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Yasir Qadhi’s Statement on the Women’s Mosque Is Condescending to Women.


I can’t believe this needs to be said out loud.

This is a response to Yasir Qadhi’s statement on his Facebook page where he shows fake support for the women’s mosque. The saddest part is that he probably meant well; he was probably expecting a pat on the back, a nice, humble thank-you from Muslim women because he’s basically saying that “Hey, Muslim men! If y’all stop disrespecting women in the mosques, maybe they won’t go around taking matters into their hands and counter-reacting with an actual mosque of their own! So start respecting them and their space in mosques so this whole women’s mosque move can go away!” And don’t get me wrong: It’s telling that I am tempted to acknowledge what he probably thought was support for Muslim women (because Muslim men leaders rarely speak on the disrespect and humiliation that women face in mosques). But I refuse to say, “Awww, thank you so much for finally saying openly that women are treated beyond poorly in mosques!” because our leaders should be saying that anyway. Not simply in response to a women-only mosque!

Anyway, because so many Muslims are sharing his post on social media as if it’s some golden words and they’re missing the some subtle and some very obvious misogyny in almost each sentence, I figured it was time to show how basically every line of his is belittling to women. As someone said about this when we brought it up on Facebook, benevolent sexism is still sexism, Yasir Qadhi! The Fatal Feminist has already beautifully and boldly said much of what I’d want to say, and she’s shred each line of his already so I won’t repeat that (and she discusses also the problem with who his audience is – which, upon a first read, doesn’t sound problematic at all! Because it’s so natural for men to speak to other men about women, to imagine other men as in charge of women and women’s affairs, to exclude women from the conversation except to talk about them), but I’ll add some more thoughts.

I mean, c’mon, folks – this man said things like: “And most importantly, we need to tell our men that it is not THEIR business (unless a family man is dealing with his own wife/daughter) how other women dress. Let the people in charge of the masjid deal with dress codes”; and “In a day and age where our sisters are going everywhere, visible everywhere, active everywhere,…”; “Frankly, in this day and age, if a sister actually comes to the masjid (rather than going shopping or watching a movie or doing any other activity), …”; “Our sisters in faith are our mothers, wives, and daughters.” And more. See below.

But first, I need to remind our “leaders” that when you want to show support, first make sure that the way you’re doing it is actually something we women will appreciate and accept as support. You don’t get to pretend to be supportive while mocking us and our gender at the same time; that’s not support – that’s infantalization, that’s a low move to silence us, and sadly it’s done in the name of Islam. We women are smart, and we can detect misogyny. Even if you don’t mean to be misogynist, make sure that your statements won’t come off as such. Otherwise, be prepared for what you think are “counter-reactions”! Be prepared for responses like this one below where we shred each sentence of yours and tell you that we don’t appreciate it. We don’t want your support.

Second, I can imagine some Muslims, especially men and Yasir Qadhi’s students, coming and saying, “What the hell! You women are never satisfied with what we give you, even when we show support!” Well, first of all, nothing is yours to be “given” to us. Our rights and fair treatment isn’t something that you own that you choose whether and when to “give” us. Second of all, you shouldn’t be “giving” anything to us because you want a thank-you from us; it’s your moral responsibility as a Muslim to ensure that every member of the community is treated with justice and respect, and if you’re not doing it because it’s the right thing to do, don’t do it at all. Third of all, if you want us to be “satisfied” with what you “give” us, make sure it’s what we actually demand and not your wrong, egotistical idea of what we want. Consult us before going around “giving” us what you think we want! Consult us before you “show support” your way when it’s obviously the offensive way.

YQ statement

Yasir Qadhi’s statement on Facebook

Now for Yasir Qadhi’s statement. See, when I first read it, it was so condescending I couldn’t read the whole thing on the first try. When it popped up on my facebook feed again, I read a comment of Yasir Qadhi’s in which he was responding to someone who had mistakenly thought YQ was being supportive of the mosque. His comment to this commenter was: “Keep in mind that I don’t say whether this is legitimate or not.” Or something like that. Why not? Just go right ahead and say it – we all know what you’re thinking: This is SO incredibly haraam, so illegitimate, so invalid, so unacceptable for Shari’a standards! But ya Rabb, there’s nothing I can do to stop it. (No, folks, he didn’t say this; but that’s what it means when he says he’s not gonna comment on whether or not it’s an Islamically legitimate effort.)

