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Calvin Freiburger

Harry Potter and the Deathly Fatwa

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Posted on July 5 2010 4:00 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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I never got into the Harry Potter craze, either in book or movie form. But given who the series has managed to tick off now, I may have some catching up to do.  At the Daily Beast, Muslim women’s rights reformer Asra Nomani reports:

Not long ago, when I watched British-Muslim actress Afshan Azad, 22 years old, glide into the Yule Ball at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Padma Patil, a witch going to the ball with pasty, red-haired “Ron Weasley,” I thought to myself: Only in the world of fantasy could a Muslim proudly play a Hindu girl, learning magic and choosing a “non-believing” man from outside the faith so freely—and without censure.

Indeed, according to the BBC, Azad’s father, Abdul Azad, 54, and his son Ashraf, 28, allegedly threatened to kill the actress this year, on May 21, in their Manchester, England, home, because she was heard talking on the phone to her Hindu boyfriend. At a hearing last Tuesday, the father and son were charged with the attack. Ashraf was also accused of assaulting his sister and charged with “assault occasioning actual bodily harm.”

The next hearing is scheduled for July 12, and the British media is reporting that the actress is staying with friends in London. There are also reports that John Wolfson, a defense lawyer for the father and brother, says the actress is trying to retract her statements in an attempt to keep her family from going to jail, but a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said it will continue to pursue the case.

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