ‘free thought’ we have to look Galileo and the church – his house arrest and his challenging established Christian doctrine.

    Once the Muslim Turks conquered the Greek/Constantinople area – the ancient Greek manuscripts were translated into Arabic – with this there was a renaissance of knowledge in the Muslim world – but only up to a point – and that was where the knowledge did not conflict with Islam.

    Greek philosophy for example was not translated – because it involved the use of reason and logic – something thought to be against Islam – which had all knowledge, instruction laid out in it. But some of the thinkers in Persia wanted to continue the astronomy/astrological tradition – but needed special permission – and not long after the observatory fell to ruin – on Islam’s take over. There was an Arab inventor of optics – the clerics throw his invention in the sand and called it atheist – [his or others labs were burnt out] – and work forcibly discontinued – yet his work is still revered in the field of optic in Europe today.

    What was seen in Moor’s Spain – which Muslims brag about now – was seen then – by the Arab Muslims as un-Islamic.

    In Europe in particular there is already pressure to moderate things in accordance with Islam – for now its mainly art, a Shakespeare play or books.

    ::

    The difference with western concepts and Islam’s is that the west has talked extensively about where they had gone wrong – what in the past people done and they felt could have been done better or not at all – Islam and Muslims largely have not gone through this process – that would be to criticize Islam – [they may have to call themselves Islamophobes].

    Because without self-examination – they are repeating the same mistakes over and over – now the big concept is to go against ‘freedom of thought’ that all thought should instead be made ‘Islamic’.

    Freedom of thought is a huge concept – the Arabian guy doing the optics lenses – the Wright Brothers – Steve Jobs – Thomas Edison – all used it. But notice there is a huge gap in these names coming from the Arabia region [now Islamic controlled] or anywhere else under Islamic control – and you have to ask why.

    ::

    Read the press – how many Muslim states or religious authorities in them – have tried to ban facebook. A social network of this sort – would have needed permission from the Islamic clerics – of which permission would not have been granted – if the clerics understood it at all.

    The Wright Brothers ideas could not have been understood by a cleric – versed in ancient script – even they did not understand it – there was the vision and finding their way to it.

    We must with respect ask the clerics to remain in the mosques.

    We want to keep both freedom of rights and freedom of thought.

    Heck why can’t Muslims have this too – in their countries!!

  • Just Stopping By

    @Robin: “We are talking on a computer – we did not have to ask a religious cleric for permission to invent such an idea – it did not have to passed through the Holy book – we just straight up invented it. This is kind of like how we would like to keep it!!”

    So, your fear of shari’a law is based in part on concern that it would ban inventions like computers? I assume you’ll cut back on your objections if told that inventions like a computer would not be against shari’a law.

    Even under halacha, you can create computers that work 24/6. ;-)

  • Robin

    @ CriticalDragon1177

    “Southern Poverty Law Center” they’re the new God on the street – what they say goes!!

    Only faith is required with them and not evidence!!

    ACLU – do some good work – but I don’t know – are they going to start holding Koran lessons soon – to let people know what is and is not okay to say about Islam!

    For the ACLU – Native Arab speakers who have left Islam – will automatically go in to the racist Islamophobe category – and for the others ACLU will decide how to categorize them later!!

    ::

    It was the writer ‘Haroon Moghul’ who I was referring to as a Muslim – who was acting to protect his faith [which he would know is not entirely peaceful- as is claimed], over protecting the wider public.

    Its kind of like saying ‘Moghul’, is putting his personal feelings first – and perhaps has lost his objectivity on the matter.

    Some innocents will get spied on – that’s inevitable.

    ::

    Shari’a law is not a conspiracy – for many in the Islamic community it is a religious duty –

    they believe that it is a religious duty to implement the Shari’a or god’s law – as the law of the land.

    It’s not that they are bad people for wanting to do this.

    Many believe that the whole earth should one day be run under god’s law – instead of man’s law.

    Fine – you argue they just want a few laws – but these 1, 2 or 3 laws are ‘religious based’ and not ‘rights based’.

    So that under US law – your individual rights would be given priority – as it uses ‘rights based laws’

    But under Sharia Law – the religion would be given priority – as it uses ‘religious based laws’.
    [See Cairo Declaration of Human Rights versus Universal Human Rights Declaration]

    Fine – if this is about governing people who want to be governed by it – what can we say.

    Except these laws also include – how to deal with others – as before those who abide by the religion are given priority under the law – say versus those who choose to practise the Baha’i faith, for ex, are granted significantly less rights under these laws.

    It’s not that everything about Islamic law is entirely problematic and bad – but it has passed its sell-by date and freedom under the rights based laws – that protect individual rights – are so so much better. They are user friendly!! Anybody can use them!

    We are talking on a computer – we did not have to ask a religious cleric for permission to invent such an idea – it did not have to passed through the Holy book – we just straight up invented it.

    This is kind of like how we would like to keep it!!

  • Robin

    @ khushboo

    It is well documented that all aspects of these militias lives were monitored – to find more proof there was one case where an FBI [or other undercover agent] was a part of a murder or attack on another. The undercover agent was there all the time – and so there was questions about whether or not he should have blown his cover.

    As for students unions – the Underpants Bomber – was head of the Islamic student union for his university in London, UK. Several other Islamic student union leaders – have posed threats – and been imprisoned.

    Try to read more of the news – and perhaps what some other people might be saying – that are perhaps called Loons!!

  • mp11

    It looks like Robert Spencer has moved to the next step of his programme: shedding the “useful idiots” (aka the moderate muslims who pander to the anti-muslim movement) which includes Asra:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/03/muslim-journalist-the-truth-is-we-do-have-a-problem-in-our-muslim-community.html

    For RS it no matters whether “whether or not one or two Muslims can be found who say the right things.”