When our sisters are deprived from the right to come to the mosques, or given sub-standard accommodations and treated disrespectfully, it is only natural that some of them will take matters into their own hands and counter-react.

Yes, the women-only mosque was created more out of necessity than anything else; it’s a response to current circumstances that keep preventing women from being respected in religious spaces. BUT let’s also acknowledge that if women wanted to have this just because, that should be acceptable, too, and they can do that, too, if they want to. Isn’t it ironic that we want everything segregated until the moment that women are in control of their own affairs and prefer a segregated space, when they themselves want it by choice rather than having it imposed on them? Suddenly, it all, including segregation, becomes debatable when it’s up to women to decide it. In fact, everything women do, want, think, etc. is up for debate, rarely with women’s own voices present, but men’s affairs are rarely debatable. We never talk about the things that men do in our communities; only what women do is haraam enough for us to be talking about it. Suddenly, when Muslim women take what misogynist-minded Muslims dismiss as “drastic measures” to demand their own space where they are actually at ease during time of worship and feel like real humans communicating with God through prayer, and they (Muslim women) do not allow for men to be present, the men are offended and feel like they have to say whether or not this is Islamically acceptable. Or legitimate. Before this time, which of our men leaders stood up to remark that women’s treatment in mosques and other religious settings is illegitimate, unacceptable, haraam, wrong? That’s undebatable. Women’s spaces in mosques are humiliating, and we are constantly dehumanized. How many men leaders stood up to recognize that before women started their own mosque? How convenient that suddenly, those like Yasir Qadhi are now recognizing what we women have been saying for decades. What a validation of our experiences! Everyone knows our experiences aren’t real until a man leader stands up and say, “Hey, y’all, actually it turns out that it’s real because why else would they be creating this mosque, ai?”

Some of that counter-reaction will be legitimate, and some illegitimate.

But of course. And Yasir Qadhi won’t tell us exactly which parts are legit and which aren’t in this statement because he needs to pretend that he’s being supportive, and if he was actually explicitly saying that, hey, having a women-only mosque is Islamically illegitimate, we women would have a fit! We’d counter-react one more time! So he conveniently doesn’t point out whether it’s legit or not – or which parts of the women’s mosque are legit and which aren’t. Besides,  get real – you can’t refuse to condemn misogyny where it is so obviously practiced (just because the person being misogynist is your close friend) and then think you get to decide whether what we’re doing is legitimate or not. (Obviously, I’m referring to Yasir Qadhi’s support for Abu Eesa’s rape, FGM, child bride jokes on International Women’s Day. That’s to say, we can’t really expect much from a man who finds nothing wrong with such misogynist jokes. But more on this below.)

But Yasir Qadhi goes on to say:

Rather than worry about what various counter-reactions have been and how legal they are, I believe we need to concentrate on the root cause of the problem. It is an undeniable reality that women’s prayer spaces (in those masjids that actually have them – for quite a few masjids still don’t even have such spaces) are less accessible, less clean, and less maintained than the men’s sections. Women have to deal with crying children, bad microphones, no visual access to the Imam/khatib, dank hallways to get in and out, and many other issues. Perhaps the worst issue of all: too many of our brothers comment on what they assume is inappropriate clothing when our sisters come to the masjid. This makes many sisters feel uncomfortable simply coming to the masjid.

Note that “the problem” he’s referring to in “the root cause of the problem” is the “problem” of the women’s mosque. It’s a problem.

And, yes! Finally, a man leader validates everything we women have been saying for decades! But, you know, the saddest thing here is that a lot of Muslim women were sharing this status of his left and right on Facebook and other social media as if it’s the best thing to be happening to Muslim women. Because he’s finally recognizing that we do have a problem in mosques. BUT the problem with this is that let’s face it: he wouldn’t be saying this unless he wasn’t confronted with the women’s mosque. Now with a women’s mosque, he faces a dilemma: He has to acknowledge that we’ve got a problem in general mosques, and he has to address it because it’s a part of the reason the mosque exists in the first place. God forbid our misogyny-supporting men leaders ever stand in solidarity with us Muslim women when we scream out hearts out about how our communities refuse to recognize our concerns!

In a day and age where our sisters are going everywhere, visible everywhere, active everywhere, the BEST place for them to be is in the masjid, praying to Allah, and being with fellow Muslims, and learning about their faith.

Oh my God @ the first part here. I’m going to quote The Fatal Feminist here:

Visible everywhere? Visible everywhere? It’s bad enough that we’re “going everywhere” and are—gasp!—“active everywhere,” but to top it off we’re visible everywhere! Can you believe us? Can you believe the nerve of us?

