All-Male Muslim Things

This is inspired by the All-Male Panels Tumblr, which, according to the blog, documents “all male panels, seminars, events, and various other things featuring all male experts.” I urge everyone to take a look at it every now and then because it’s a breathtakingly hilarious and brilliant take on the patriarchy of male-dominated and “all-male nonsense,” to quote Kecia Ali’s article on the matter.

So, given the troubling trend of male-dominated/all-male events/conferences (see here and here, for instance), some Muslim female friends and I have been discussing the need for some space where we can document the same thing as on the above Tumblr but exclusively for Muslims. If someone wants to volunteer to create a blog for this initiative, please do; it’d be greatly appreciated! I’d do it, but I can barely manage this current blog of mine 🙂 Otherwise, I’m happy to accept whatever others find and want to share so we can post them on this page.

If you have an issue with the following and think that we need to understand the “reasons” behind why women are excluded (because it’s a well-intentioned approach, probably), you are missing the whole point. It’s about representation, about fairness, about recognition of women as scholars and leaders and authorities. It’s not just a problem facing Muslims, obviously, as the Tumblr linked above makes it clear. It’s a universally patriarchal problem. There’s absolutely no legitimate reason for having no women speakers/contributors when having a whole bunch of men; for illegitimate and unreasonable and probably false reasons, see the image on left. If the issue is that these women are unavailable, don’t have time or interest in attending, etc., you’re telling me that the organizers made a concerted effort to contact the endless number of women scholars/leaders out there, and none of them were willing to attend. This is more than unlikely.

Before we get to the collection, let me link here some of the Muslim women who have worked and are still working to correct this problem, at the very least by recognizing it and openly condemning it.

Now for the collection of male-only/all-male nonsense.

This is what I’ve got so far and would love to add more as I come across them.

All-Male Events (conferences, retreats, etc.)

(Note: The captions are on the top of each image, not below it.)

So I randomly googled “Islam events speakers,” and this page was the first result:

Muslim all-male eventsFor the below two images: An all-male conference on the Islamic educational system. Because women obviously have nothing useful to say on education, the madrasah system, and Islam. Or maybe we do and it’s mainly critical stuff, and these men won’t have that. Then again, what do I know; I’m just a woman. (Remember: I contacted the organizer for this conference, and he said to me that this exclusion was entirely his fault, that he’d been asked to include women but chose not to. He didn’t say why.)

all male panel2

Panelists at the Future of the Madrasah event at the Cambridge Muslim College in May 2015

all male panel413 bearded and blue men (not brothers), 3 faceless and pink women (2 of them sisters). Here, you can read about what happened when several Muslim women condemned this. In summary, the organizer got really defensive and angry and deleted the page with our comments where we were pointing the harms of this image and of this exclusion and lack of fair representation of Muslim women scholars. He later told me in a message that he deleted our comments because we had nothing substantial to say.

image

The following three images: A bunch of men talking about empowering women – but no need to include women speakers while doing so. So empowering. The images are from a Facebook Event page promoting an Empowerment Women event. Note, in the top posters, that the speakers are all male in the poster. The image below the posters is a disappointed response from Muslim women commenting on the lack of women speakers at a women’s empowerment event; fortunately, the organizer (a male) responded to acknowledge that, saying they’d “overlooked” it.

all male womens empowerment 2all male womens empowerment panelno more all male thingsWomen not welcome at Knowledge Retreats – being dangerously sexy and naturally seductive and all, we’d probably just distract these knowledge seekers who want some quiet and peace while learning and disseminating their patriarchal nonsense amongst themselves.

Muslim all-male events3

http://risconvention.com/retreat/scholars.html (LITERALLY 1436, folks, quite literally)

Let these righteous brothers/”famous scholars” guide you, one all-male panel at a time.


Living the Legacy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) … men only, though
(click here for their Facebook event; please contact them and tell them this is unacceptable):

another all-maleCome learn all about justice in Islam – from this all-male panel:

another all-male muslim thing1Rejuvenate, revitalize, reinvigorate. With this all-male session at ICNA.

muslim all male panelsI wouldn’t wanna miss this annual Iftar with this all-male panel:

The poster below advertises the conference as “not a typical conference,” but that’s laughable because all-male conferences are anything but atypical.

another all-male nonsenseAn all-male (scary) leaders poster …

Men Saving the World (by which I mean … Muslim men saving Sunnis attacked by non-Muslims)

11717487_10206900378448352_4168053915501951789_o 11731938_10206900378488353_841961266789500776_oAll-Male Islam (our teachers and scholars and stuff)

Zakir Naik’s favorite peeps.

muslim all-male events2

The “Orators” tab on the Islamic Research Fund (Zakir Naik’s organization): http://irf.net/orators.html

Another all-male panel on Islam. On Peace TV.

