I wrote the other day on some of the issues that came up in The Mad Mamluks episode on on Islamic feminism. But this here is more comprehensive and with observations from other Muslim women (e.g., Zahra Khan, the other FITNA co-founder) as well. Overall, this didn’t feel like a “conversation” at all and much more like the guests were being talked at. And, also, the title of the episode isn’t okay. It was clear the hosts had a couple of talking points (that weren’t related to all-male panels, which is what the convo was supposed to be about as discussed) – without doing any research on their part – and not really listening to what was being said. At several instances, the men got emotional/aggressive, and it was so ironic how they later then said, “Thank you for not getting emotional in this discussion.” LOL. #Patriarchy101. Below are some of the major issues with the “discussion” and with the way the men hosts behaved.
Important note: We FITNA agreed to be on the podcast with them after getting a better idea of what the discussion was going to be like/about. But that convo wasn’t made the focus and hardly any time was dedicated to it in the irritating 1.5 hours (also, who does such long podcast episodes?!).
Erasure of Women’s Expertise
I was listening to an incredibly frustrating episode on the Mad Mamluks podcast yesterday, but it inspired me to write this, so I guess my time wasn’t wasted. (I listened in support of the two women on there, both of whom I respect greatly.) The discussion was on Islamic feminism, and the men just kept coming back to Amina Wadud: But why won’t you condemn her, they asked. She led a mixed prayer! Haraam! Astaghfs! Everyone knows all the scholars of all of Islamic history agreed women can’t do that, how dare she, they claimed. “And her comment about Sayyidna Ibrahim! Astaghfs! She called him a deadbeat dad! This is a prophet, for God’s sake,” they challenged. It’s your job to distance your feminism from her, it’s your job to condemn her publicly so we know you don’t support her so that we can support you, they said.
My latest TV obsession is One Day at a Time, a sitcom about a Cuban-American family. (Not to be confused with the 1970s show with the same name.) It’s a Netflix original, and I keep reading that not enough people are watching it so it’s gonna be canceled – and it’s the best show ever, so I literally can’t even. I need more seasons.
We, the undersigned, issue this statement in solidarity with the survivors of Tariq Ramadan’s sexual violence. We believe survivors and stand with them in their fight for justice. We also acknowledge the Islamophobic mistreatment of Tariq Ramadan by the French justice system and call on them to ensure fair treatment during his trial. That said, our primary concern is the welfare of survivors whose needs have been ignored while the focus is on Ramadan’s treatment. We reject the false choice between being anti-Islamophobia and anti-gender based violence especially since the survivors in this case experience both forms of violence as Muslim women. We believe that both gendered and Islamophobic forms of violence are equally unacceptable and require urgent attention. We are disappointed to see prominent Muslim community organizations and scholars supporting Tariq Ramadan and not believing survivors. Tariq Ramadan’s mistreatment at the hands of French authorities does not excuse his crimes. The Quran asks us to stand for justice even if it’s against our own loved ones (4:135).
We call on the Muslim community to stand against sexual violence, believe survivors and withdraw their support of Tariq Ramadan.
Pre-post: I’ll be posting a brief statement tomorrow, related to this, in support of the women whom Tariq Ramadan has sexually assaulted and raped. Stay tuned. It’ll come with some signatures of support.
Qur’an 4:148: “God does not like the public mention of evil/accusation except by one who has been wronged.” (لَا يُحِبُّ اللّٰهُ الۡجَـهۡرَ بِالسُّوۡٓءِ مِنَ الۡقَوۡلِ اِلَّا مَنۡ ظُلِمَؕ)
Pre-post: Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while, beloveds. I ache to, and I have so much to share and so much to say! And it’s not even that I don’t have time: I do (I always make sure I have time for myself, alhamdulillah for this so far!). It’s other things, like the impostor syndrome eating me alive these days, so… but I hope to blog more this year, especially with a lighter teaching load this semester, and I have to update y’all with pics from my travels from last year, and my GOD, I’m learning SO much with my new teaching career I can’t wait to share all this.
So. On to this.
I was blessed enough to spend much of my winter break in Cairo. It was a complete joy. There were some unexpected surprises, like literally absolutely no harassment (I KNOW!! We hear so much about harassment in Egypt that I was shocked to not experience any at all! More on this below), and there was abundant learning and appreciating. I learned so much about myself I’m still dealing with that.
I co-wrote this statement with other Muslim women. We’re here to show our unconditional support for survivors of sexual violence (whatever their gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, ability, and other markers of othering). This statement comes with a pledge (click here for it), so please read the statement and then sign the pledge to show your support for people who have been sexually assaulted.
There’s something deeply disheartening and disempowering about constantly, almost on a daily basis, being bombarded with sexist and otherwise exclusionary images of heaven that don’t appeal to me or to most Muslim (or other) women at all. I sometimes accidentally come across sermons (of men, of course, because Muslim patriarchy doesn’t allow women to give sermons – that’s literally how much religious patriarchy hates women) where I’m given descriptions of these women, and it’s vomitrocious. And the men in these videos are watching and listening intently fucking drooling, like oh my God, what can I do to just die right this moment and go to heaven. I like how they assume or expect they’ll go to heaven, despite the shittiness of their attitude towards women. If God spares these men, I’ll be having a long conversation with Her.
Women in the Qur’an: An Emancipatory Reading
Translated from the French by Myriam Francois-Cerrah
Sqaure View, 2016. 172 pages. $19.95
A shorter version of this review is published in the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences.
Asma Lamrabet’s Women in the Qur’an: An Emancipatory Reading sufficiently fulfills its promise to offer an emancipatory approach to the Qur’an. It argues for a re-reading of the entire Islamic tradition, not the Qur’an alone, in a gender egalitarian way that embraces women’s full humanity. Despite some of its weak arguments, its overall point of women’s liberation through the Qur’an and through stories of the Prophet and its argument that the Qur’an is in fact anti-patriarchal are often well-made.