Yasir Qadhi goes on:

Rather than believe that they should stay home, we need to contextualize our environment and ENCOURAGE our sisters to come to the most blessed places in their cities: their mosques. We need to make sister’s facilities as neat and clean and well-lit and accessible as the brothers. We either put them in the same hall as the men (as was the case in the time of the Prophet (SAW), behind the men), or provide state of the art AV access to the lectures/khutbah. We need separate rooms (also with AV) for sisters with young infants so that others can also pray and listen in peace.

The Fatal Feminist responds to this quite well, too. Note the first-person and second-person uses here. Women are “they” and men are the default “we,” and the imagined audience is obviously men. There’s also a complete lack of suggestion that we work with Muslim women to address the problems they face in mosques.

I cannot emphasize enough how frustrating it is that people are addressing the dehumanization of women in mosques in response to the women-only mosques. Again, men aren’t invited, and so they’re gonna go ahead and say, “Fine, fine, FINE, ladies! We agree you have it bad in mosques. Let’s talk about whether your efforts are legit or not, though …”

And most importantly, we need to tell our men that it is not THEIR business (unless a family man is dealing with his own wife/daughter) how other women dress. Let the people in charge of the masjid deal with dress codes.

dot dot dot. “Unless a family man is dealing with his own wife/daughter” because men obviously have a natural responsibility to stop women from making their own choices, wearing whatever they are comfortable wearing and want to wear. Their fathers and daughters have every right to step in, interfere, and remind them who has the ultimate say in a woman’s life: her husband and/or father. Also, let “the people in charge of the masjid deal with dress codes” – knowing that the dress code is going to be typical, rigid, misogynist demands that we women are absolutely sick of.

Frankly, in this day and age, if a sister actually comes to the masjid (rather than going shopping or watching a movie or doing any other activity), we should WELCOME her, have the sisters get to know her, and make her feel special. Her priority is not the scarf on her head but her attachment to Allah. Once she feels that attachment, the rest will follow.

Okay. Rather than going shopping or watching a movie or doing any other activity …  God forbid a man speak about women and their spirituality and closeness with God without bringing up some stereotypical image of us … .

Our sisters in faith are our mothers, wives, and daughters. How can we treat them any less than we expect to be treated ourselves in this regard? And how can we deprive them of coming to the masjid when our Prophet (SAW) explicitly forbade it in his own time, and our time requires even more spirituality and education for them?!

God forbid we be anything but some man’s mother, wife, daughter, sister. God forbid we be our own person, our own individual. God forbid we be humans with no ties to someone else, especially a man (because let’s face it: the “our” in every sentence of his in his statement refers to men).


And Abu Eesa’s worshipers denied and continue to deny that he said any of this. That he joked about these realities.

P.S. Yasir Qadhi is one of the misogyny-supporting leaders because did y’all see him supporting Abu Eesa last year when the latter told rape jokes and refused to acknowledge that he had made a lot of harmful statements about and to women? Yasir Qadhi responded to the “controversy” by 1) claiming that Abu Eesa had never even made any jokes about rape, FGM, and other issues that are quite real and intimate to so many women around the world; 2) he implied there was a context to those jokes (!!! See Abu Eesa’s post with its “context” to the left). It hurts my fingers and eyes, but I’m gonna provide a link to that article of his: here. So, yes, when a community leader like Qadhi refuses to condemn a rape apologist like Abu Eesa, what makes us think we can expect any real support from him? Then again, Yasir Qadhi really has come an extremely long way in supporting Muslim women! I mean, his lectures from years ago are so offensive to women — and he literally says things like women are not allowed to work — but hey, whatevz; we’re all growing and learning, and few of us are the same people we were years ago. Let’s hope that he realizes his error in his statement on the Women’s Mosque, too, and in the future makes better, actual efforts in showing support and doesn’t belittle us while doing so.

