City of Brass

City of Brass


International Women’s Day: They Speak for Themselves, in America and Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is International Women’s Day 2011 – and in the twitter age, the best way to take the global pulse of the event is via hashtag, specifically #internationalwomensday.

a long road aheadThe most important event occurring today is in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt – where a demonstration of Egyptian women is out in force to assert women’s rights and make sure that teh revolution doesn’t ignore them. In the wake of Lara Logan’s assault on Liberation Day, there has been a lot of justified concern that the revolution will leave women behind. Pakinam Amer (@pakinamamer), an Egyptian writer and journalist who was a key voice on Twitter during the revolution, and another woman @Egyptocracy are at the rally right this moment and her tweets are courageous, and depressing. In fact they just tweeted that there is so much harassment from men who are counter-protesting, that the women are abandoning the square out of concern for their safety. If the women in my family were attending that rally, I’d have gone with them. It’s clear that the revolution has a long way to go. 

But let’s not forget women in America, either, I want to highlight a new book being released in May, called I Speak For Myself, a collection of essays by American muslim women.

From the book’s website:

isfmyselfReaders of I Speak for Myself are presented with a kaleidoscope of stories, woven together around the central idea of limitlessness and individuality. A common theme linking these intimate self-portraits is the way each woman uniquely defies labeling, simply by defining for herself what it means to be American and Muslim and female.

This book serves as a source of inspiration and education for people of other faiths who are interested in learning more about what it is like to be Muslim in America, as well as Muslim women themselves. Some of the issues explored include the balance of Western values with Islamic ones; whether adopting the veil can be an obstacle in the professional arena; expressing oneself as a Muslim within society; and political engagement.

What makes the book notable is that it isn’t a defensive reaction to Islamophobia, but a genuine positive expression of identity. It’s value in combating stereotype, and asserting the role of American muslim women as American women, is of course going to be indispensable. But it’s not out to serve a specific political agenda or be part of the muslim political narrative. It’s just women, speaking for themselves. It’s a brilliant concept and long overdue, and is being recognized for it – including plaudits from Queen Noor of Jordan and an invitation from Farah Pandith at the State Department.

Also, I should mention that one of the editors is my sister, and the other is an old, dear friend! But that just means I’m more objective about how awesome the book is, because really, who wants to admit their kid sister ever did anything worthwhile? Winking smile

Seriously. Go pre-order the book now. And happy International Women’s Day!



  • Raoul

    3 Media Narratives About The Middle East You Should Defend Against.
    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2011/03/3_media_narratives_about_the_m.html

