“I believe we still don’t know the real truth”
: This has been a big week for former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani, 43 (seen above with Charlie Rose). On Friday, her op-ed in the Washington Post’s “On Faith” series tackled a recent controversy surrounding Sherry Jones’ novel about The Prophet Muhammad; meanwhile, Marie Claire Magazine highlights her Daniel Pearl Project, in which she and her Georgetown University students work to complete the investigation Nomani and others say still needs completion.

For Nomani, there are deeply personal motivations behind the project. She was a close friend of Pearl’s; the two worked together for nearly a decade at the Journal. “Danny and I were always scheming to get unconventional stories into the paper,” she says, while sitting in her office amid maps of Pakistan, a basket of plastic dinosaurs, and a DustBuster. “He believed in breaking the mold.” Indeed, Pearl made a name for himself by writing quirky front-page features about things like the world’s largest Persian rug.

Nomani, now 43, bonded with Pearl over their backgrounds. “We were both children of immigrants. His parents moved here from Israel; mine came from India,” she says. “He was Jewish, and I’m Muslim, so our stories are different, but still, he helped me find my identity. He helped me understand that I could be an American and a Muslim. When I told him I’d never been to a prom because I was a good Muslim girl, he threw me a prom and invited all our friends,” she laughs. “I wore a ridiculous bridesmaid dress.”

….A few of the students have only a foggy memory of the murder they are investigating, since they were just 13 years old or so when it happened. Others remember it vividly. Clara Zabludowsky, 20, recalls her high-school friends watching the murder video on the Internet after terrorists circulated it. “I couldn’t look at it myself,” she says. Shilpika Das, 26, a graduate student from India, watched the video and felt “horrified.”

Leading a circle of rogue elephants:
Powerhouse attorney Rita Hauser, the first woman to make partner at the firm Strook & Strook & Lavan, board chair of the International Peace Academy and chair of the Advisory Committee of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, was once also a top fundraiser for both Presidents Bush. But that was before the Iraq war. Now, Hauser is a key member of a high-profile team of Republicans for Obama:

Rita Hauser, a New York philanthropist who raised money for both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, is helping to organize the push to draw Republicans away from Mr. McCain and will serve as a spokeswoman for the group, alongside former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee, of Rhode Island, who was one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate and became an independent after he lost his seat in 2006.

About 20 current and former Republicans make up the group’s leadership committee, including Douglas Kmiec, a Republican who served in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan and was a supporter of Mitt Romney during the Republican primary, and Dorothy Danforth Burlin, a Washington lawyer who is the daughter of former U.S. Senator John Danforth, another moderate Republican.

A moment while I take aim: In San Marcos, California, midlife women are increasingly turning up not for tennis lessons or karate classes, but to learn how to use a bow and arrow:

Women in their 40s and 50s increasingly have been turning to archery
in the past few years to resume an active, sporting life after years of
raising children and working, [said] Alana Dunaway, a national and
world champion archer from San Marcos who teaches level III Olympic
archery at Willow Creek…. She said two to three new women per month
are showing up at her women-only classes every Monday night.

“Archery gives women an ability to compete in their 40s. Archery is
80 percent mental, and in most cases, older women feel more confident
about who they are. I think it’s a neat thing for women to know that
there’s a sport out there that they can do and do well.”

Dunaway herself fits the trend. The 46-year-old began shooting
alongside her husband 17 years ago and found she had a knack. At age
35, she began competing at tournaments and started raking in state and
national titles and setting records.

Dunaway won a world title in the Female Bowhunter Freestyle from the Field Archery Association in 2004, when she was 42.

Archery is similar to golf. It’s a skill sport more dependent on
hand-eye coordination and concentration than physical strength, said
Mark Claar, former president of the Bear State Bowhunters Club in
Escondido. And archery has another advantage.

“Archery isn’t cheap, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than golf,” Claar
said. “It’s very addictive. The big appeal is you don’t have to be at a
top-notch level to have fun doing it. It’s the, ‘Hey, I can do this’

Dunaway said that many women like archery’s
traditions and that the sport’s popularity peaks when the Olympics come
around or when movies feature characters that are archers. “It’s a
unique draw,” Dunaway said. “It’s historical. That’s a draw. And the
movies always help. I’ve had more women that were in love with Legolas
(from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie).”

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