Sunlight Is The Best Disinfectant

Today Representative Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, released 370 pages of Lisa Page’s testimony to a joint congressional task force investigating potential bias in the Justice Department.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today revealing some of the details of the testimony.

One of the items in the testimony was the decision not to charge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with mishandling classified information. The article reports:

Page said Comey and the FBI spoke with DOJ about a gross negligence charge for Clinton multiple times, but that the DOJ consistently pushed back on it. “We had multiple conversations with the Justice Department about bringing a gross negligence charge. And that’s, as I said, the advice that we got from the Department was that they did not think — that it was constitutionally vague and not sustainable,” she said.

Ratcliffe asked if the decision not to charge Clinton with gross negligence was a direct order from the DOJ. “When you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: ‘You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to,’” he said.

Page responded: “That’s correct.”

Page is the former FBI lawyer who reportedly carried out an affair with FBI agent Peter Strzok, the lead investigator in the Clinton investigation. The thousands of text messages that they sent back and forth about the Clinton and Trump-Russia investigations raised questions of bias, and Mueller eventually removed Strzok from the special counsel investigation. Strzok was also fired by the FBI.

Page’s testimony raises further questions related to the decision not to charge Clinton with any crimes, including gross negligence, following a lengthy FBI investigation into her email practices that potentially put classified information at risk. After the revelation that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac in June 2016, while Hillary Clinton was running for president, Lynch refused to recuse herself from the case while also saying she would accept Comey’s decision on what charges to bring against Clinton. But Page’s testimony indicates that DOJ had shut the door on gross negligence.

The decision on to charge Secretary Clinton was a glaring example of unequal justice. Some of our military have spent time in jail for far less serious offenses. There is also the matter of destroying evidence and deleting subpoenaed documents.

As more testimonies are made public, I wonder if it will change the public perception of the abuses of power that were going on in the final days of the Obama administration.

One Can Only Hope The Truth Will Come Out

Yesterday Sara Carter reported on a public hearing that is going to take place today.

The article reports:

A trove of documents on the Clinton Foundation alleging possible pay for play and tax evasion have been turned over to the FBI and IRS by several investigative whistleblowers, who will be testifying in an open hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, according to the committee and lawmakers.

Roughly 6,000 documents that are expected to reveal the nearly two-year investigation by the whistleblowers with a private firm called MDA Analytics LLC, which allegedly turned over the documents more than a year and a half ago to the IRS, according to John Solomon, who first published the report last week in The Hill. 

There is a connection between the whistleblowers and Robert Mueller:

However, a former whistleblower, who has spoken with agents from the Little Rock FBI field office last year and worked for years as an undercover informant collecting information on Russia’s nuclear energy industry for the bureau, noted his enormous frustration with the DOJ and FBI. He describes as a two-tiered justice system that failed to actively investigate the information he provided years ago on the Clinton Foundation and Russia’s dangerous meddling with the U.S. nuclear industry and energy industry during the Obama administration.

William D. Campbell’s story was first published by this reporter in 2017. He turned over more than 5,000 documents and detailed daily briefs to the bureau when he served as a confidential informant reporting on Russia’s nuclear giant Rosatom. Campbell worked as an energy consultant, gaining the trust of Russians and providing significant insight into Russia’s strategic plans to gain global dominance in the uranium industry. He reported on Russian’s intentions to build a closer relationship with Obama administration officials, to include then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as reported. The documents he turned over to the DOJ, which were reviewed by this news site, showed Campbell had also provided highly sensitive information both related to the uranium case, as well as other intelligence matters, since 2006.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was the director of the FBI at the time Campbell was a confidential informant and according to Campbell, the information was briefed to Mueller by his FBI handlers.

It seems as if the corruption and blindness in the FBI is not a new thing.

This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the Clinton Foundation. The editorial deals with the drop in donations to the Foundation after Hillary Clinton lost her bid for the Presidency.

The editorial reports:

Controversy over the foundation erupted after Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book — “Clinton Cash” — suggested that the foundation served as a way for donors to curry favor with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And, indeed, the multitude of connections that slowly turned out became hard to dismiss as coincidental. There was the fact that 85 of the 154 private interests who’d met with Clinton during her tenure at state were Clinton Foundation donors.

