Qarni’s War on Meritocracy Gets Personal

Atif Qarni demeans activist Muslim mom as member of an anti-Muslim hate group.

by James A. Bacon

Wading deeper into the controversy over admissions policies at the elite Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni is now at odds with the school’s PTA and one of its more outspoken members, Asra Nomani.

According to the PTA, Qarni has falsely accused Nomani, whose essay on TJ admissions policy Bacon’s Rebellion published here, of being part of an anti-Muslim hate group. Qarni, according to the Associated Press, has barred the PTA and Nomani from participating in an upcoming “listening session” on the admissions controversy.

Qarni has organized a task force to study equity-and-inclusion issues at TJ and 18 other Governor’s Schools across Virginia. Racial bean counters are concerned that the magnet schools have insufficient numbers of African-American and Hispanic kids. The racial disparity is especially lopsided at TJ, a math and science school, where 70% of the students are of Asian origin. Nomani and other parents have argued that the admissions process is race-blind and based upon academic aptitude as gauged by a test. Rather than reduce admissions standards, they have argued, Virginia schools need to work on developing mathematical and scientific aptitude among blacks and Hispanics earlier in their educational development.

As the controversy has ramped up to a fever pitch, Qarni has extended his criticism of Nomani to her religious activism. He told the Associate Press that she has used “inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims in various congressional appearances,” and he has told PTA members in emails and phone calls that she is a member of a hate group. Writes the AP:

Nomani is a founding member of the Muslim Reform Movement, which has advocated for gender equality in mosques and against rules requiring Muslim women to cover their hair. She has testified in Congress to warn against Islamic extremism, but some Muslim groups say her views feed into irrational fears of Muslims.

“There’s just too many red flags,” Qarni said on his decision to deny Nomani a speaking role at the listening session.

Nomani, for her part, said she was disappointed that Qarni attacked her religious activism.

“It’s a serious abuse of power,” she said. “Atif Qarni’s actions should cause alarm for every parent. Government is meant to hear the voice of every parent, not suppress them.”

TJ’s PTA president, Nicolae Costescu, said he was taken aback when Qarni told him in a phone call that Nomani couldn’t participate; he researched the accusation and concluded that Nomani’s work “is the opposite of a hate group.” He said the accusation is being used to silence a voice opposed to Qarni’s efforts.

“It really bothered me that he would engage in this kind of character assassination,” Costescu said. “We’re all just parent volunteers.”

The Muslim Reform Movement, by the way, isn’t anti-Muslim at all. It is comprised of Muslims who stand for “a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam” and are dedicated to “defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states.” States the website:

We seek to reclaim the progressive spirit with which Islam was born in the 7th century to fast forward it into the 21st century. We support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by United Nations member states in 1948.

We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam. Facing the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice in the name of Islam, we have reflected on how we can transform our communities based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance.  

The India-born, West Virginia-educated Nomani is listed on the website as one of 13 founders. States her bio: “Ms. Nomani is editing a project, codifying a new school of law that will reject the majority schools named for men and espouse feminist, progressive, peaceful values that include free speech.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Qarni needs to back up his rhetoric with solid evidence or apologize to Nomani. I’m not holding my breath. Everything I’ve seen suggests that Qarni is a left-wing ideological zealot committed to the “social justice” paradigm, and it is a trope among left wingers to excommunicate their foes by declaring them “haters.” It’s an easy way to avoid a debate that Qarni has no interest in having.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


44 responses to “Qarni’s War on Meritocracy Gets Personal”

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    The push back against a racial quota system at Loudoun’s Academy of Science is underway. 37 parents have filed a law suit against the revised admissions policy. 14th amendment violations and violation of Virginia’s open meeting laws. I believe the admissions changes were made behind closed doors.

    1. Another point that should not be lost in this discussion is the potential negative impact of those “helped” by the racial quota system. We do our children no favors when we push them into an environment where they lack the skills to be successful.

      Adolescence is difficult enough. Imagine what it’s like to go from being one of the brightest and most gifted at school to where majority of your peers are significantly more advanced. I’ve seen that happen. It’s tragic to watch, and has nothing to do with race. It’s about confidence and self esteem vs discouragement and depression.

      I have my faults, but nobody who knows me would doubt for a second that want what’s best for my children. I would never try to get my child into a school that he couldn’t qualify for on merit.

      Strict quota systems for elite schools do harm to those wrongfully denied admittance as well as those wrongfully admitted.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I find it hard to believe that any parent knows ahead of time when their kids will hit their limit. They want their kids to keep pushing to become the best they can and they hope the schools and teachers will do all that can be done to help them achieve their goals.

        You just don’t know when they hit their limits -until they do and most do – because most are not going to end up as Einsteins.

        So it’s natural for parents to want their kids to keep going until they find their limits.

        And most parents, if their kid can’t become the best in math or science, they still want them to be best in something else – to go on to life to be the best they can in a field they will be successful at.

