New York, June 6, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about death threats made in recent weeks against a U.S. journalist, author, and activist, and her family.
Asra Nomani and her mother, Sajida Nomani, received two threatening phone calls that they believe were made by the same man, Nomani told CPJ. Asra Nomani received the first call on her cell phone on May 23, she said. The caller said “Hello Asra” in English before switching to Urdu, a language native to Muslims in Pakistan and India. The caller, she added, threatened “to slaughter” her, her mother, and her father “halal style,” referring to a ritual Islamic rite used to slaughter animals.
About ten minutes later, Sajida Nomani received a call on the family’s telephone at their home in Morgantown, West Virginia, according to Asra Nomani. “He said, tell her [Asra Nomani] to keep her mouth shut or I’ll slaughter her,” Sajida Nomani told CPJ.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the origins of the two telephone threats against her, according to Asra Nomani. FBI representatives in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania declined comment
Asra Nomani is a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and Salon, where she covered the war on terror in Pakistan. She is also author of Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam and Trantrika: Traveling the Road of Divine Love. Her books, Web site, and activism activities—including her advocacy of female-led Islamic prayer—have been heavily criticized by more orthodox Muslims, according the Washington Post.