Libertycandidates.com has announced the winners of the 2012 Liberty Inspiration Award. 175 people were nominated for the award. 540 votes were cast (by people emailing a statement of who they nominate). One of the nominees was our own Muslim liberty activist, William Coley. Awards were given to the top 5 vote-getters, with some places having a tie. M4L’s Will Coley tied for 5th place!
Here is a PDF file showing all 540 nomination letters: http://files.meetup.com/1554800/Liberty%20Inspiration%20Award%202012.pdf
The winners are (click on their names for their website):
1st Place: Stefan Molyneux
2nd Place: Ron Paul
4th Place: Gigi Bowman
Here is a list of nomination votes for Will Coley:
I would like to cast a vote for Will Coley; he is a diligent worker for the ideals of freedom. – Chris Snyder
Will Coley with Muslims for Liberty. His work is twofold. He does lectures for Tea Party groups demystifying Sharia and Islam. He even got a council of Tea Parties in East Tennessee to vote 12 to 14 to stop attacking Islam and to even publicly oppose a “Sharia ban” bill in the Tennessee Legislature. That was how he started out, moving from there to start a classical liberal Islamic organization called Muslims for Liberty which now has chapters all around the world! It’s really awesome because a brand of Islam that embraces liberalism and the non-aggression principle has the potential to completely change the face of Islamic politics internationally and especially change things for the better in the Middle East. Classical liberalism, Coley holds, while utterly opposite of radical Islam in fact meshes excellently with classical Islam from the 12th century, before the faith went in a more authoritarian direction. I’m not a student of a Islam, so I can’t give merit or deny this claim but it is an interesting and different take on the subject. Take this HuffPostpiece into account as well. I had the pleasure of hosting Will Coley for a lecture on Islam and Liberty last March 2012. It was very interesting and several members of the MTSU Islamic student organization were in attendance and found the lecture insightful. He spoke about how classical liberalism isn’t only comparable with Islam; much of it was developed out of the Islamic legal tradition. I can’t verify this but it’s very interesting that Coley presents such a different viewpoint in the defense of freedom.
-Eric Sharp, Young Americans for Liberty State Chair for Tennessee
I’ve known Will Coley for several years now, and I’ve always been impressed by his leadership and motivational skills, as well as his genuine concern for his community. I knew him back when he was in Florida, challenging the myopic designs and unhelpful attitudes of community leaders, supported by no one but his research skills and down to Earth personality. His conversion to Islam was preceded by such an independently-gained understanding of its scholarship that he knew more about Islamic history, law, and economics than the Imams did. Like so many before him, his passion for truth and positive action was met with resistance here in Florida, but once in his home state of Tennessee, he found social and religious communities that deserved him, and since then his story is one of uninterrupted bridge-building and community education. I’ve been very pleased, but not at all surprised, to hear that Will has founded a successful libertarian Muslim organization in Tennessee. He bridges a gap between communities because he understands the values and goals they share, while working on the greater task of promoting the economic principles our country sorely needs. He has worked to prove that xenophobia has no place in liberty-loving circles, and through the authority of his historical research, has proven to many Muslims that libertarian principles are historically an important part of their tradition. Truly, to have come this far on the strength of his convictions and scholarship alone, rather than populist demagoguery or mainstream media support, definitely qualifies Will Coley for this award in my book. – Hassan Loutfi
I wish to nominate Will as I feel he has put in special effort to champion the message of peace I.e. Islam to people who are ignorant and believe that it in fact curtails people’s liberty. -Shuaib adam
I would like to vote for Will Coley to receive the Liberty Inspiration Award. I have corresponded with Will through Facebook on the topics of Libertarianism, liberty and Islam. Will is always respectful and well-spoken in his written responses to my inquiries. His knowledge of both the Constitution and Islam is quite impressive. Tireless is an appropriate word for Will, given that he posts topics for reflection at all hours of the day and night. I find Will to be one of those fascinating examples of the American experience. He truly deserves this award.
