COLUMN ONE, LOS ANGELES TIMES
BATTLING ISLAMIC 'PURITANS'
UCLA PROFESSOR, ONCE A FANATIC HIMSELF, IS NOW A LEADING SCHOLARLY VOICE AGAINST INTOLERANCE AMONG MUSLIMS. DEATH THREATS DON'T DETER HIM.
January 02, 2002 | TERESA WATANABE | TIMES RELIGION WRITER
The most incendiary Muslim in American academia knows a thing or two about Islamic fanatics. He says he used to be one as a seventh-grader in his native Kuwait.
UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl remembers beating up other kids, condemning his parents as unbelievers and destroying his sister's Rod Stewart tape, "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"
"I found it remarkably empowering to spew my hatred with the banner of God in my hand," he says.
THE NEW REPUBLIC MAGAZINE
"MORAL HAZARD: THE LIFE OF A LIBERAL MUSLIM"
By FRANKLIN FOER
November 18, 2002
The death threats began shortly after September 11, 2001. Every few days, for about four months, Khaled Abou El Fadl would receive an angry, anonymous phone call at either his San Fernando Valley home or his UCLA office. In his e-mail inbox, he found ominous messages from obscured sources with warnings such as, “You know what we’re capable of.” At first, the pudgy, 39-year-old professor of Islamic jurisprudence dismissed the calls as harmless outbursts at a tense moment. But, as the fall of 2001 progressed, Abou El Fadl began suspecting that the threats were more serious than he had initially assumed. Twice in November, he noticed a van that inexplicably lingered outside of his relatively isolated home but then disappeared after he called the police. A few months later, he found the windows of his family’s SUV smashed at a crowded movie theater parking lot. Neither the radio nor the cash in the car had been stolen; no other vehicle in the lot had been touched.