Categories: Death to patriarchy, feminism, forbidden things, gender, God, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, Islam, Just stop, let's talk privilege, Muslim things, why we need feminism

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30 replies

  1. They want us to be segregated when they can supervise us… it is dangerous and ‘illegitimate’ when we want to be spiritually safe, as a community of women, without their judgement and ‘watchful eye’. (You see I do not consider a woman run women’s mosque as ‘segregation’; segregation is done TO you, you cannot do it to yourself) What do they imagine what we will do? Do they believe us women cannot be trusted talking to Allah swt without them?
    I for one welcome a women’s mosque. And if it forces ‘mainstream’ mosques to lift their game, a good bonus. I welcome a women’s mosque as a place of spiritual safety; where a woman or girl can explore her connection with Allah swt without barriers; structural or otherwise.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Precisely! I also support the women-only mosque initiative for many reasons, including on the basis that it’s one of the fewest spaces out there where women who have extremely traditional ideas of gender interactions in Islam will feel most comfortable (assuming that they believe women-only mosques have an Islamic basis to begin with, though). Think of, for example, weddings. Gender segregated ones can put hijabi women in an uncomfortable position where they really, really want to show off a nice hairstyle and their beautiful clothes because they finally have an opportunity to do so (this might sound superficial, but I don’t think it is), but because men are present, they end up not being able to do so. This comfort is so important, even if it exists because of patriarchal expectations of gender interactions. So if it’s something that can empower, put at ease, and create space for at least a few women, it’s worth it. Because it’s SO disempowering, so spiritually destructive to go to a mosque and not be treated like a full, real living being and to be silenced or criticized or told we’re wrong and being too demanding when we point out that the women’s area/entrance at the mosques we attend are disrespectful, dehumanizing even.

      Did you see their response to the question of dress code in the mosque? Oh my God – it makes you cry thinking how welcoming and inclusive they are! I want to go to LA just for this!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! The dress code response made me weep too! Totally beautiful.


  2. I think Yasir Qathi meant well and he has changed a lot on some issues — for example on the attitude towards Shia but Muslim men and theologians like him still have a long way to go in accepting women’s autonomy and independent personhood. Unfortunately Yasir Qadhi still maintains a the traditional argument of men being the ‘one in charge’ of women. This video about what women need to know about men is really distressing — even to the extent that a wife should not correct her husband if he takes the wrong direction while driving because it would be disrespectful


    • Yeah, patriarchy, too, (once) meant well. Most sexist, misogynist people often claim to mean well – and that’s just the worst kind of sexism/misogyny/patriarchy; it’s a huge part of what makes it so condescending, too.

      The claim that he probably meant well has been addressed above – as has been the observation that his views have changed on a lot of issues over the years.
      Still doesn’t change the fact that what he said was belittling to women.

      But dang… not even correcting hubby when he’s driving in the wrong direction?! That’s a whole new level of misogyny. I’ve officially heard everything now.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Also, note how subtle his sexism is (except for the obvious parts like “unless a man’s dealing with his wife/daughter”). It’s so easy to miss misogyny when it’s wrapped in pretty words like “yeah, what y’all are going through, beloved sisters/wives/mothers/daughters of ours, is really wrong”!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Good article, I don’t buy his phony act.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How about the hadith about making 70 excuses before judging anyone? Yeah….I think this may be a good time to apply that.


  5. I think you are trying to make a big mountain out of a molehill. Sh Yasir Qadhi has not made a statement on if the women’s mosque is legal or illegal from an Islamic point of view. He is asking for better treatment of women in mosques. Surely you can support that? Rather, I see here a desperate attempt to read in something that is not there.

    The fact that a lot of women have shared and liked his post (and far more than the minute number of women who opposed it, restricted to just you and a few of your friends) shows that most Muslim women get it.

    Lot of imams HAVE stood up for women before the women’s mosque. In the US it has been Imam Webb and in Canada we have mosques that have equal prayer spaces, such as Sh Kutty’s mosque IIT. While many do not have equal spaces, it is folly to claim NO ONE cared about women’s spaces before the Women’s Mosque.


    • And I think you commented without reading the post. LOL @ being told, by a man no less, that I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. Thankfully, I’ve prepared myself for responses like that from men like you and so I expect no better. Always a classic patriarchal move when a man steps in to give an opinion that has *nothing* to do with him, never will, and never has because he has no idea what, O I don’t know, say a woman’s area in a mosque is like – or what sexism is like. Men telling us what’s relevant and what’s not, what we should be focusing on and what not, what’s important *to us women* and what’s not …

      I’ve already addressed why Muslims are sharing that post of his left and right – it’s the charm of subtle sexism that’s so natural to so many of our “scholars” who know how to fool their audience.

      Also, why do I get the feeling you (individual you) are always in a competition with us (a collective group of, say, feminists)? Like, everything for you is, “The majority doesn’t agree with you, so you all lose, you angry feminists!” It’s about the majority for you, as though you’re right because the majority is necessarily and always right. As if it’s even about being right and wrong. Stop competing with us. Progression and change always win; you can’t compete with that, bruh.

