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A Reply to Fawzia Afzul-Khan and Andrew Stewart

In an August 28 article published here on CounterPunch, Fawzia Afzal-Khan (who I call Fawzia the Liar) made a bold claim that I sent an “Islamaphobic rant” to administration at Montclair State University (MSU) which called for the firing of an adjunct that tweeted questionable, violent tweets wishing harm on President Trump.

It is true that I sent an email questioning MSU’s choice to hire someone who would tweet vile things about the POTUS getting shot, however neither Islam nor Muslims were ever a topic in the note. I encourage all look at the hyperlink to the tweet containing the full email that Fawzia the Liar claims contained Islamaphobic rhetoric.

There is no doubt that I am a harsh critic of Islam and I stand against ALL Islamists. I am an active member of ACT! For America and recently my personal story about 9/11 was shared by the founder and president of the organization, Brigitte Gabriel.

That being said, I have many Muslim-American friends with whom I can have conversations about all things from politics to pop-culture. They respect me and I respect them. They also know that I have criticized Islam publicly and many offer fair rebuttals to my arguments — debates are a great way to learn from each other. Lying is not, nor can I respect anyone who lies about me.

I am 100 percent vindicated regarding Fawzia the Liar’s claims, so I will use this opportunity to discuss a growing issue — false accusations and crying wolf regarding Islamaphobia, which leads to the undermining of positive Islamic-American relations.

Fawzia the Liar has publicly claimed that I sent and “Islamaphobic rant,” but when said rant is reviewed and it’s found Islam and Muslims were never mentioned, it render’s Fawzia the Liar’s word useless. Up until the day she lied, regardless of whether I like her or not, Fawzia the Liar was a decent role model for Muslim-American women trying to balance their religion, feminism and the American Dream.

I must question MSU’s choice to allow a proven liar to teach students, but then again I am not a college administrator and perhaps the student body does not mind having professors publish libelous claims.

In the same vein as Fawzia the Liar, Tariq Nasheed made false claims about Ben Shapiro over his Berkeley free speech event.

Nasheed tweeted that Shapiro is a “suspected white supremacist,” which is a pathetic stretch considering Shapiro is about as Jewish as they come and wholly embraces his Jewish heritage.

I want to drive home the reality that false accusations and libelous claims about others regarding racism, Islamaphobia, sexism, xenophobia etc. are a big part of why I left The Left and registered as a Republican and is a huge reason why the country elected President Trump.

Speaking of being a Republican, I was also labeled as part of the “Alt-Right” in a CounterPunch article on September 1, written by Andrew Stewart. I don’t feel the need to go too far down this trap other than to say when I first left The Left I explored all forms of The Right, and decided that I would register as a Republican.

I am part of the Log Cabin Republicans, but I do not identify as Alt-Right. There are many misconceptions about those of us in the “New Right” (as Milo Yiannopoulos calls it), but labeling someone Alt-Right or a white supremacist when they are not does nothing but drive the political wedge further — but I suspect that was precisely Stewart’s goal.

Seeking clarity on why MSU has a liar on staff, a man named Mark Fleming kindly provided me the school’s policies and protocols for on campus engagements but told me it’s not appropriate to distribute flyers telling this story and labeling Fawzia Afzal-Khan what she really is — a liar.

I’m looking into ways to get active on the MSU campus and ensure the student body knows about Fawzia the Liar, but until then, this rebuttal is all I can do.

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James Merse is a freelance political opinion writer and activist from Northern New Jersey. He also teaches communication courses at local community colleges and consults for global healthcare companies. Follow him on Twitter: @JamesMerse

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