Emails turned up showing how the foundation intervened to arrange a meeting between Clinton and the Crown Prince of Bahrain, a country that had been a major foundation donor. A Chicago commodities trader who donated $100,000 to the foundation got a top job on a State Department arms control panel, despite having no experience in the area. On and on it went.

The editorial concludes:

But the most glaring indictment of the Clinton Foundation came from what happened last year, after Hillary Clinton lost the election — and effectively ended her political career.

First, the Clinton’s almost immediately shuttered the Clinton Global Initiative and laid off 22 employees.

Now, fresh financial documents show that contributions and grants to the Clinton Foundation plunged since Hillary lost her election bid. They dropped from $216 million in 2016 to just $26.5 million in 2017 — a stunning 88% fall. Throughout Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, the foundation pulled in an average of $254 million a year. (See chart below for a timeline.)

If the Clinton Foundation was as good as defenders claimed, why did all its big-time donors suddenly lose interest? The only reasonable explanation is that donors weren’t interested in what the foundation supposedly did for humanity. They were interested in the political favors they knew their money would buy.

In April 2015, The New York Post reported:

The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.

The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.

On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fundraising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons is on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the foundation.

In all, the group reported $84.6 million in “functional expenses” on its 2013 tax return and had more than $64 million left over — money the organization has said represents pledges rather than actual cash on hand.

Some of the tens of millions in administrative costs finance more than 2,000 employees, including aid workers and health professionals around the world.

But that’s still far below the 75 percent rate of spending that nonprofit experts say a good charity should spend on its mission.

At one time there was an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. I have no idea whether or not it is ongoing. However, just looking at the amount of money spent on overhead and the rapid drop in donations when Hillary was not elected President, I think there are some obvious conclusions that anyone paying attention can draw about the Foundation.

Will We Ever See Justice?

Townhall is reporting the following today:

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled on Thursday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has 30 days to answer additional questions about her email scandal. The decision comes after Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit to obtain additional information from Clinton and Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat John Bentel. The watchdog group also wanted top Clinton aides and State Department officials, including Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills’, deposition videos made public.

These are the two questions Mrs. Clinton will be required to answer:

1. Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.

2. During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails “were in the State’s system” and “if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.” Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.

The treatment of Mrs. Clinton flies in the face of equal justice under the law. As anyone who has ever held a security clearance knows, you have to sign a paper saying that you understand the rules for handling classified material and that you will follow them. I don’t know if Mrs. Clinton signed that paper. I do know that she chose not to follow the rules about handling classified material. There should be some penalty for that behavior.

Consequences Of Not Following The Rules

On May 21, 2017, the Business Insider reported the following:

China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach whose origin has not been identified, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Yesterday I posted an article that included the following:

  • A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
  • The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

The article at Business Insider stated:

By 2013, U.S. intelligence concluded China’s ability to identify its agents had been curtailed, the newspaper said, and the CIA has been trying to rebuild its spy network there.

Hillary Clinton set up her private server when she took office as Secretary of State in January 2009; she left that position on February 1, 2013.

The Business Insider further reported:

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

One was shot and killed in front of a government building in China, three officials told the Times, saying that was designed as a message to others about working with Washington.

The breach was considered particularly damaging, with the number of assets lost rivaling those in the Soviet Union and Russia who perished after information passed to Moscow by spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, the report said. Ames was active as a spy in the 1980s and Hanssen from 1979 to 2001.

The CIA declined to comment when asked about the Times report on Saturday.

The Chinese activities began to emerge in 2010, when the American spy agency had been getting high quality information about the Chinese government from sources deep inside the bureaucracy, including Chinese upset by the Beijing government’s corruption, four former officials told the Times.

I think we need some accountability here.

Quite Often There Is A Reason For Protocols And Procedures

The Hillary Clinton private email server scandal is old news. However, there is a new aspect of this story that has just recently come out.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the Chinese hacking into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The article reports:

  • A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
  • The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

Wow. The Chinese had all of our classified correspondence from the State Department in real time. That is scary.

The article reports the timeline:

Two officials with the ICIG, investigator Frank Rucker and attorney Janette McMillan, met repeatedly with FBI officials to warn them of the Chinese intrusion, according to a former intelligence officer with expertise in cybersecurity issues, who was briefed on the matter. He spoke anonymously, as he was not authorized to publicly address the Chinese’s role with Clinton’s server.