      But I’m SO glad to hear you’ve been following Imam Webb’s stuff, though – excellent progress because he’s got a lot to teach sexist Muslim men out there. Especially a recent article of his on how we try too hard to be perfect.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ukh..

      >Mountain of a Molehill
      Yes, a woman [or any identity orbala has, im sorry if i get it wrong] addressing the sexism of our “imams” is making a mountain of a molehill, but the outrage of women having their own segregated spaces under their own comfort is a legit issue. Try again harder.

      > Most Muslim women get it
      They were pressured to by the fact he is some Imam that they have to agree without objection. If you don’t like some Imam’s post or words you are in the ‘wrong direction’ according to ppl like you. women are constantly being looked down upon for having some individuality in Muslim communities and now they are pressured. I’m sure many men from Japan “get it” that they have to have a high ranking job and business enough to sustain his family, but when he cant reach out this expectation, fails and has no freedom of his own individuality most jump to their deaths. You are doing something God has made equal to burying a daughter alive, OPPRESSING WOMEN.

      > the equal space thing
      equal space =/= equal treatment.
      Im not bothered explaining further.


    • Thank you for making my job so much easier, Actual Anonymous! 🙂 Misogynists aren’t worth dealing with, but then I sometimes feel like maybe someone actually seeking to help promote positive change in our society for women and minorities will come across it and benefit from our tiring exchanges with misogynists. So thank you for your words!

      Also, lolz @ “most Muslim women get it” … people who appeal to the majority = right logic need to be reminded that once upon a time, the “majority” in America didn’t believe women should having the right to vote … and that slavery was acceptable. Besides, women have internalized misogyny; in many families, it’s the women themselves enforcing and reinforcing misogynistic and patriarchal demands on their daughters. Anyone thinking this means it’s not misogyny needs to go read the plentiful of scholarship on this subject. This (il)logic is just so shallow I don’t even know what to do with it.

      P.S. Yes, I identify as a female and a woman.


    • Yes! awfully sad that even women are accepting misogyny as normal. It seems like some men will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to fulfil their greed.

      Don’t let Misogyny keep on bullying you, stand strong!


  6. My comments on some “gems” by mr. Qadhi:

    “And most importantly, we need to tell our men that it is not THEIR business (unless a family man is dealing with his own wife/daughter) how other women dress. Let the people in charge of the masjid deal with dress codes.

    What he basically is saying is that there is nothing wrong with judging & lecturing women about the way they dress in principle, except that it must be done by the pertinent “authority”. So it’s ok if a “family man” tells “his” daughters and wives what to wear, and that the board of the masjid lectures women about their clothes. Right.

    “Frankly, in this day and age, if a sister actually comes to the masjid (rather than going shopping or watching a movie or doing any other activity………..”

    And there comes the binary again…… though a woman can’t enjoy shopping and going to the movies AND visiting the masjid. Because these activities are mutually exclusive. And of course, women are basically only interested in shopping, so if a woman visits the masjid, that makes her SO special……….

    And the sad & tricky thing is, if one would read this text by Qadhi, it would seem quite reasonable & positive.

    But, like my dear dad always as, there’s the text, and the subtext. The friendly-seeming words & the implications.

    The condescending tone, the way he talks about women in the third pronoun, defining women only as sisters, daughters, wives from MEN.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Rather than worry about what various counter-reactions have been and how legal they are, I believe we need to concentrate on the root cause of the problem.”

    And here he implies that the women’s mosque isn’t “legal” and is “a problem”.

    But there is an even more troubling aspect to his rhetorics. His real problem doesn’t seem to be the fact that women are treated badly in mosques, but the “counter-reactions”, and that is why women should be treated better, and not just BECAUSE women deserve respect & equal rights in the masajid.

    “WE either put THEM……..”

    This is so condescending, so degrading that I can’t even begin to state all that is wrong with it. Something similar happened to me just today.

    I’m black and Afro-Carribean; the grandmother of my grandfather was a slave when she was a child.

    Today, I went to a homework-institute to be tutored for European Law.

    Before class started, there were a bunch of white middle-class students talking at a table, and I sat there while waiting. One of these students, a man, talked about slavery and said that in 1830, “people” (white people, ofcourse) realized that “THEY” (the enslaved Africans) “were people”.

    I sat there feeling angry and hurt, but not knowing how to express that feeling. Because by his words, I, a descendent of enslaved Africans, was relegated to the ‘THEY”.