        Don’t all parents think this way?

        1. Yes, of course parents want to encourage their children and help them to test their limits. How far is too far? Going farther than can be achieved on merit.

          Not everyone can or should go to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. For one reason, not every student is gifted in Science and Technology. If parents could get vouchers to use their tax dollars to send children to private schools, that would open up more choices and opportunities for all.

          But Democrats, beholden to teachers unions won’t allow that, even as many of them send their own children to private schools. Where did the Obamas send their children?

  2. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    That kind of smear is par for the course. Sorry to see a member of the Governor’s cabinet sink to that level, but not surprised given the emotional content of the argument. Dare we look for a Sunni/Shia angle to this? Or is is just the standard, “how can a member of a perceived oppressed minority not agree with me about the oppression!”

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      What do you expect in an administration that is headed by a man who just before graduating from medical school appeared in blackface with his KKK costumed friend; admitted his behavior just before denying it; and has been protected by the MSM ever since?

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    This woman looks like an uber-strong personality! Read her Wiki! What i suspect is that Atif Qarni is afraid of her – afraid she will dismantle his listening session!

    This is not good. Not good for Atif Qarni nor Northam.

    And yes… in most of these kinds of sessions – the organizers try to control them.

    I’ve watched this happen several times at the local School system where they tout the fact that teachers, administrators, parents and citizens worked “together” to do something like a school calendar or other related product and when you actually go to one of the actual sessions, it’s uber-curated.

    We’re just seeing a well-used tactic – further up the ladder and in full view and I predict there is going to be even more heat.

  4. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    This is actually very good in my opinion. If we’re going to have a real discussion about a truly equitable society it’s a lot more than white people are evil. Everyone will hopefully see two POCs fight it out publicly and display some “isms” that supposedly only white people have the “power” to use against others.
    Let’s talk about female genital mutilation, how ethinic groups treat gays and women, honor killings, suni/ shia, sharia law, jewish slavery, native american slavery, korean and japanese hatred, chinese slavery, and the list goes on and on…. and probably always will in one way or another.
    We are all part of a very interesting and at times disugusting history where every group has commited and commits horrible acts against humanity.
    And I hope the asian community becomes enraged and fights for meritocracy. Maybe everyone will begin to weigh issues and drop tribalism.

  5. “According to the PTA, Qarni has falsely accused Nomani, whose essay on TJ admissions policy Bacon’s Rebellion published here, of being part of an anti-Muslim hate group.”

    This is an interesting accusation coming from a man who accepted money [albeit small amounts] from individuals affiliated with CAIR, ISNA and MAS for his state house and senate campaign.

    [Insert something about glass houses and stones]

    Oops. I almost forgot – Source = VPAP (plus research on donors)

  6. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I did some reading on Ms. Nomani…. I believe the Secretary is in for a fight. She appears to be a real fighter in the best ways…. He may be walking into a real buzzsaw….
    I absolutely love the thought of this confrontation!

    1. Maybe they should directly debate each other, as a pay-per-view event, with all proceeds going directly to programs to benefit disadvantaged students.

      I’d be willing to shell out $20 to watch her [figuratively] mop the floor with him.

      1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
        Baconator with extra cheese

        Man I’m in at 2 tickets at $250 a piece if it goes to the kids. But the debate has to last an hour….
        And my bet is she eats his lunch…. this lady walked into a mosque and demanded to pray in the men’s section… she isn’t at all intimidated by Secretary Woke.

        1. Way to show me up, man.

          Okay, fine, I’ll pay $250 but I’m going to have to limit myself to only one ticket – my wife just bought a car.


    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      I concur with Baconator… this woman is going to be a handful… and they’re trying to kneecap her… and that’s the very last thing you even want to think about with her if she thinks you are!

      What’s his face very defintely is feeling threatened.

      Beyond that – I don’t know if she is rightgeous or not – just a handful!


      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    3. LarrytheG Avatar

      I concur with Baconator… this woman is going to be a handful… and they’re trying to kneecap her… and that’s the very last thing you even want to think about with her if she thinks you are!

      What’s his face very defintely is feeling threatened.

      Beyond that – I don’t know if she is rightgeous or not – just a handful!


      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        I dunno, Larry. On this you and I will have to just disagree.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          on her being a handful? 😉

  7. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I have to say at least Nancy knows how to entertain itself.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Not on this website. Per se

  8. djrippert Avatar

    And where oh where is our empty suited buffoon of a governor on this matter? Doesn’t Quarni work for him? Oh right – hiding under a rock as usual. And where oh where are the Virginia liberals who would be calling for Trump’s immediate commentary on an issue like this if one of his cabinet secretaries slandered a political opponent over her legitimate beliefs on education? Oh right – hiding under a rock.