  • Raoul

    Every few months, we are presented with media reports about Jewish women rescued from their Muslim husbands in the Palestinian Authority or within Israel.
    The stories are always similar. The women were tortured by their husbands, often locked in their homes or under constant guard by members of their husbands’ families. Either with or without the help of their Jewish families, they reached out to Yad L’Achim which rescues Jewish women and their children from Muslim husbands. Yad L’Achim volunteers plan and carry out often dangerous rescue operations and bring these women and their children to safety.
    In January, Channel 10 presented live footage of one such rescue. Viewers saw relatives of a mother of four named Dana waiting anxiously at the Erez checkpoint as she and her children fled her husband and his family in Gaza and took their first steps of freedom.
    During their courtship, Dana’s husband showed her every courtesy. After their marriage, he began regularly beating her and kept her under around the clock surveillance. A visit to Yad L’Achim’s website makes clear that her story is anything but unique.
    Yad L’Achim’s work in saving Jewish women from violent Muslim husbands is especially notable given the nature of the organization. It is an anti-missionary haredi organization led by Rabbi Dov Lipshitz. It is not feminism that motivates its members to save these women. It is Jewish law. And specifically, the halachic command of the ransoming of Jewish hostages. According to the organization, it carries out scores of rescue missions like the one that rescued Dana every year.
    The question naturally arises, why do haredim dominate what by rights ought to be a field occupied by secular feminists? Why aren’t Israeli and American Jewish feminists at the forefront of efforts to save these women from their violent husbands? Where, for instance, is the New Israel Fund? Its website brags, “The New Israel Fund founded or funded most of Israel’s women’s rights organizations and networks.”
    Obviously Yad L’Achim, which defends these women’s right to live without fear is a women’s rights group. So why doesn’t NIF fund it? Yad L’Achim and other religious groups have been pilloried with allegations of racism in recent months for their public calls for Jewish girls and women not to date Arabs. In principle, these attacks seem fair. Blanket denunciations of Jewish- Muslim dating and intermarriage are problematic, even if they are justified from a religious perspective.
    But whether one agrees or disagrees with the religious precepts that guide Yad L’Achim’s actions, the fact is they are not saving a principle. They are saving women and children. Shouldn’t that be enough to earn them the respect of the Left that is supposed to be motivated by concern for the weak and downtrodden? IN HER interview with Channel 10, Dana said that in Gaza, “what they do is curse the Jews 24 hours a day.”
    The fact is that both misogyny and Jew-hatred are facts of life throughout the Muslim world. This state of affairs renders marriage to Muslim men a particularly dangerous prospect for Jewish women.
    But the feminists throughout the Jewish world are silent on this issue. And this isn’t surprising. The egregious mistreatment of Jewish women by their Arab husbands involves two issues that the Left – which encompasses most feminist groups – is intent on ignoring: Islamic misogyny and Islamic Jew hatred. Just as the Left ignores, underplays, trivializes or justifies the fact that hatred of Jews is the most universal sentiment in the Muslim world today, so it systematically ignores, underplays or trivializes the endemic brutalization of women and girls throughout the Islamic world.
    Take a purportedly feminist discussion of the impact of the Arab revolt on the position of women in the Arab world from ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour on Sunday. In a segment that lasted roughly 15 minutes, Amanpour said essentially nothing about the appalling lives of women and girls under Islamic law.
    When Newsweek editor Tina Brown mentioned “the barbaric custom of child brides,” in Yemen, Amanpour didn’t ask her to elaborate. In accordance with that Yemeni custom, little girls are routinely married off to grown men.
    When Iraqi women’s rights activist Zainab Salbi noted that the key issue for women in the Muslim world is changing the family law that governs their societies, Amanpour didn’t ask her what she meant.
    What she meant was that under Islamic family law, women and girls are considered the property of their male relatives. And their “owners” can legally beat them and rape them and genitally mutilate them and force them into marriages they object to. If the women and girls are “disobedient,” their male relatives can expect little or no punishment for murdering them.
    Rather than discuss the real, truly life-threatening dangers faced by women and girls throughout the Islamic world, Amanpour presented her viewers with a superficial and false depiction of recent events in which a few well-dressed, perfectly coiffed, pretty young women in Egypt and two Western dressed women in Libya are supposedly transforming the position of women in their societies one tweet at a time.
    It was a complete lie. But it wasn’t shocking. It would have been shocking if Amanpour had provided her viewers with any relevant facts about the subject she was purportedly discussing.
    The contrast between Yad L’Achim and traditional feminist groups and icons worldwide is statement on the state of the free world today. Whereas the feminists obscure the plight of women living in the Muslim world, a haredi group is saving women living in the Muslim world.
    For years the New Israel Fund and countless other Jewish and non-Jewish leftist organizations have waged a culture war against the haredim for what they allege is their mistreatment of women.
    Many women – both Orthodox and non-Orthodox – disagree with the position of women in the haredi world. But it cannot be denied that today haredim are the only ones rescuing battered Jewish women from their abusive Muslim husbands.

