LISTEN: Muslim Reform Movement Co-Founder, ASRA NOMANI: Pushing for Reform in Islam

Listen as Larry spoke with Asar Q. Nomani, co-founder Muslim Reform Movement, regarding her latest New York Times piece, They Brushed Off Kamala Harris. Then She Brushed Us Off.

An excerpt of the article is below:

Last week, Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, made headlines when Republican senators interrupted her at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee while she interrogated Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The clip of the exchange went viral; journalists, politicians and everyday Americans debated what the shushing signified about our still sexist culture. [Read More]

During the interview Larry asked Nomani to discuss the reaction she received when she testified before the Homeland Security Committee:

O’Connor: Who showed up and who didn’t?

Nomani: Sen. Johnson from Wisconsin is the chair of the Homeland Security Committee and so he was present. Next to him was Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri who is a ranking member. And we had a couple of Democrats that came early – one came early and left. We had a couple of Republicans also. But what was significant was that there were four women, Democratic senators that were there, including Sen  Kamala Harris of California. And the shock to Ayaan and me was that they refused to look us in the eye and they refused to ask us any questions. As we sat, we tried to testify to the idea that women’s rights, including in the Muslim world, amount to human rights that we should care about.

During the interview, Nomani also discussed the reform of Islam:

O’Connor: Is there growth in the reformation movement Asar Nomani?

Nomani: You know why I know that there is, is because the conservatives and the ultra-orthodox are so worked up trying to defeat the idea of reform. They are so threatened by the idea that we are putting forward that they are constantly trying to dismiss us as fringe or heretics ourselves, apostates whatever name they can hurl at us. But there is a great movement. Around the world we’ve had Muslims from Pakistan, France, the UK who are challenging the ideologies at their mosques who are creating new institutions and saying that they are not going to tolerate this [inaudible] exported interpretation of Islam anymore. But you know what we’re up against? We’re up against a multi-billion dollar corporate machine that, unfortunately, the US has had a really difficult time negotiating to end its ideology of extremism. And my hope is that we are at a place, we’ve already isolated Qatar – right – and cut foreign relations right now on the support of terrorism. And I hope that in this sort of difficult to analyze but emerging relationship with the Trump administration has with the government of Saudi Arabia, they will ultimately dismantle the apparatus that exports this [inaudible] ideology into the world.

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