The debut of 'Omar,' a thoroughly American opera : NPR.

Hussein Rashid is a scholar specializing in Muslims in U.S. popular culture. Like Alryyes, he was an advisor on this opera. Rashid says that in his autobiography and other writings, Omar Ibn Said offers some coded language and certainly ambiguity in his actual beliefs. Rashid points to one chapter from the Qur'an that Said quotes in the autobiography that addresses God's power and sovereignty: the Sura al-Mulk. 

"The way I understand this, and the way several other scholars understand this," Rashid explains, "is that this is Omar talking about being enslaved, recognizing that it is other human beings playing at power, playing at having sovereignty, playing at having authority over other human beings. And he is saying, 'No, you don't actually know what power is, you don't know what sovereignty is, you don't know where my allegiance is.' And I think this is really a spiritual nourishment for Omar."