Disinvited From #ISNA55: The Wajahat Ali Affair

ISNA55 starts today. One speaker who was supposed to be there but got canned is public intellectual Wajahat Ali. In case you missed it back in June when the story broke, here’s Wajahat’s account in The Atlantic of how ISNA disinvited him. Check out the formal letter from ISNA. Not to be missed.

Wajajat Ali Is No Stranger To ISNA

Wajahat had been a regular fixture on the ISNA and MSA campus speaking circuit until it all came to a crashing end in June. Allegedly he was banned from speaking because of two “offenses”: 

  • His participation in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Program, which takes Influential Muslim American to Jerusalem to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Zionism and Judaism; 
  • Some glib social media posts deemed blasphemous

Wajahat Ali “The Traitor”

In other words, the ISNA leadership blamed Wajahat Ali for allegedly betraying Palestine and God.

However, these were just excuses. The decision to block Wajahat from speaking at ISNA’s convention is essentially a power play by the American Islamist leadership. The leadership uses articulate young activists like Ali to gain mainstream inroads. it then disposes of them if they cross red lines or think outside of the permitted box. 

Who is Wajahat Ali

While Wajahat is not an Islamist. one might assume that he earned immunity from retribution since he co-authored the 2011 “Fear Inc.” report detailing the the funding networks propping up the likes of Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer. Naught! When Wajahat went just a little too maverick, ISNA’s leders came down like a ton of bricks. It’s hard to imagine he will be on the NAIT mosque or MSA campus speaking circuit anytime soon.

Hardly The Only “Untouchable”

The truth is that Wajahat is hardly a unique case. Consider some other examples of one-time assets that Islamists cast aside when they stepped out of “acceptable” bounds:

  • Rabia Chaudry: A D.C lawyer and social media firecracker whose claim to fame is having brought the criminal case of childhood friend Adnan Syed to NPR’s podcast “Serial,” which got over 500 million listens. Like Wajahat, she was a fixture in the Islamist talking circuit, but then was subjected to an electronic lynching, and even had an award rescinded when her involvement in the Shalom Hartman program came to light.
  • Haroon Moghul: An older version of Wajahat, Moghul was once the personification of next generation Muslim intellectuals Islamists hosted to appear mainstream. then, word got out of his work with Shalom Hartman. The Islamists went after him with a vengeance and as a result he’s now in a difficult personal and financial situation. They may have ruined his life and career. 

Palestine As A Tool of Exclusion

The Islamists’ excuse to destroy the reputation of these individuals is their proximity to pro-Israel and Zionist group. They are accused of “betraying” Palestine. But guess what? ISNA has developed its own formal alliance with the American Jewish Committee. AJC is one of America’s oldest and most powerful pro-Israel organizations. In on ther words, AJC is as Zionist as they come. 

 Islamist Hypocrisy

It’s obvious that it’s halal for ISNA to do what is haram for Wajahat and Rabia – who simply participated in a study program. The hypocrisy of American Islamist elites is reaching heights unparalleled since Ibn Salool back in Medina in 622. 

Anyway, enjoy the ISNA 55 convention, people! At least you are safely in a Wajahat-free zone.