Among those FBI officials was Peter Strzok, who was then the bureau’s top counterintelligence official. Strzok was fired this month following the discovery he sent anti-Trump texts to his mistress and co-worker, Lisa Page. Strzok didn’t act on the information the ICIG provided him, according to Gohmert.

Gohmert mentioned in the Judiciary Committee hearing that ICIG officials told Strzok and three other top FBI officials that they found an “anomaly” on Clinton’s server.

The former intelligence officer TheDCNF spoke with said the ICIG “discovered the anomaly pretty early in 2015.”

“When [the ICIG] did a very deep dive, they found in the actual metadata — the data which is at the header and footer of all the emails — that a copy, a ‘courtesy copy,’ was being sent to a third party and that third party was a known Chinese public company that was involved in collecting intelligence for China,” the former intelligence officer told TheDCNF.

“The [the ICIG] believe that there was some level of phishing. But once they got into the server something was embedded,” he said. “The Chinese are notorious for embedding little surprises like this.”

As if this were not discouraging enough:

London Center for Policy Research’s vice president of operations, retired Col. Anthony Shaffer, told TheDCNF that Clinton’s server was vulnerable to hacking.

“Look, there’s evidence based on the complete lack of security hygiene on the server. Fourteen-year-old hackers from Canada could have probably hacked into her server and left very little trace,” Shaffer said. “Any sophisticated organization is going to be able to essentially get in and then clean up their presence.”

For a list of the federal laws that may have been violated in setting up the private server go here.

It is difficult to create a totally hack proof server, but had Hillary used her proper email address and government servers, it is much less likely that the Chinese would have been able to obtain the classified information that flowed through the State Department during her tenure. The rules and regulations regarding email by government bureaucrats are there for a reason. Although I have my theories as to why she ignored them, by ignoring them she put national security issues of America at risk. That is not acceptable.

Doing The Job The Media Has Forgotten How To Do

On Thursday, Judicial Watch posted the following:

Judicial Watch Fights State Department for Full Accounting of Clinton-Related Emails on Anthony Weiner’s Laptop

State claims only 3,000 of the ‘hundreds of thousands’ of emails were agency records – but has not released information on how they reviewed them or how they made that determination

 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it is fighting the State Department for a full production of records responsive to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for the emails found by the FBI on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. According to then-FBI Director James Comey, Weiner’s laptop contained “hundreds of thousands” of emails of former Secretary Clinton.

Weiner is an ex-Congressman and the incarcerated husband of former Clinton top aide Huma Abedin. He was convicted of having sexually explicit communications with teenage girls. In October 2016, FBI investigators from its New York field office discovered Abedin’s emails on Weiner’s laptop, including data indicating the emails went through Clinton’s “private” non-“state.gov” email system.

The court filing comes in May 2015 lawsuit Judicial Watch filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)). Judicial Watch sued after the State Department failed to respond to a March 2015 FOIA request seeking:

  • All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘state.gov’ email address.

In an April 15, 2018, interview with George Stephanopoulos, former FBI Director James Comey stated that there were “hundreds of thousands” of Hillary Clinton-related emails that had been found “on Anthony Weiner’s laptop” in its investigation of the Clinton email scandal.

In fighting the State Department’s effort to close the case, Judicial Watch refers to the State Department claim that only 3,000 of those “hundreds of thousands” are agency records and 147 total emails were unique agency records. Judicial Watch argues that the State Department has not released information on the total number of emails that they reviewed, how they reviewed them, how many emails were personal and not agency records and how the agency would have made those determinations.

Again, all we know is that the FBI provided an unspecified number of emails to [the State Department], that [the State Department] reviewed the emails, and that [the State Department] identified 3,000 emails that contained evidence of [the State Department’s] activities. [The State Department] has not even attempted to explain the discrepancy between the “hundreds of thousands” of emails identified by ex-Director Comey and the mere 3,000 emails identified by [the State Department]. At this late point in the Secretary Clinton email saga, [the State Department] should not get the benefit of the doubt.

