Asra Nomani

Asra Q. Nomani is former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the author of Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam, which will be published in March. She lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, with her son and family. Follow the Muslim Women's Freedom Tour at www.asranomani.com.

Recent Articles

The Sharia Problem

The convening of Iraq's new parliament is in some ways a victory for progress in the embattled country. Unfortunately, though, it seems that not everybody will enjoy equally in a victorious future: “In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful. We have honored the sons of Adam,” says the preamble of the country's new constitution. Where are the daughters of Eve? The new constitution may seem at first glance promising--explicitly insuring “gender rights” and setting a target that “aims” to have 25 percent of the seats in Iraq's new parliament, the Council of Representatives, filled by women. The constitution seems progressive--even poetic--for its inclusion of women in language, like the kind found later in the preamble: “We the people of Iraq who have just risen from our stumble, and who are looking with confidence to the future through a republican, federal, democratic, pluralistic system, have resolved with the determination of our men, women, the elderly and youth...

Dennis Miller & Me

LOS ANGELES -- If everything had gone according to plan, I would have been chatting on national television about the national driver's license scheme, homeland security, and the Baptist minister who stepped down after trying to kick John Kerry supporters out of his church. But I never even made it to the green room. Early one Wednesday afternoon, I was poised for a minor coup in the world of book tours: two five-minute segments on CNBC's Dennis Miller Live . I was scheduled to appear on May 12. My appearance wouldn't add up to 15 minutes of fame, but it would be enough to plug the ideas in my book, Standing Alone in Mecca . And maybe, like Bill Clinton tooting his horn on late-night TV, I would have my saxophone moment. Ever since a publicist at my publishing house told me three months ago that I had been chosen to be a guest on Dennis Miller Live , I had stayed up late studying the nightly talk show. Miller had won fame as a comedian on NBC's Saturday Night Live . Later, he snagged a...

Pulpit Bullies

“And we have raised, from among them, leaders … ” -- Koran, al-Sajdah , “The Prostration,” 32:24 Just before midnight one Friday last December, an Egyptian American professor of electrical engineering at West Virginia University, clad in a track suit and red-and-white checkered scarf, stepped through the green steel doors of our mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia. With a spring in his step, he took a breath of the cool night air and smiled widely as he triumphantly waved to a Muslim man by the door. Down the street, in front of the Friendship Motel, a crew for a PBS documentary quietly rolled its cameras on the gesture. There was much for the professor to celebrate. In a year's time, he and a posse of extremist Muslims had successfully launched a takeover of our newly built mosque, driven moderate Muslims out of power, trash-talked women out of office, and entrenched the posse's members as leaders. Its latest win: a landslide victory that night in the mosque election. Speaking in Urdu...