    The lasting legacy of Quarni will be the alienation of Northern Virginia Asian-Americans from the Democratic Party. I know dozens, maybe hundreds, of Asian Americans in Northern Virginia. I doubt I could find one who thinks the Asian American kids in TJ didn’t earn their way in through hard work and dedication.

    Keep this dipstick Quarni talking … he’s the most effective advertisement for Republicans being heard in Northern Virginia.

    1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
      Baconator with extra cheese

      Yup. And I will guess as more and more POC take government leadership the idea that Dem ideals cover all POC will eventually fall apart. But like many on here have said the Reps can’t help but be dipsh!ts and can’t seem to let some of the old school azzhattery go enough to capitalize on it.
      And I would love to hear Northam explain how his Secretary is attempting to silence a woman of color. Does she not get to “speak her truth to power” or is that only reserved for the chosen women of color?

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        “And I would love to hear Northam explain how his Secretary is attempting to silence a woman of color.”

        Base on heritage, according to Trump, he only need marry her to accomplish that.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar


          1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
            Baconator with extra cheese

            Ouch? Trump is a douche… don’t we all agree on that?
            Northam appointed and is the boss of Secretary Woke who has decided to “kneecap” a woman of color. Northam is the keader of the “progressive blue wave” in Virginia.
            You know the party of Blackface, Blackface, and Rape.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            gawd, I was afraid you couldn’t say all those bad words in one sentence on BR… LORD!

            Does a douche trump a blackface?


        2. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
          Baconator with extra cheese

          And I’m pretty sure Secretary Woke’s issue with Ms. Nomani is she isn’t being an obedient Muslim woman…. which is funny coming from the party of women…. well leave out Lt. Gov Fairfax…. and Morrissey.

          1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            Wow. Really? Glad I didn’t say that. Almost a Trumpian Gold Star Mom moment.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      I’m not so sure. If others, including Asians have prominent roles and voices – and they really don’t want her to be their voice… maybe not.

      If shereally does speak for the Asians and they want her at THEIR voice, then yes.

      She gets involved in a fair number of really different controversies it seems to me. That seems to be her thing.

      So what this has an effect on is whether or not Atif Qarni really seeks out other voices including the Asians.

      If he does that – the thing between him and Asra Nomani might be seen as somewhat bad blood.

      If Asra Nomani comes across as following her own agenda and she is not supported by the Asians and others, she may be seen as self serving.

      it’s all in the dynamics…

      1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
        Baconator with extra cheese

        Believe it or not asians are not monolithic.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          and neither are Muslims and Women, right?

          but when we say 70% of the school is Asians… does that sound a little monolithic?

          1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
            Baconator with extra cheese

            That has always been obvious in the Muslim world… Shia/Sunni….
            And women by far are not monolithic…. I learned that at about age 14! OK I’m still working on figuring out women…. but it’s just as fun as it was at 14!

        2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          Men are.

          1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
            Baconator with extra cheese

            Now that is true. We’re just a more upright ape. And women are by far better equippped for our modern world!
            My daughter and wife are proof.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            something about hell hath no fury…

          3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            BTW, on that resemblance to monolithic, it’s first definition, a large block of rock.

            Women on the other hand are like pianos. Upright or grand.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            Clearly not Atif Qarni’s view…….

      2. djrippert Avatar

        Her group is not anti-Muslin nor is it a hate group. Quarni should be forced to resign for such slanderous commentary against a woman whose only sin is to disagree with him.

  9. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    Upright and grand…. I’m going to steal that.

    1. sherlockj Avatar

      It comes from the Broadway song “Everybody’s Girl”. Best ever rendition is on at the 1:36 mark. Debra Monk, who played Andy Sipowitz’ first wife on NYPD Blue, is the singer. She is fantastic.

  10. Asra Nomani is no more anti-Muslim than Martin Luther was anti-Christian. Among other things, she believes that Muslim women should be treated as equals. That shouldn’t be controversial.

    If Democrats don’t renounce Atif Qarni’s actions against her, they betray several of the fundamental principles they claim to support.

    -Freedom of expression
    -Freedom of religion
    -Women’s rights
    -Immigrants rights
    -People of color
    – Parental rights
    -Citizen’s rights

  11. LarrytheG Avatar

    what do voters think?,578

    1. A lot depends on how the questions are asked. Do a greater percentage of blacks have it tougher in this country? Yes, without question. But is it because of their skin color?

      If being black is itself limiting, then why do white people keep pretending they are black?

      “I Absolutely Cancel Myself”: GW Professor Under Investigation After Disclosing That She Is Not Black

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        There are quite a few PEW polls on race… take my word for it or I can supply more links – the polls are pretty consistent on these questions no matter how they are asked – these days.

        If the Equity Warriors at various school boards are out of synch with voters – they’re gonna get tossed but folks should also consider that they may actually be reflecting voters – depending on the jursidiction. I doubt you see much of this in some sections of rural Va.

        But in the urban and urbanized regions of the State – there may be sentiment that supports the equity thing.

Leave a Reply