  • Tah Raja

    Aziz:
    Congrats to your sister for being the editor for this book. Very nicely done indeed.
    Taha

  • Sarah

    ISLAMIC JEW HATRED: **GRAPHIC** MUSLIM MASSACRE JEWISH FAMILY OF FIVE, THREE YEAR OLD STABBED IN THE HEART, BABY’S THROAT SLASHED.
    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/03/islamic-jew-hatred-graphic-muslims-stab-jewish-family-of-five-to-death.html#comments

  • Sarah

    New Trends in Arabic Anti-semitism
    http://vimeo.com/16779150

  • Sarah

    Hamas Praises Savage Attack on Jewish Settlers in Arabic, Denies Responsibility in English
    http://bigpeace.com/amutarjim/2011/03/14/hamas-praises-savage-attack-on-jewish-settlers-in-arabic-denies-responsibility-in-english/

  • http://www.catherinecollege.net/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=433 DeborahIslam

    Salaam Alaikum!
    H7 Women in Islam
    This course examines the sources (Quran and Hadith) and the practice of Islam with a special emphasis (a) upon how women have shaped and continue to shape Islam and (b) upon current issues wherein Muslim women are re-examining their traditions. This course takes non-Muslims into the heart of Islam and allows them to build bridges of solidarity with Muslim women. Muslims, meanwhile, will find a fresh ways of appreciating and evaluating their local Islamic traditions. This course includes eight online chatroom sessions of 90 minutes each.
    Begins week of 11 April 2011. For details, go to http://www.catherinecollege.net/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=433

  • Totten

    Michael Totten asks a logical question it would never occur to a neocon to ask: The Arab League wants us to help them overthrow the mad dictator Kaddafi, but, given the way many Arabs have hated us and killed us for overthrowing the mad dictator Saddam Hussein, why should we? We’re always hearing about the need for us to win the hearts and minds of Muslims. But what about the need for Muslims to win our hearts and minds?
    Which leads to another question: Given that many Muslims regard it as a capital crime against Islam for a non-Muslim country to send its troops to a Muslim country, a crime that justifies the jihad murder of the citizens of that non-Islamic country, even if the Muslim government requested and desired those non-Muslim troops to be stationed there, why should we send our troops to any Muslim country? This is a question that must be asked not only of the democracy promoters, but of the Muslims who want us to help them out.

  • James

    On the one hand, we are given phony wars that do nothing to protect us against the threat of Islam. On the other is the naive belief that terrorism and Muslim hostility to the West is a result of our foreign policy and that if we simply adopt a less aggressive posture, we won’t have an Islamic problem in the West. The solution is not neoconservatism or libertarianism—neither bombing them into democracy or preaching about the gold standard in Mecca.
    The solution is for the West to separate as much as possible from the Muslim world.
    They don’t hate us for our freedom. They also don’t hate us just because of our foreign policy. The attacks in the streets of Minneapolis, Paris, and Amsterdam demonstrate that they hate us for who we are. Instead of trying to save them or appease them, for once, let’s look after ourselves.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rhondo

    Educating Bill O’Reilly on the ‘Rape Factor’ in Islam

    Andrew G. Bostom
    Last night for a few brief shining television moments (captured here), Wafa Sultan, courageous author of the indispensible jeremiad “A God Who Hates,” strove gamely to educate Bill O’Reilly — often seemingly impenetrable by facts regarding Sharia — about how Islamic Law, patterned on the “perfect example” of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, sanctions rape.

    The news “hook” for Wafa’s unfortunately rare appearance was the recent alleged rape of a Libyan woman, Iman Al-Obeidi by Qadaffi’s minions.

    As a working physician in her native Syria, Wafa noted that she was familiar with “many such crimes” committed with the sanction of Sharia — Islamic Law. She elaborated that under Sharia,

    Any sexual activity is considered the given right of a male…A Muslim woman cannot report being raped because she will be asked to provide four witnesses otherwise she will be accused of committing adultery, and she will be stoned to death.

    The scholar Ibn Warraq affirms this “iniquitous situation.” He notes that Koran 24.4 states: “And those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony – They indeed are evil-doers.” But Warraq elaborates how this injunction renders women defenseless under misogynistic Islamic Law, past and present:

    Muslim jurists will only accept four male witnesses. These witnesses must declare that they have “seen the parties in the very act of carnal conjunction.” Once an accusation of fornication and adultery has been made, the accuser himself or herself risks punishment if he or she does not furnish the necessary legal proofs. Witnesses are in the same situation. If a man were to break into a woman’s dormitory and rape half a dozen women, he would risk nothing since there would be no male witnesses. Indeed the victim of a rape would hesitate before going in front of the law, since she would risk being condemned herself and have little chance of obtaining justice. “If the woman’s words were sufficient in such cases,” explains Judge Zharoor ul Haq of Pakistan, “then no man would be safe.