11061192_10206646098731518_5110981280371625453_o

ISB Atlanta’s way of celebrating diversity – by excluding women (of any religion) but including men of multiple. #interfaithbeforeintrafaith

Muslim all-male events4

The advisers and scholars of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta (basically, they’re all male leaders from a variety of religions): http://www.isbatlanta.org/ifsb

ICNA’s list of speakers includes 5 women, 28 men. #applause
This website‘s favorite Muslim speakers are all men.
– Speaking of all-male/male-only leadership: The 18-page letter of condemnation to Baghdadi/ISIS is signed by (at least) 126 Muslim scholars, all of them men. And Sunni. (I actually read every single signature on there.)
– Brother Junaid Ibn Amjad of Muslim Matters finds no woman worthy of inclusion in his “Top Ten Islamic Lectures” list – heck,  women aren’t even included in the “Runner-ups”! #whatsourlife
– Even Wikipedia can’t recognize more than a handful of women scholars of Islam from the last century, or “modern-Day Muslim scholars of Islam”! Farhat Hashmi, Ingrid Mattson, and Intisar Rabb are the only ones I see – from all regions. But you bet they didn’t leave out even one of the Muslim male scholars, not even the non-traditionalist ones.
– 4 of the 17 faculty members of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim college in the U.S., are female; 1 out of their 9 board of trustees is female.

All-Male (or male-dominated) Anthologies, Edited Volumes, Bibliographies

– This article by Kecia Ali (“Men, Men Everywhere”) is fantastic, and the following is quoted from it verbatim:

A study of modern Muslim intellectuals with a chapter on women, law, and society, that names only three women, none of them Muslim as far as I can tell, in an index which names 240 individuals?

Two books about Blackamerican Muslim thought and identity that do not mention Amina Wadud, the African-American Muslim thinker who has had the most significant global impact?

A book about Muslim reform that names only four Muslim women, all from Muhammad’s seventh-century community, and all but one from his household, in the main body of the work? Which segregates every book by a Muslim woman into one lengthy endnote, and says nothing about them or their authors anywhere else?

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17 Responses to All-Male Muslim Things

  1. trangwrites says:

    Yes call them out!!!

    Like

  2. Ayaz Hyder says:

    I wonder if the same could be said for engineering conferences, airline pilot conferences, or CEOs.

    Like

    • orbala says:

      Yes. There’s a whole Tumblr blog for that. See first line of this post.

      Like

    • Ayaz Hyder says:

      I am not sure how aware the compilers of this post are about the background of the organizations and events that have been mentioned here. For example, the majority of the speakers at the Cambridge Muslim College event (second event from top) have been and continue to promote Islamic scholarship among women in the UK and elsewhere. If this post is a tongue-in-cheek post then I understand but if it is meant as a serious discussion then I would suggest speaker to reps from each of the events posted and critically assessing why women were not included in the events.

      Like

    • orbala says:

      Your comment has been addressed in some of the articles referenced above. See, for example, Margari Aziza’s article above. Or my ones on this blog (like here and here: in the fist link, I discuss the WHYs and HOWs of exclusionary efforts like these – i.e., how/whether it’s subconscious, deliberate, what that means, and so on). These are men who know plenty of women scholars and leaders and experts. As the Muslim Cambridge College event’s organizer admitted to me in an email, he was asked to include women in the list of speakers but he chose not to.

      But as for the organizations doing this, in some cases, yes they’re always sexist like that (like Zakir Naik’s one); in others, not always. Point is to call Muslim leaders out on whenever they exclude women from any conversation. Doesn’t matter who they are.

      Understand that just because someone is openly pro-women leadership doesn’t necessarily mean they are not sexist or have/support a patriarchal mindset. In the inexcusable case that they don’t realize what they’re actually doing when they refuse to include Muslim women in any conversations, they need to be called out on it. They need to make every effort to correct the problem and not make the
      “mistake” again in the future. Ideally, men who recognize women as equal and complete members of society should refuse to speak at or even attend panels, conferences, other events, etc. that do not feature any or not enough females.

      Like

  3. Fritz says:

    Patriarchy is the natural state of the world and always will be. Everyone has their role. Get over it.

    Like

    • orbala says:

      That’s what men’s rights activists wish. Such a pity that such people still exist in 2015 – when’ll we move on? Why’re you scared of progress? It’s okay – just stay calm, and let us feminists take care of it; we got this ❤

      Like

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  10. My Take says:

    Hi Orbala, Yassmin Abdul-Magied from Australia would like to support you in this regard. Please see her tweet and get in touch, I think she could get some good exposure going for your website and will probably be keen to make a donation as she’s a great supporter of getting rid of male patriarchy and all-male panels. https://twitter.com/yassmin_a/status/890669060945453056

    Like

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