This filing is part of Judicial Watch’s extensive and ongoing investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. The investigation has produced numerous examples of Clinton using her non-“state.gov” email system to transmit classified information.

Judicial Watch’s April 2014 pivotal revelation of the Benghazi talking points originating in the Obama White House brought about the May 2014 formation of the House Benghazi Committee. In February 2015 the State Department admitted to the court that it needed to make “additional searches” of Benghazi-related material. In March 2015 Clinton admitted to using a non-government email system.

In September 2017 Judicial Watch made public 1,617 new pages of documents from the State Department revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through Abedin’s unsecure, non-state.gov account, as well as many instances of Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

On January 4, 2018, Judicial Watch revealed that at least 18 classified emails in a total of 798 documents produced by the State Department from the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s illicit email system were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Thirteen emails contained classified information and discussions about Saudi Arabia, The Hague, Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the identity of a CIA official, Malawi, the war in Syria, Lebanon, Hamas, and the PLO.

On January 19, 2018, Judicial Watch released 78 pages of new documents from State Department containing emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent and received over her unsecure, non-“state.gov” email system. These documents exposed that Clinton had detailed knowledge about the security issues with in her non-State Department email system contrary to her statement that she “really didn’t stop to think about what kind of email system there would be.”

“After uncovering the Clinton email scandal, Judicial Watch now wants a full accounting of the Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We’ve confirmed classified Clinton emails on the Weiner laptop, which would have been enough to get anyone else arrested.”

The Cost Of Kicking The Can Down The Road

Joel C. Rosenberg posted an article on his blog yesterday detailing the history behind the current crisis with North Korea. The article asks the question, “How did we get to the point that Pyongyang may have 60 warheads?” That is certainly a very valid question.

Here are some of the highlights of the history reported in the article:

In October of 1994, President Bill Clinton cut a deal with North Korea in which Pyongyang agreed to “freeze and gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons development program,” reported the New York Times.

“This agreement will help achieve a longstanding and vital American objective — an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. Clinton told the American people.

“This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world,” Mr. Clinton added. “It’s a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community.”

In return, the Clinton administration gave North Korea $4 billion in energy aid.

In addition, the Clinton deal gave North Korea two nuclear power plants, for which American taxpayers helped foot the bill.

“This is a good deal for the United States,” Mr. Clinton said at the time. “North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.”

Obviously, North Korea chose not to honor its end of the bargain. President Clinton would have done well to follow the advice of President Reagan–“Trust, but verify.”

The article explains that President Obama’s foreign policy toward North Korea was also not successful:

In February of 2012, President Obama was similarly duped.

Mr. Obama agreed to a deal in which Pyongyang promised (again) not to build nuclear weapons and stop testing long-range ballistic missiles.

In return, the Obama administration agreed to give North Korea 240,000 metric tons of food.

Experts warned the Obama team at the time that “it is naïve at best for the administration to herald a North Korean ‘commitment to denuclearization’ after the many years of North Korean actions definitively proving the contrary.”

Less than a month later, Pyongyang tested another long-range rocket in clear violation of the agreement, and a humiliated Mr. Obama had to suspend the food aid program.

Clearly, the policy of “strategic patience” (read: “do nothing and hope for the best”) run by Mr. Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a colossal failure.

Unfortunately, the North Korean model was used by President Obama as the template for the Iran nuclear deal. President Obama chose to overlook the fact that the North Korean model was a failure.

The article concludes:

If all this weren’t bad enough, it’s made worse by the fact that the insane Obama nuclear deal with Iran was essentially patterned — and sold — after the Clinton deal with North Korea. As I warned in this Fox News interview and elsewhere (see here and here), the ayatollahs in Tehran are working closely with Pyongyang on nuclear and missile technology. They’re also watching how the U.S. and the world powers handle a nation aspiring to become a nuclear armed power. So far, they’re learning the West can be played for fools, and a small but aggressive nation can build a nuclear arsenal without much fear of being stopped.

America does not want war, but we don’t want to be nuked by a third world tin-horn dictator either. It is unfortunate that Iran and North Korea have been allowed to progress as far as they have on their nuclear programs. We also need to understand that Russia and China are not innocent bystanders in this situation–both countries are not unhappy when America is put at risk. At this time we need to unite as a people behind a strong President. Otherwise, there is a good chance that this situation will escalate in the wrong direction very quickly.

