BY STEPHEN COXMAN Hawaii’s spiritual leader says she has been the victim of a vicious and hateful attack that was meant to silence her, and that she was threatened and intimidated by a local pastor who claimed she was going to convert.
The Rev. Hala Nisar, who heads the National Council of Spiritual Leaders, said in a Facebook post that the pastor who threatened her had repeatedly told her that she could never get her church to be more inclusive.
The pastor, identified by the congregation as Reverend Jibran Ahmad, has since resigned, Nisak said.
Nisar said she and her family were approached by Ahmad in December and he repeatedly told them that he wanted to convert the congregation.
“I was told by my pastor that if I wanted to remain in our community and not go to my pastor, I would be leaving the faith and leaving our family,” Nisasar wrote.
“He would not be able to be my pastor and would be able only to control us and his family, because he would only be able control us.”
Ahmad had been pastor of a small church in the small town of Tule Lake since 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In his biography, Ahmad describes himself as a Christian who teaches spiritual healing and teaches others how to be spiritual healers, as well as being an Imam of a mosque in the town of Oahu.
“While I am a Muslim, I am not a follower of Islam.
I am an atheist and a non-practicing Christian,” Ahmad wrote.
Nasar said that she has spoken to Ahmad about the threats and the harassment she has received, but that Ahmad denies any wrongdoing.
“It’s a very troubling situation,” she said.
“My wife and I were the ones who raised the alarm on him and he has since retracted his threats.
He has been trying to get the church to change, but he has not been successful at that.
I think he is trying to use this as a distraction and as an excuse to continue to harass me.”
Nisak told Al Jazeera that she and Ahmad have been in contact for years and have been very understanding and supportive.
Nesar, a married mother of two children, said that Ahmad told her, “We have to work with this situation to keep our church and the community from being overrun with these hate-filled, racist and hateful groups.”
“I think they are really trying to silence me because they don’t want me to say something that they can’t see, hear, or read,” she told AlJazeera.
“I think it’s very unfair that they are trying to bully me and intimidate me.”
Ahmed has not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.NISAR, who is of Pakistani heritage, said she feels that her community’s response to Ahmad has been more hostile than that of other religious leaders who have faced similar threats and harassment.
She said that some of the attacks against her and other leaders are not directed towards her but towards Ahmad, who has publicly praised white supremacy.
Nosar said in the Facebook post she has tried to speak with Ahmad and the congregation in recent months, but has not heard back.
She also said she is concerned that she is being used by Ahmad as a tool to silence other Muslims.
“This has been happening for many years and the church and community have had nothing to do with it,” she wrote.
“It’s just a group of people who are trying their best to shut me up and make sure that I do not speak out against them.
I do understand that they do not have the same power as other religious groups.”
The fact that they don´t have to listen to me is a great relief.
“Nusar is not the only spiritual leader to have faced threats or intimidation over her activism.
Last year, Rev. Marjorie Cagle, a former pastor of an evangelical church in Portland, Oregon, was the target of a campaign to smear her.
Cagle told Al Jazeera that the harassment is a part of a larger problem within the faith that she believes has a “massive” impact on the communities they serve.”
They see no hope in this world.””
They see no way of getting out.
They see no hope in this world.”
Cagle is a pastor at the New Life Community Church in Portland.
In December, she told the Oregonian that the church’s leadership had been told that they had to stop providing her with services and that other leaders were instructed not to speak to her.
“So I had to go out and speak to the media, to talk to people, and not to say anything that would give them any hope that I would change,” she explained.