    As though I didn’t exist, sitting there with him (and them) on that very same table. While he made his remark, he also glanced at me, swiftly, as though he was searching for some kind of validation from me. I returned his glance, but didn’t say a word.

    This is what a micro-agression is like, in this case, a racist one, and Qadhi does the very same thing in his article.

    Come to think of it, I would have had more respect for Qadhi if he simply stated wether he thinks that the women’s mosque is “(il)legal’, and why.

    But instead, he pussyfoots arround it, refuses to answer that central question, so that he will still be respected by both the conservative male crowd and also by the women who are not a proponent for a women’s mosque and female leadership, but do think that the patriarchal practises should be relaxed somewhat.


  8. Something which is also interesting, is the double talk of Yasir Qadhi during the Doha debates.

    He and Asra Nomani (amongst others) debate about the question wether a Muslim woman should have the right to choose to marry whoever she wants, including a non-Muslim. (See:

    First, he claims that a woman that thinks she should marry whoever she wants, including a non-Muslim “shouldn’t call herself a Muslim”. (For his literal words, check the film, but given the context, that’s exactly what he means)

    Later on, he modifies his statement and says that if a Muslima wants to marry a non-Muslim, or a woman, she can do that, but “should leave Islam out of it”.

    And then, when the Syrian imam and member-of-parliament says that a Muslim woman can marry a Christian man if he respects islam, the Prophet and believes that Muhammad is a prophet, that’s enough……… then Yasir Qadhi is quickly to say that if a Christian accepts Muhammad as a Prophet “then he is a Muslim”.

    So now, all of a sudden, only the shahada is the litmus test of Muslimness.

    Also note the male privilege: A Christian MAN who acknowledges Muhammad pbuh as a prophet, is a Muslim, but a Muslim WOMAN who ONLY denies the classical rule that Muslim women can’t marry non-Muslims………..isn’t a Muslim.

    I’m very interested to see how scholars like Hamza Yusuf and Yasir Qadhi would react confronted with critical questions about the issues I just raised above.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. And about Qadhi “meaning well” – The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL. Just going through your comments. Thank you for each one! And for sharing so much with me. I’ll respond to each as I go through them.
      But, hey, me and The Fatal Feminist (Nahida) are really jealous that you know/have ties with the mind behind the Sober Second Look blog. You win at life.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hahaha, well, I don’t know her personally, but am a big fan of her blog and was delighted to see that she reposted a post of mine. 🙂

    And my “jealousy” is that you’re doing a PhD in Islam & Gender. I study law now and have studied Arabic for 3 years (nope, not finished it due to many reasons), but when I finish my bachelor inshallah I want to do something with Islamic Studies and Gender, since my heart really lies there.

    Am looking forward to your replies! Oh yes, I also love your and Nahidas blog, mostly for your fierce feminism and antiracism & love for Islamic Feminism.

    Wa salam & Khuda Hafiz. (Another Persian/Urdu expression I love)


  11. Just yesterday, the 20th of April, I experienced up close & personal what happens when a woman fights gender discrimination in the masajid.

    Here is an English piece I wrote about it:

    Today, I have been bullied, threatened and intimidated by the chair man of the board of the Djame Masdjied Taibah – Moskee Taibah in Amsterdam.
    I prayed in the back in the musalla/main hall, which is also the men’s hall. I do that regularly. One of my reasons for doing that is that the womens room is dirty, dusty and that the loudspeaker doesn’t work.
    They told me not to do that before, and I have told them for years to improve the womens room. I also always greated them cortously and politely explained them why I did that, complete with ahadith from the Prophet, may Allahs blessing & forgiveness be upon him.
    Today, I started praying and one of the men there starting talking to me while I was praying. I ignored him and went further with my prayers. Then, some of them fetched the board chairman, who told me to go away. When I refused, whilst explaining him why, he started to yell “go away!” at me, while pointing at the door. When I told him I wouldn’t, he yelled at me: “You’ll see how you will be dragged away!” He even had the audacity to call the police, so I had to leave.
    But I did tell him : “You threatened me today and I’ll leave it at that, but if you touch me or ever threaten me again, I’ll file an official complaint against you.”
    The police officer sided with them immediately. Yes, he did let me and the chairman clairify our points of view, but took their side.
    Even though I know a lot about the patriarchy reigning in most mosques, and I also know about police abuses and their often siding with the status quo, I never thought they’d go this far. They chair man also told me that I wasn’t welcome in the masjid anymore.
    This is exactly the way that women are bullied out of the masjid and out of the Ummah.
    It’s bizarre actually, that a woman is removed from the mosque, because she performs prayer, the main reason for any mosque to exist anyway. But they haven’t heard the last of me, and I’m going to either file a complaint or expose them publicly, so help me God. This patriarchy and misogyny has GOT to end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You were virtually police escorted from a masjid in Amsterdam? Ya Allah, that is so disgusting. And for performing salat…. Maybe a big fat lawsuit would change their minds I don’t know but that’s awful. Totally shameful