How To Lie With Statistics And Poll Numbers

I was dismayed this week to hear that Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in the polls. I should have investigated a little further. It’s not that I think Donald Trump is wonderful, I just think that Hillary Clinton is the more dangerous of the two. Anyway, The American Thinker blog posted a article yesterday about the poll. The article investigated where the numbers came from.

The article reports:

However, based on the polling details, the final weighted sample of 976 registered voters is made up of just 28% Republicans and 35% Democrats.

In the unweighted sample of registered voters, the relative percentage by party was 29% Republicans and 35% Democrats.

So, during the weighting process, the poll increased the Democrat-Republican spread from 6% to 7%.  This relative weighting should have been headed in the other direction.

According to nationwide polling data, Republican Party affiliation has averaged 28% for 2016 so far, and it also averaged 28% since the start of May.  This agrees well with the CBS News poll’s composition.

On the other hand, the last time the Democrats were at 35% was early March…of 2013.  Since May of this year, Democratic party affiliation has averaged 29%, just 1% higher than the Republicans, not 7% higher.

By now I should know better than to listen to polls. The article goes on to explain that if the poll had taken an accurate sample, the results would have been a statistical tie. It is becoming obvious that Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy as Secretary State (actually it was Barack Obama’s policy, but he never takes responsibility for anything negative) has made the world a more dangerous place. It will be interesting to see how well the media can spin that and if the average person figures out that she would be a disaster as President.

Is The Justice Department Just?

The American Thinker posted an article today about some recent remarks made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. In what I am sure was an innocent attempt to blunt the force of new revelations about Hillary Clinton and her emails, Mr. Earnest stated, “That will be a decision made by the Department of Justice and prosecutors over there. What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it’s trending. But I’m certainly not going to weigh in on a decision or in that process in any way. That is a decision to be made solely by independent prosecutors but again, based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction.”

There are some problems with this statement. How do ‘we’ know anything from the Department of Justice?

The article reminds us:

It would be entirely improper for the White House to be in communication with the Justice Department over an ongoing criminal investigation. This would constitute political interference. A congressional committee could well issue a subpoena for Earnest, which would raise the Watergate flag when executive privilege likely would be claimed.

Second, this claim is likely to infuriate the FBI and those DoJ prosecutors with integrity. The normally staid ace reporter Catherine Herridge used the expression “super pissed off” to describe it to Greta Van Susteren.

There are people of integrity working in our government. I suspect they are having a very difficult time right now. I wish this story would go away. I am tired of it, as I am sure most Americans are, but there is the concept of ‘equal justice under the law’ which on the surface seems to have been violated. That aspect of this needs to be investigated, along with finding out what damage was done by the mishandling of classified information that Secretary of State Clinton exhibited.

Islam Has A Problem With Free Speech

I am currently reading the book Catastrophic Failure by Stephen Coughlin. In the book, the Mr. Coughlin explains the Islamic view of free speech and human rights. One of the things he makes clear in the book is that in Islam, human rights and free speech must be subject to Sharia Law. Simply stated, this means that apostasy or slander can be punishable by death. Under Sharia Law, slander is defined as anything that makes the person hearing it unhappy–truth is not relevant in the definition. A recent story posted at Dr. Rich Swier’s blog illustrates this. The headline of the story is, “UC Berkeley Student’s Article Pulled Over Fears For Her Safety.”

This is the article:

If someone had told me six years ago that I would leave Islam and end up an atheist, I would never have believed him.

I was born and raised as a Muslim. I grew up in a Muslim country — Pakistan — surrounded by other Muslims who were convinced that their religion was the one true religion. My family, in particular, followed moderate Sunni Islam, which is a more liberal approach based on the “Sunnah,” or Prophet’s teachings. That was the path I set out on. But now, as a Muslim apostate and atheist, my journey couldn’t have led me any further from what I once knew to be true.

Until I was 14, I simply accepted everything I’d been told about Islam. I was taught that being born into a Muslim family is a blessing and is the greatest gift that Allah can bestow upon someone. I initially thought the Sunni path I followed was the one true path, just like my Shia, Bori and Ismaili friends adhered to the teachings of the sects their families followed. I noticed how everyone around me claimed to have a monopoly on the truth, which made me question who was actually right. I started to view Islam — and religion in general — as something dogmatic, irrational, unscientific and, most of all, completely sexist.