    Responding to Wafa Sultan’s remarks, Mr. O’Reilly expressed his (uninformed) incredulity regarding the teaching, and example of Islam’s prophet:

    I find it hard to believe that the prophet Muhammad would preach a doctrine where any woman can be abused at any time by any Muslim man and be held not accountable.

    And Wafa replied, appropriately

    You need to get familiar with Muhammad’s life and how he treated women in his life…Don’t forget, Muhammad is the role model for every Muslim man.

    Notwithstanding the predictable American Muslim Brotherhood taqiyya O’Reilly is likely to air in the coming days as a “fair and balanced” riposte to Wafa’s irrefragable presentation, some salient details merit review.

    What was Muhammad’s “perfect” role model? And what do Islam’s canonical texts, especially the Koran and the hadith (Muhammad’s “guiding” words and deeds as recorded by his pious Muslim companions), opine on these matters?

    Using the Koranic “revelation” as justification, Muhammad insists that he is entitled, not simply his own wives, but those captured in battle, and cousins as well, as per Allah’s grant in Koran 33:50.

    O Prophet, We have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war that God has given thee, and the daughters of thy uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who have emigrated with thee, and any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers — We know what We have imposed upon them touching their wives and what their right hands own — that there may be no fault in thee; God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

    Koran 4:24 extends the “privilege” of having sexual intercourse with captured slave women to all Muslim men.

    For example, Muhammad and his minions attacked and subdued the prosperous Jewish tribe Banu-Mustaliq in a surprise raid (during 626 A.D.). The Banu al-Mustaliq males were slaughtered and the “booty” included the victims’ women. Juwayriyya, the most beautiful captive and daughter of the leader of the Banu al-Mustaliq was taken as a “bride” for Muhammad himself. The mass rape by “coitus interruptus” of the captured women-as sanctioned by Muhammad-was described in a canonical hadith, thusly:

    (Sunan Abu Dawud 2167) — Muhairiz said: I entered the mosque and saw Abu Sa’id al-Khudri. I sat with him and asked about withdrawing the penis (while having intercourse). Abu Sa’id said: We went out with the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to Banu al-Mustaliq, and took some Arab women captive, and we desired the women, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, and we wanted ransom; so we intended to withdraw the penis (while having intercourse with the slave-women). But we asked ourselves: Can we draw the penis when the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) is among us before asking him about it? So we asked him about it. He said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.”

    Moreover, according to modern Western law (for example this Canadian law), statutory rape is sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 14 – a punishable offense unless both parties are aged within two years of each other, or the accused is aged 12 to 13. Here is how the two most important canonical hadith collections describe Muhammad’s “relationship” with Aisha – their “marriage contract” and its sexual consummation – when the Muslim prophet was some four decades older than his child bride (aged 6-7 at the time of her “marriage”):

    Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3311: Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88: Narrated Ursa: The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151: Narrated Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, who had not yet reached the age of puberty.)

    Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5981: Aisha reported that she used to play with dolls in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and when her playmates came to her they left (the house) because they felt shy of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), whereas Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent them to her.

    The ugly living legacy of such pedophilia persists in Islamic communities across the globe from Yemen, to Afghanistan-to Britain. Here is a description of the modern horrors, including rape, engendered by Muhammad’s “sacralized” example from a contemporary female Muslim child “bride” living in the West-in London:

    “I told them I was terrified and desperate, that I was just a child and far too young to get married. I pleaded with them to help me escape, but no one saw anything wrong in what was happening. I begged my husband not to marry me, but he told me I had no choice.” Despite being two years below the British age of consent, Ayse was moved into her cousin’s family home, where she lived openly as his wife in the local Kurdish Turkish community. “I was all alone in a foreign country, unable to speak the language,” she said. “I was trapped. Until I escaped, I didn’t even realize that marrying at 14 wasn’t legal in Britain: everyone I knew in London regarded it as normal.” In the two years before she reached 16, the sex Ayse was coerced into having with her cousin was statutory rape. “It was disgusting, awful,” she said. “I used to scream and cry all night. I was too young, too tender. It killed me inside. Life became meaningless.”

