A Muslim feminist says Duke University rescinded her invitation to speak after a student association complained.

Author and journalist Asra Nomani planned to give a speech arguing for a "progressive, feminist interpretation of Islam."

“What I wanted to tell them is that we’re living a paradox where there’s a progressive spirit in Islam, but sadly, there’s […] forces within our community that subordinate us, subjugate us, and silence us, and sadly, that’s what I saw at Duke University,” she said.

Nomani said that a Duke professor "smeared" her two years ago in an email, charging her with having an “alliance” with Islamophobes.


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Nomani said the Muslim Students Association "resurrected that dig" and urged people not to attend her speech. 

“And so we all know what that does effectively, it scared everyone," she said.

The sponsoring organization and Duke then rescinded her speaking invitation. When Nomani asked for evidence against herself, the school decided to invite her to speak once again.

Yesterday, Nomani delivered her speech to just nine people.

Nomani said that those who try to silence her think that they don’t want to “tarnish the true image of Islam.” She said that they don’t want to talk about the reality of Islam, which is that women are treated like second-class citizens in way too many communities.


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“We serve the religion and we serve the country and the world best if we forge ahead with a gender jihad, a jihad that fights for women’s rights along with all people’s rights,” Nomani said.