    I predict that the next group to be thrown under the bus will be the ex-muslims (at least those that dont support his genocidal agenda)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Robin,

    Its not the same thing. Most of those militia groups posed a threat. Some of them were even affiliated with terrorist organizations like the KKK and Aryan Nations. Contrary to what people will tell you in the “anti Jihad” movement, most Muslims and Muslim organizations in the United States, do not pose a threat, and few of them are working to overthrow the US government. Also, I’m not a Muslim. I repeat, I am not a Muslim, and neither are a lot of the people here. You really think that were all Muslims simply trying to protect our faith? You just assumed that we were.

    Also please explain to me why anti bigotry and civil liberties groups like the ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center, and even the ADL all oppose this? Also why are they so much more worried about anti Muslim bigotry, than any stealth jihad?

    Spying Eyes Are An Affront to the Constitution and the Rights of American Muslims
    http://www.aclutx.org/2005/12/26/spying-eyes-are-an-affront-to-the-constitution-and-the-rights-of-american-muslims/

    Jihad Against Islam
    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2011/summer/jihad-against-islam

    ADL Backgrounder: Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Bigotry in the United States
    http://www.adl.org/Civil_Rights/ADL-Backgrounder-on-Muslim-Bigotry.pdf

    You can’t just claim that they don’t know any better, and you can’t resort to a conspiracy theory. Far too many of the people who support those groups as well as the people running them, would have nothing to gain, and too much to loose if there really was a stealth jihad of any kind. Also every time you resort to an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, you just give us less reason to believe.

  • khushboo

    Robin, you said “white Militia groups” but what about regular white folks who did nothing wrong. Were they spied on while they were in college or praying at their churches or swimming at their country clubs?? If so, please find me proof because there was nothing like this in the news so stop the BSing! Also, was there a white radicalization hearing like the one Peter King has for Muslims. This is all to justify the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims due to wars. You’re falling for their propaganda! Get out of that bubble Robin and join the real sane world!

  • Robin

    Just trash talking!!

    After the Oklahoma bombing – the White militia groups – were infiltrated and spied on.

    The ‘Haroon Moghul’ character – seems to suggest – that everyone aught to believe Islam means peace – [or else what?]

    But what if you were a Muslim and were taught something very different…

    ::

    Then it is clear – your aim is to protect your faith!!

    Asra Nomani’s aim is to protect the wider public – [in case some of those theories end up as practise]

    Stop BSing all these people!!

  • MANOJ KUMAR

    I feel Asra is a delusional lady who keep on writing stupid things and i am sure she has spent her time in college making white boyfriends rather than studying hard.There is apparent lacunae in the content of her writing.How can she have sympathy for an opportunist like Wafa sultan who advocates nuking muslim lands.I read her article “My big fat muslim wedding” and could not understand what point she wanted to make.Perhaps she was feeding to the oriental fantasy for the muslim women which is quite huge in a country like india and manifested in communal riots or she was altogether challenging the libido of muslim men.Even when you read her book “Standing alone in Mecca”,you find her to be a victim of self hatred and some time racist toward her fellow muslims,like she indirectly wanted to say something of that kind for Arabs. Reading her book, i could recognize that she got her self defeating attitude from her mother.Her father appeared to be a gentle man

  • Ali

    > Asra Nomani to TSA – profile me! pat me!
    > Asra Nomani to NYPD – profile me! spy on me!

    > I am sure there is a psychological term for such behavior!

    @Syed

    Stockholm syndrome?

  • Ahmed

    With Muslims like Nomani, who needs [Non-Muslim] Islamophobes?

  • Can’t stop laughing at ‘em

    Is Asra admitting to advocating brazen shamelessness?

    Check out the diverse of her “Islamic” lifestyle ;-)

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 16.69

    Mohamamud
    Its called politicitis . Very common around election time alas ;-)

  • Mohamud

    She has this rather frustrating habit of dodging substantive questions.

    I’m sure there is a term for this behaviour.

  • Danios

    Let’s not make this into a religious debate.

  • khushboo

    Thank you kindly for your response Asra. May I gently suggest that you look deep inside your heart and ask yourself if what you’re doing is really the right thing? Sorry but there is no “diversity of interpretation” when it comes to making changes to the Quran since we believe it to be the words of God. I don’t agree with your assumption there.

    Do you believe in heaven? or is that something only some Muslims believe in? Life is short behen gee. Money and material goods will not do us any good when we die. It’s not too late to ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and make amends for selling out to the loons. For that, sharam ani chaheeyay and that’s just my opinion not everyone else’s.

    warmly,

    your choti behen

  • DrM

    @Nomani

    I think everyone’s done a fine job showing that you have no standing or credibility in the Muslim community. Your “arguments” have more holes then Swiss cheese. You just repeat yourself like a broken record. What is this nonsense about “interpretations” when a Muslim child has more knowledge on Islam then you? I remember very clearly when I took your BS on at AltMuslim back in 2005, and you made up a sock account and indulged in some rather childish and vulgar “discourse.” When you’re no milking Daniel Pearl’s murder, you’re earning your neocon knee pads lending supports to radicals like Peter King, Wafa Sultan, Irshad Manji, Tarek “T-Fat” Fatah and assorted Zionist bottom feeders.
    You’re a despicable fraud, Asra, and deep down, you know it.

  • http://www.loonwatch.com Garibaldi

    I find it interesting Asra that you chose to ignore Haroon’s or my question which preceeded both Khushboo and AJ’s post.

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