Profile of Asra Nomani, Leader of Muslim Women’s Freedom Tour

June 5, 2005

Source: The Washington Post

On June 5, 2005 The Washington Post reported, "it was two days after she appeared on 'Nightline' talking about her fight to change her mosque that the death threats began. The first call came on her cell phone. The caller left a message, in Urdu: 'If you want to stay alive, keep your mouth shut.' Otherwise, he said, he would 'slaughter' her, halal style, saying a prayer as he slid a knife across her throat. If she didn't shut up, he'd slaughter her mother and her father, too. Think before you speak, he said. I know where you live. I know where your parents live. Then he called her parents' home 10 minutes later. Just to reinforce the message... It's not a message that Asra Nomani, Muslim, unwed mother, former Wall Street Journal reporter, author and left-leaning feminist, is planning to heed (although she did contact the FBI and her local police). Yes, she's started locking her doors now, a rarity for her here in her hilly home town. But she won't be shutting up, definitely not, never. There are those who see Nomani, a self-described 'overambitious child of immigrants,' as a crusader, an activist lobbying for the right of Muslim women to pray side by side with men. This spring she launched the Muslim Women's Freedom Tour, traveling from city to city (including a stop in April at the Islamic Center of Washington on Massachusetts Avenue NW) to encourage Muslim women to assert themselves in their mosques. As part of the tour, women pray in halls usually reserved for men and participate in mixed-gender prayer services led by women."

See also: Islam, Civic, Women