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the support, sister! I already wrote them an open letter, which I published on Facebook. The post above is also on the Side Entrance blog:

    More is coming, so stay tuned……..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Here is a very good letter about Abu Eesa & rape culture amongst Muslim communities:


  14. O, too bad! Then I’ll try to post it as a comment.


  15. And here it is! Good thing that I always copy-paste the full texts of articles in my files.


    Dear Absolutely Everyone in the Muslim Community:
    What does it take for our scholars, thought leaders, and community shepherds to understand that gender-based violence is a form of institutionalized oppression – one that belongs on the list of every Imam’s duas at the end of every communal prayer?
    How long does it take to get an institutional response to “jokes” made by a public scholar that perpetuate rape culture? Does the adab (Islamic etiquette) of not humiliating one man in a position of authority who has publicly made oppressive, mean-spirited statements supersede the infliction of debilitating psychological triggers and post traumatic stress (PTSD) on countless others? Does tiptoeing around an individual teacher and the institutions that he is affiliated with rise above the psychological health and safety of our communities and those who follow his guidance as his students?
    And, what does it take to stop silencing women and men who take on the necessary burden of broadening the scope of our communal priorities?
    Unfortunately, the most recent incident of a public scholar making jokes about gender based violence as an attack on International Women’s Day (the Abu Eesa incident) and the aftermath of responses and non-responses has demonstrated that a lot of work is yet to be done in order for our communities to prioritize the everyday oppression of gender-based violence and rape culture. Since this is a teachable moment, let’s get some statistics out of the way. Do not skip over this section. If we were ready to skip over the numbers, this letter would not be necessary today.
    Gender-based violence affects people of all cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds. A survey of 801 American Muslims found that 31% reported experiencing abuse within an intimate partner relationship and 53% reported experiencing some form of domestic violence during their lifetime. (Peaceful Families & Project Sakinah 2011 DV Survey)
    Ready for some more? Every 2 minutes another American is sexually assaulted. Over 400,000 women are sexual assaulted each year in the UK. Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.*
    Here is some information on PTSD that you should probably know too. The terminology of ‘triggers’ is based on research and studies on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Behaviors and situations (including jokes about violence against women) can ‘trigger’ flashbacks to traumatic events, and other unwanted symptoms like panic attacks and the compulsion to self-harm. Research has demonstrated that these triggers can lead to people becoming incredibly socially isolated, as they attempt to protect themselves from distressing situations, experiences and behaviors. It can also lead to the voices of survivors being silenced, as taking part in discussions can be too distressing. So a single “joke” or off-color comment, can devastate a survivor or co-survivor’s ability to get through the day, to focus on their studies, to excel at work, to be engaged parents, to fulfill their roles in society. Trigger effects are not due to being overly sensitive and they are not the result of people being weak. Just like soldiers of war, survivors of rape and other forms of gender-based violence can suffer long-term neurological impacts after traumatic incidents. So in the least, joking about oppression of any sort is and should be intolerable in any professional or personal capacity.
    I would be happy to continue this teachable moment, but I’ll leave some of the fun for another day.
    Now that we are all on the same page about why this is no laughing matter or the case of a bunch of overly liberal people being overly sensitive, why does this happen? What in our broader culture allows men in positions of leadership to get away with this behavior? What in our institutional structures makes our leaders prioritize institutional branding and the adab of dealing with a public individual over oppressive humor that inflicts real harm upon our own people?
    I’m happy to stand corrected, but my two cents are that so much of our institutional culture caters to giving men in positions of power what they want. At times, this is prioritized even higher than the prophetic goal of pursuing individual and societal excellence as a means of worship.
    “He was just joking. He makes other off-color jokes too. He’s normally not like that. They are just feminists. These are just words.” These were all reactions seen and heard in the aftermath of the Abu Eesa incident. Pretty quickly, one can see how the insidiousness nature of a base level tolerance gives permission to move to the next level of societal harm, one in which a woman’s worth is consistently diminished and utterly ignored. In other words, what we see here is a cultural spectrum of actions in which a fun-times-let’s-keep-it-real-for-the-young-people scholar can spew misogynist feces at thousands of followers on one end and we have the deafening apologetic silence of many of our religious and community leaders on the other end. What worries me the most is the latter end. It is the silence of our scholars and institutional leaders that implicitly encourages this entire spectrum of sickening actions to thrive and never die off.