A feminist since age 10, it’s always been hard for me to reconcile my feminism with my faith. Even though the Pakistani society in which I grew up was sexist, my family has always been very progressive. As a result, I never accepted the male superiority and traditional gender roles that were part of my society. For most of my teen years, I felt torn apart by my contradictory beliefs. On one hand, I was a radical feminist who supported gay rights. But on the other hand, I was a practicing Muslim whose religion was clearly homophobic and placed men above women.

At that point, I still believed in an all-knowing God, and I felt that if I learned more about Islam, I would be able to understand why it stated the things it did. I read the Quran with translation and countless books on Islamic jurisprudence. I started taking classes at Zaynab Academy and Al-Huda, two traditional Islamic organizations. The Islam they preached was not the liberal, fluid Islam of my parents: Instead, it followed the Quran very rigidly. While the moderate Muslims I knew never encouraged hijab or gender segregation, these institutions differed in their views. I started to follow a more ritualistic Islam, going as far as giving up listening to music and wearing the hijab.

Stifled by orthodox Islam, I decided to turn to a more liberal approach. I embraced Sufism, which is the mystical side of Islam, and began to see God as an entity of love. Feminist scholars, such as Amina Wadud and Leila Ahmed, gave me a glimmer of hope that Islam and feminism could be compatible, although I later found their arguments very selective. On the other extreme, I read writers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, another ex-Muslim atheist, whose harsh criticism of Islam was not always justified.

After trying to understand Islam through a plurality of perspectives — orthodox, feminist, Sufi and liberal approaches — I decided to leave Islam, but by that point, I had realized that I didn’t need to look at things as black and white. I could leave Islam without dismissing it or labeling it as wrong.

Going through all of these versions of Islam has enabled me to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the religion. Islam is no monolith, and with more than 1.5 billion followers, it’s impossible to refer to Islam as a single entity. There are Muslim women who cover every inch of their bodies except for their eyes, and there are also Muslim women who wear short skirts. With so much variation amongst Muslims, it’s hard to determine who really gets to speak for Islam.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing religions in the world, Islam is still extremely misrepresented and shrouded with stereotypes. I want to address these stereotypes and portray Islam in all its diversity. I’ve experienced the religion firsthand and have also viewed it as an objective bystander. I probably spend more time thinking about God than most religious people; despite my skepticism, I’ve always yearned for a spiritual connection. I want to share what I’ve learned about Islam over the years. I plan to defend it and give credit where it’s due — Islam, after all, gave women the right to work and own property back in the seventh century — and I also plan to ruthlessly point out areas that need reform (yes, Islam does allow men to have four wives and sex slaves).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Islam, it’s that my former religion, just like any other ideology, has its flaws. Religion should not be immune to criticism. It’s important to have an honest dialogue about religion and identify what can be improved — and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

The publishing of this article put the author’s life in danger.

The American First Amendment is at risk. According to the book Catastrophic Failure, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been working with the United Nations since 2005 to subtly change the definition of free speech.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured the world that America would not “criminalize speech unless there is an incitement to imminent violence.” (Page 309) Secretary Clinton supported the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. The resolution calls upon states to protect freedom of religion, to counter offensive expression through education,, interfaith dialogue, and public debate, and to prohibit discrimination, profiling, and hate crimes, but not to criminalize speech unless there is an incitement to imminent violence.

Since the Muslim community seems to be the community that reacts to free speech with violence, we can see what this resolution is actually about. It is a quiet imposition of Sharia Law on non-Muslim countries. If my speech causes violence, I do not have the right to free speech. If my speech does not cause violence, it is acceptable. Logically it follows that since Christians and Jews do not kill people in response to negative statements, criticizing them must be acceptable as free speech. Since Muslims often respond to negative statements with violence, criticizing them is no longer legal.

This is the enemy we need to be aware of in America–the enemy that attacks our Constitution and freedom. It is a subtle attack that needs to be countered with truth and education. Unfortunately, our government and our mainstream media are not familiar with either of those concepts.