‘Unholy Alliance’ of Woke Left and Islamist Right Is Destabilizing America: Asra Nomani

An unholy alliance of far leftists and fundamental Islamists is undermining the principle values of the United States, warned Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and advocate for reform in Islam.

“There’s a war for the values of classical liberalism,” Nomani told host Jan Jekielek in an interview on EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.

“To me, they are simple ideas like individual freedom, free speech, the actual value of family, and something also really important to me—a sense of equality, a sense that there is no hierarchy of human value.”

Nomani is a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, an international organization fighting to counter the ideology that fostered and nurtured terrorist groups like ISIS.

A Muslim herself, she has long been arguing that the Muslim community needs to confront, not deny, the existence of elements of their religion that are not compatible with the principal values of the free world.

Epoch Times Photo
Muslim author Asra Nomani (C) prays with other women during a rare public mixed-gender, woman-led prayer service in New York City in this 2005 file photo.  (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

An Ethical Incongruity

Born in India and then migrating to the United States when she was four, Nomani described an “ethical incongruity” she felt in an upbringing shaped by both Islamic and classical liberal values.

“Women’s rights, equality, free speech—these were just joyful experiences that I had as a young girl growing up in the United States,” she said. “But I was feeling incongruous with some of the ideas that were actually embedded inside of me, being a Muslim.”

“Inside of the very traditional and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, you are denied principles like free speech because you are ruled in by laws of blasphemy,” she continued.

“You are denied individual rights because you are defined by the collective sense of what you’re supposed to live, how you’re supposed to marry, where you’re supposed to travel, and what you’re supposed to do for a living.”

This feeling of incongruity would accompany Nomani for many years until she started confronting it, prompted by the horrendous murder of a dear colleague at Wall Street Journal.

Daniel “Danny” Pearl was only 38 when Islamist terrorists kidnapped him in Karachi, Pakistan, on Jan. 23, 2002. The terrorists first claimed that Pearl was an American spy, then accused him of spying on behalf of Israeli intelligence after learning that he was a Jew. A video of Pearl’s decapitation emerged weeks later.

Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal newspaper reporter kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists in Karachi, Pakistan, in a file photo. (Getty Images)

“That was the moment that I knew deep in my heart that we were in this war with this extremism,” Nomani told Jekielek.

“It was defined by a sectarianism. It was defined by the most illiberal of ideas, which is that there is a hierarchy of human value in the world.”

“Danny, by being American, being white, by being Jewish, by having Israeli ancestry, was now at the bottom of that hierarchy of human value,” she continued.

“That’s when I first confronted the fundamental idea of identity.”

Summer of Reckoning

About two decades after Pearl’s murder, Nomani was shocked to find that an ideology centered around evaluating humans based on their racial identity was gaining prevalence in America, including in public school classrooms.

In June 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the principal of Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology—one of the nation’s top-ranked high schools—sent an email to the school’s mostly Asian immigrant families, saying that they needed to check their “privileges.”

“It was a scolding, in which she said that our families, with such diverse backgrounds with such stories of struggle coming to the United States, needed to check our privileges,” said Nomani, whose son was at that time a senior at TJ High.

“She said that we needed to change the racial demographic of the school so that it would match the racial demographic of the county.”

Some 70 percent of the students at TJ High are Asian, whereas in Virginia’s Fairfax County, Asians account for only 20 percent of the population.

“So, we were the wrong kind of minority,” Nomani said.

“That summer, I recognized really fast that the same type of identity politics that had laid its target on my friend Danny Pearl had shifted to a new group in the United States: Asian families, immigrant families, anybody who refused the narrative of this network that I call the ‘woke army.’ And a new fight began.”

Racial Identity

While it may seem self-contradictory, the fundamental Islamists have allied with identity politics-oriented leftists. All it takes, according to Nomani, is to redefine Muslim as a racial identity.

“What I noticed through the start of the Obama administration was the Islamists were aligning with the Democratic Party,” she told Jekielek, noting that Islamists obviously don’t support abortion or LGBTQ rights like Democrats do.

“I saw that build up. I saw money start flowing into the Muslim organizations from typical traditional liberal philanthropists. And I wondered how they could justify it.”

“What I realized they were using was race,” she continued. “What the Islamists had started to do was take this really complicated legal theory—critical race theory—and declare that Muslims were a race, and you are being racist if you dare to criticize extremism within the faith.”

This unholy alliance would grow and strengthen over the two terms of Obama’s presidency to the point that President Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory triggered what Nomani called a “battle cry” from Islamists.

“I saw the battle cry go out from the Islamist organizations for literally an overthrow of the government,” she recalled.

“They were chanting the same chant that they had been chanting in Tahir Square in Egypt, to overthrow the [Hosni] Mubarak regime and bring in the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“Concurrently, of course, most people know that the Democratic groups and the far left in the United States were rallying against Donald Trump.”

As an example, Nomani pointed to Linda Sarsour, a pro-Palestine, anti-Israel activist and former co-chair of the feminist movement Women’s March. In 2019, Sarsour stepped down from the co-chair position, largely due to her unwillingness to disassociate with Louis Farrakhan, who leads the black supremacist group Nation of Islam.

Linda Sarsour speaks onstage during an event on May 11, 2017. (Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The New York Women’s Foundation )

“Linda Sarsour became a leader of this new movement called the Women’s March. It wasn’t just a march for women; it was a march for women opposed to Donald Trump,” she told Jekielek.

“And who were they starting to exclude? They wanted to also exclude Jewish feminist women from Israel because, in this woke army’s new order, there was a hierarchy of human value.”

“In their universe of intersectionality—the new term that they were introducing to the political landscape, Israeli feminists were at the bottom. Because for women like Linda Sarsour from the Muslim establishment, they were the colonizers, they were the white supremacists.”

Be Unapologetic

“It was just so obvious to me that this new network was going to not only undermine Donald Trump but the freedoms that we know in the United States,” Nomani said, adding that the “woke army” is implementing a vision characterized by demoralization and dehumanization.

“So many people feel helpless and hopeless against this woke army,” she said. “They work in jobs for which they have worked to accomplish and get their entire lifetimes, and now they live in almost intellectual prisons and spiritual prisons because they’re not self-expressed.”

The most important strategy for conservatives and classical liberals to combat the woke army, according to Nomani, is to be unapologetic in the values they have.

“We have to be unapologetic in our values. That, to me, became the most important strategy against those accusations and that character assassination,” she said.

“You have to lay your head to rest at night, every night on your bed, and live with yourself the values that you have and the values that you practice every day. If you know in your heart that you are motivated by a sense of these classic liberal values that align with conservative values of equality and justice and individual rights, then you can withstand all of those smears because they’re just used as weapons.”

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