    Chicken or the egg, either way you slice it, this is cultural sickness.
    So while I don’t have enough space or energy at the moment to fully discuss how to address this cultural malaise, I can begin to address what I think are a few key points. I hope that the conversations that have been started by so many others continue to build on this very initial list of how to move forward.
    1. Community accountability and institutional responses not only matter – they are necessary.
    Community accountability has the potential to create real change. Stop using silencing words to mute critics of those who deserve admonishment. The responsibility to stand up for a community-wide harm far supersedes the public admonishment of one who made public actions. Scholars: there is an urgency to speak up and stand up. As you continue to shepherd our flocks, note that the moment is today, not tomorrow. Students and community members: demand that those that we look up to and those that we turn to for guidance educate themselves on this subject that silently impacts so many in our communities. Demand that our leaders stop being silent. As a reminder, at least 1 in 4 women that you come across today are survivors of sexual violence.
    It would be unwise of me to speak about community accountability without at least flagging a few guiding principles (note, this isn’t an exhaustive list) to keep in mind while doing this important work:
    • Women’s voices and experiences must be central to this work and to informing this work.
    • The issue of race and intersectionality matters both as co-forms of oppression and due to the fact that marginalized peoples are disproportionately affected by gender based violence.
    2. Stop joking about oppression against women.
    Making “jokes” about rape and gendered violence is a choice. Civily admonishing someone about a terrible choice made in public is not bad adab. What is bad adab is making space for the sensitivity of the one who makes rape jokes somehow equally sacred alongside women’s actual humanity and physical sanctity.
    3. Stop attacking those who are brave enough to speak up about this disgusting behavior.
    So while we’re at it, I have more experience with complex institutional strategy and organizational responses, than you have being a woman. So stop silencing me and stop silencing my esteemed sisters, who have every right to share their perspective and expect an appropriate institutional and community-based response.
    A general rule of thumb my parents taught me: if you throw vomit and feces at people, expect to receive a response. When people, particularly women, speak up in civil formats (i.e., articles, blogs, social media campaigns), they’re met with dismissal, condescension, and the sometimes implicit/sometimes explicit, message that these women are entering territory that they should keep out of. “You, evil, maniacal feminists, you’re starting an east/west fight.” “You silly bloggers, you don’t even realize the mess you’re making!” “You-Trix-are-for-kids-ladies, why are you ruining the brand of the XYZ Institute?!”. All that to say, women, you are not welcome here. That’s messed up and ridiculous. I’m not a scholar of Islam by any means, but even I know that’s not prophetic in nature and it is not the example of some of the most important women in Islamic history.
    4. More on community accountability: support grassroots campaigns that are working towards change.
    Historically speaking and currently, our broader American community has been able to effectively use grassroots social justice campaigns to make change. From the participation of Muslims in America’s civil rights struggles to more recent efforts to combat institutionalized Islamophobia, I can think of numerous instances where boycotts, social media campaigns, and other forms of grassroots actions have impacted change on a number of fronts. Similarly, we need to be willing to support more of the same strategic actions as a means to address rape culture and gender based violence.
    With all due respect, I for one, can not and will not participate in supporting an institution, other scholars, or conferences that continue to affiliate themselves with an individual who has relentlessly caused trauma and pain. Putting pressure on our own institutions and community leadership is a mechanism to shake up our communal priorities and we should not be afraid to use it.
    So, my people, what does it take to shame our community into action? What keeps me hopeful is the knowledge that there are a lot of wise people out there who will keep at the struggle to address this complicated question. What I also know is, as my dear scholar sister, Yasmin Mogahed, once eloquently pointed out in a webinar on domestic violence, “Sabr (patience) is not suffering in silence.”
    * See more at

    Samar Kaukab Ahmad is the Director of Research Strategy and Operations at the University of Chicago (Arete, Office of the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories). She is also a board member at Heart Women and Girls and the former Executive Director of Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.”


You're welcome to share your thoughts - but I don't accept bigotry and don't publish all comments <3

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