Monerah al-Dubayan, a supporter of Muslim extremism
Monerah al-Dubayan, the triumphalist
A Muslim leader on campus supports jihadist extremism
Purdue (purdue.edu), like many other US colleges, is based on a key fundamental concept- toleration. Differences in opinion will be tolerated, students can live as they like as long as they are not harming anyone, no one will try to force anyone else to do or believe anything they don't want.
Generally, this has been the environment here at West Lafayette. Of course, there are students who try to bully others into silence for disagreeing with them, but on the whole, I firmly believe that we are doing a wonderful job at Purdue.
Unfortunately, there are some prominent student leaders on campus who do not believe in this ideal. Monerah al-Dubayan is one of them.
Who is Monerah al-Dubayan?
Monerah is the president of Purdue's Muslim Student Association . She was born in Saudi Arabia, and studies special education here at Purdue. She is a university ambassador, working closely with prospective students and freshmen.
So what is the problem with Monerah al-Dubayan? Though she presents herself as a moderate, a tolerant student like any other, she is far from it. The polar opposite, actually.
It turns out Monerah is a supporter of an extreme version of Islam, one that seeks to triumph over other faiths and moderate Muslims.
A medieval history professor at Boston University, Richard Landes, defines triumphalist religiosity as a faith which has "believers who need to assert their own dominance as a visible sign of their superiority, as a proof of God(s) 'favor.'" Because we rule, our God is the real God, they say. Landes calls triumphalist religiosity "fundamentally hostile to the modern democratic project, this ongoing experiment in human freedom of speech and faith."
This approach to religion finds public displays of deference to the chosen religion very important.
Sadly, Monerah sees religion in this way. Though she cultivates a careful public image, her private statements are quite different. I have sat with her in a common room in her dorm along with other students. She expressed a belief and hope that Islam will one day triumph over the United States. Some of the students laughed, some ignored the comment, but one was brave enough to push her on the comment.
"That is the fate of Islam, to cover the globe," she said without hesitation.
Her tweets offer a glimpse into this extremist outlook. She often tweets about her anticipation of the reward in the afterlife, a type of mindset often heard from terrorist groups like the Islamic State. "The road to #Paradise is not easy, but it's worth it," she writes, among a series of similar tweets.
I can't help but wonder if her upbringing in a repressive country with an atrocious human rights record like Saudi Arabia had something to do with her current extremism. I have never heard her speak out against her home country, and she never tweets about the Wahabbi kingdom's human rights abuses.
A symbol of Purdue
If this was just a private student who harbored these extreme and dangerous ideas, I wouldn't say anything publicly. But Monerah al-Dubayan is different. She serves as a representative of the school! In other words, our American public university, holds up as one of its official representatives- and one of the first places new students see- someone who believes that her own faith will one day take over the entire country.
Moreover, Monerah runs the Muslim student group at Purdue. If this group wants to engage in interreligious dialogue with other organizations on campus, then how can it hold up Monerah as its leader? I have no doubt that many Muslim students on campus know of Monerah's extreme views, and it is upsetting that more of them haven’t stood up to her triumphalist sympathies.