Archive for January, 2014

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them”

As a former conservative Muslim, I still receive emails from time to time that hark back to my past. (Part of the issue is having ended up on various mailing lists….) Among the emails that I have recently received has been one from ISNA (no, not the Intersex Society of North America, unfortunately).

Give this season to ISNA…

Most of us are familiar with the concept of the “giving season,” which arrives toward
the end of each year. People find ways to be more generous and kind to others, try
to make a positive difference and contribute to organizations they believe in. For
Muslims, this is often emphasized in Ramadan, but fortunately, this time of year
allows us another similar giving opportunity.

Our wonderful supporters enable us to continue working diligently to promote a more
harmonious society, through community development, interfaith collaborations and
education. Without your support, we could not succeed.

Although 2013 is ending soon, our work continues as we set new and higher goals
for ISNA, in order to reach and impact communities further.

We need you! If you want your donation to be tax-deductible for 2013, you must make
your gift by midnight on December 31st.

Well, when I read that you could have practically knocked me over with a feather.

Because, for the last several decades, the Christmas season has basically been utilized by North American immigrant-dominated orgs in several predictable ways: (1) To remind us of all the ways that our beliefs differ from (and are superior to) those of the Christians. (2) To remind us that we absolutely must not get sucked into celebrating Christmas in any way, shape or form. Don’t put up a tree or lights, avoid work Christmas parties, try to even avoid wishing anyone a “Merry Christmas.” (3) To provide alternative, sternly pious ways for the youth especially to spend their time, by holding Islamic camps or gatherings over the holidays. (4) To rant about the empty materialism of Christmas and especially to “expose” the pagan origins of Christmas trees, Yule logs, Santa Claus, etc in shocking detail.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , ,


Q 4:34—Enough is enough

Laury’s comment on the last post pretty much wrote this post for me (thanks a lot!):

I recall when I first was confronting this abuse, M. Fadel said to me the problem in the verse is not hitting it’s authority over women. He was right, but I wasn’t there yet and needed to deal with the hitting (why God used that word was more disturbing to me at the time than why God put men in charge of women).

I know this book is going to open the conversation up significantly. She apparently has no time for apologists and sharply takes contemporary leaders to task.

Looks like an awesome book, and I can’t wait to read it. (Though it must say that it’s so sad that after all these years of Muslims in North America writing about women and Islam, that I get excited when I see something that’s actually honest instead of apologetic, because that’s just so damn rare. Honesty shouldn’t be rare—we should be able to expect it as a matter of course from our scholars and imams and academics and da’is. But unfortunately, it’s as scarce as hen’s teeth.)

But to business. Laury’s comment raises several issues for me:

  1. the question of willful blindness masquerading as “interpretation” or even as a straightforward reading of the Qur’an,
  2. the larger problem of patriarchal authority in the family, and
  3. the patriarchal authority of the “scholars” (aka men who studied for several years at the University of Medina, or for longer with shaykhs, imams, or anyone in North America who has somehow managed to become known as “shaykh so-and-so,” whatever his qualifications might or might not be).

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , ,