In just two minutes, journalist Asra Nomani exposed the empty and bullying nature of people pushing the "Islamophobia" narrative. The term is often used to stifle criticism of Islamism – a political movement aimed at imposing Islam on society – by casting it as inherently bigoted.
During a forum Tuesday devoted to the issue, Nomani confronted Georgetown University's Nathan Lean, whose life is dedicated to combating "Islamophobia," about his own behavior.
"I'm thrilled that you have an opposition to pernicious, nasty attacks," Nomani said. "My question is, why do you engage in them?"
"We'll take another question," Lean said. His only comment was an attempt to smear Nomani, implying her question was not worthy of a reply because he disagrees with her. Nomani said he was misrepresenting her views.
Lean presents himself as a serious academic. He is the research director at the Pluralism, Diversity and Islamophobia project at Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
Center Director John Esposito is a longtime ally of Islamist activists in the United States, defending Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian and serving as a defense expert in the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
Lean's dismissal of a legitimate question – on the video, Nomani backs up her description of his "pernicious, nasty attacks" with several recent examples – took place in an open forum on "Islamophobia."
When challenged about it later, Lean mischaracterized the incident, claiming Nomani "threw a tantrum." Watch the video above. It's a wildly inaccurate claim.
Lean's refusal to engage in a question presented professionally and politely seems to fly in the face of the ideals espoused by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
"Academic responsibility requires professors to submit their knowledge and claims to rigorous and public review by peers who are experts in the subject matter under consideration; to ground their arguments in the best available evidence; and to work together to foster the education of students," it says.
Lean may not consider Nomani a peer, but her career as a Wall Street Journal reporter made her a horrified witness of where unchecked radical Islamist thought can lead. Now, she's part of a fledgling Muslim Reform Movement, which declares its full embrace of "a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam," "for secular governance, democracy and liberty" and "for the protection of all people of all faiths and non-faith who seek freedom from dictatorships, theocracies and Islamist extremists."
Lean and his colleagues could try to take issue with the reformists' principles, but that might prove to be difficult. It is so much easier to ignore a legitimate question or smear the messenger.
That says it all.