-Brady White, Respiratory Therapist, North Carolina
Will Coley has been helping the liberty movement spread into the Muslim American community where many voters are open minded. His work has been educating American Muslims on the concept of liberty and has been resolute in his effort to get American Muslims to believe in the non-aggression principle. –Mo Saymeh
I nominate William Coley, national director for Muslims4Liberty (muslims4liberty.org), for the 2012 Liberty Inspiration Award. He is an asset to the liberty movement for blazing a new path in harmonizing Islamic religious teachings with the message of liberty, non-aggression and sound money. Hailing from Tennessee, and a self-described “Muslim redneck”, Will has proven his ability to unite a diverse group of people under the liberty banner. The M4L organization continues to grow under his leadership. It has almost 1000 facebook fans, and a number of state chapters which formed around the country in 2012. Will is a long time Tea Party activist and a budding scholar who specializes in drawing parallels between Islamic theology and liberty-based principles. He confronts topics such as government over-reach and Islamophobia with the same zeal. He’s very good at cutting through the nonsense and setting the record straight. And this has given him national media attention (both positive and negative coverage). I think an award like this is well deserved. -Ramy Osman
I’ve known Will for about two years. He is inspiring to me because of his tireless efforts in grass roots activism in the liberty movement. He is a strong supporter of the Libertarian philosophy and sees many parallels between it and his personal faith. The most striking thing to me is his hard work to bridge the gap between Tea Party groups and Americans who happen to be of the Muslim faith. I, for one, had heard a lot of vitriolic speech from some Tea Party spokespeople on the media. Will saw an opportunity to educate a lot of them. He chose to confront the bigotry and rise above it. In the process, I feel that he bridged a gap between two communities, whereby I personally felt there was no way to overcome it. That in itself was inspiring. Above and beyond that, he has continuously sought to confront bigotry towards Americans who happen to be Muslims. His message always that Islamic ideals and philosophies are as American as apple pie, that we should be more educated about distinguishing the religion from the culture. America and Islam are very compatible. He also created a group called Muslims 4 Liberty, and I know that he had made some appearances on radio shows to advocate for liberty. Will is inspiring because he helps show other American Muslims that they are as much a part of this great country as anyone else. They work hard, pay taxes, obey the laws, and they defend this nation. Where many of us cowered in fear because the continual media and political assault on us, he confronted ignorance. That is why Will Coley is inspiring. We need more people like him, not just to advocate for American Islam, but to advocate for everything that is good and right about America, and to point out where America needs to grow and mature as a nation . – HK
I would like to nominate Will Coley of Muslim’s4Liberty. He is a tireless advocate and scholar on the front lines of the intellectual battle against collectivism. Coley is a specialist in Muslim theology and his reading of it includes the non-aggression principle and the importance of sound money. Whenever I see an Islamophobe slandering 1/7th of the world’s population and calling for more government intervention to “protect” us against 1 percent of the US population let will know and he proactively cuts through the nonsense to set the record straight. Will’s well-reasoned arguments and unique journey (a self-described Tennessee redneck who has found truth and liberty through his study of Islam) has gained him national media attention. First getting positive mentions and then hate from warmongering neocon media outlets (which just gives him more fuel to fire the engine of liberty).
I believe that Will Coley deserves this reward because of the hard work that he does. He is very active in his community and is a role model. He shows willingness to learn, teach, and lead. My vote goes to Will Coley.
I would like to vote for Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty for the Liberty Inspiration award. I run a podcast (currently on hiatus, but returning early in the New Year called The Side Project Freecast,) and have had Will as a guest on several separate occasions. Firstly, he knows Islam. He is a very knowledgeable individual when it comes to the history of his faith. Secondly, he can tie it into the liberty philosophy very convincingly. He turns the stereotype of the violent Muslim that the media likes to portray on its ear. Secondly, he has some harrowing stories of government meddling in his personal affairs that even the most jaded will find outrageous. Will is a good man, fighting against odds and stereotypes, and for that alone, he should get the award. –Jim Goebel
Will Coley is the founder and director of Muslims 4 Liberty at Muslims4Liberty.org which is an organization primarily of American Muslims who are committed to advancing the cause of liberty from an Islamic perspective. They push libertarian, constitutionalist and voluntaryist ideas in the Muslim community, and do outreach to other Tea Party groups. Will is a longtime activist in the Tea Party movement and strives to hold it to its libertarian roots, and resist efforts to hijack it by war mongers. In the last year Muslims 4 Liberty has moved from a small Facebook group to a national organization with chapters around the country. They’ve achieved national media attention, and launched their own silver dirham. –David
By Ramy Osman
December 25, 2012
Liberty candidates.com is commemorating their 3rd anniversary by granting a Liberty Inspiration Award (see details below) to five deserving individuals.This is an award which acknowledges the contributions of select individuals in the liberty movement who have demonstrated exceptional leadership or outreach skill.
Two notable liberty groups have taken notice of M4L and have nominated M4L’s national director William Coley for the award.
First is Silver Circle Underground who nominated Will for the award. Silver Circle underground is a group of libertarian/anarchists who are developing an independent film and graphic novel about the aftermath of a financial disaster in America caused by a corrupt Federal Reserve. Here is their nomination blurb:
Will Coley is the founder and director of Muslims 4 Liberty at Muslims4Liberty.org which is an organization primarily of American Muslims who are committed to advancing the cause of liberty from an Islamic perspective. They push libertarian, constitutionalist and voluntaryist ideas in the Muslim community, and do outreach to other Tea Party groups. Will is a long time activist in the Tea Party movement and strives to hold it to its libertarian roots, and resist efforts to hijack it by war mongers. In the last year Muslims 4 Liberty has moved from a small Facebook group to a national organization with chapters around the country. They’ve achieved national media attention, and launched their own silver dirham.
Second is Neema Vedadi, who also nominated Will for the award. Neema is one of the hosts of Freedom Feens podcast which is a weekly web radio show which discusses a wide range of topics from government over-reach to rock-n-roll. Here is his nomination blurb:
I would like to nominate Will Coley of Muslim’s4Liberty(for the 2012 Liberty Inspirations Award). He is a tireless advocate and scholar on the front lines of the intellectual battle against collectivism. Coley is a specialist in Muslim theology and his reading of it includes the non-aggression principle and the importance of sound money. Whenever I see an Islamophobe slandering 1/7th of the world’s population and calling for more government intervention to “protect” us against 1 percent of the US population, let Will know and he proactively cuts through the nonsense to set the record straight. Will’s well reasoned argument’s and unique journey (a self-described Tennessee redneck who has found truth and liberty through his study of Islam) has gained him national media attention. First getting positive mentions, and then hate from warmongering neocon media outlets (which just gives him more fuel to fire the engine of liberty).
If you want to vote for Will, send an email to email@example.com, and explain why you think he deserves the award (do not copy-paste the above nomination blurbs or it won’t count). Voting ends December 30th.
Liberty Inspiration Award Details (taken from gigibowman.com):
This is an award that will be given yearly to 5 people who showed positive effort and energy throughout the year in spreading the message of liberty. They did not have to run for office, but they did have to inspire others to step up, do something that helped to bring people together, or enlighten others by growing the liberty movement in some manner by taking on a leadership role of some sort or by creating a new platform for inspiration — whether it be media, news, music, or just speaking out in some way that may have brought about positive change.
Rules: Please email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Express why you think they should receive this award. Each person can choose up to 3 people. The comments will be listed with the winning names (anonymously if you wish; just tell me so). We will also list all Honorable Mentions and their letters as well.
Please send all submissions to the email email@example.com. Also, I do not accept “form letters” that you write up and send to all your friends to nominate you so refrain from doing this. Each individually letter will be counted. Form letters will be counted once –so don’t bother!
The winners will be announced on January 1st 2013. Their names will be listed on the www.libertycandidates.com websites for a full year as “inspiring leaders of 2012. Submissions can be sent beginning 11/29/12 and will continue through December 30th 2012.
The award will go to the Top 5 vote-getters.