    Of course since Koran 2:223 states that women are “tilth” to be “cultivated” (or “plowed”) as men please, contemporary mainstream, institutional Islam sanctions marital rape. As reported in the UK Independent (10/14/10), president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain, Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, affirmed this view during March, 2010 interview. Sheikh Sayeed was in fact responding to an inchoate effort at modernizing the contracts which govern Muslim marriages in Britain. The good Sheikh, representing Britain’s main Islamic Sharia court, the Islamic Sharia Council, promptly published a rebuttal of the contract, which included a statement on sexual abuse (page 6 here). He opined in the March interview:

    Clearly there cannot be any “rape” within the marriage. Maybe “aggression”, maybe “indecent activity.”

    He further rejected both the characterization of non-consensual marital sex as rape, and the prosecution of such offenders as “not Islamic.” Sheikh Sayeed, who came to Britain from Bangladesh in 1977, also brazenly expressed his Sharia-supremacism and accompanying disdain for Western, i.e., British Law, stating

    …to make it exactly as the Western culture demands is as if we are compromising Islamic religion with secular non-Islamic values.

    Sayeed re-affirmed these sentiments to The UK Independent:

    In Islamic sharia, rape is adultery by force. So long as the woman is his wife, it cannot be termed as rape.

    Crowing with pride during his March 2010 interview, Sheikh Sayeed maintained,

    No other sharia council can claim they are so diverse as ours because other sharia councils, they are following one school of fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence]. Ours is diverse -we are hanafi, shafi’i, hanbali.we have Bangladeshi…we have Pakistani, we have Indian, we have Palestinian, we have Somali scholars on our board.

    At present there are 16 main sharia courts around Britain, located in Birmingham, Bradford, and Ealing in West London. These institutions are “complemented” by more informal sharia-based tribunals-the think tank Civitas asserting that up to 85 tribunals currently exist in Britain.

    But for those like Bill O’Reilly who naively — and smugly — proclaim such phenomena are absent within the Muslim communities of North America, consider AMJA, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. AMJA’s mission statement claims the organization was, “…founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America…AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities.”

    In response to the specific query, “Is there a such thing as Marital Rape?,” the AMJA issued fatwa #2982:

    In the name of Allah, all praise is for Allah, and may peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family. To proceed:

    For a wife to abandon the bed of her husband without excuse is haram [forbidden]. It is one of the major sins and the angels curse her until the morning as we have been informed by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). She is considered nashiz (rebellious) under these circumstances. As for the issue of forcing a wife to have sex, if she refuses, this would not be called rape, even though it goes against natural instincts and destroys love and mercy, and there is a great sin upon the wife who refuses; and Allah Almighty is more exalted and more knowledgeable.

    An ocean apart from Britain — now a recognized Western hotbed for “Islamic fundamentalism” — the same Sharia-sanctioned misogynistic bigotry prevails in a North American clerical organization openly advising US and Canadian Muslims.

    Let us hope against hope Wafa Sultan’s appearance opens Bill O’Reilly’s eyes — and his audience’s-to disturbing reality.

  • http://www.banglanatoks.com/ Bangla Natok

    Normally we are all of the people observe the International women’s day. the women’s day is observe across the whole country. The women’s day carry very important matter. any way, a few time ago i was visit your post! expressly it is momentous.

Previous Posts

Muslims en masse for Modi at Madison Square
Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a huge crowd of Indian expats in New York City on Monday night, outlining his vision of India's future and mak

posted 4:29:29pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Hussein Abdullah gets a penalty for doing sajda in the endzone on Monday Night Football
https://twitter.com/NFL_Memes/status/516788936996573184 As a (very) recent convert to the joy of American Football, I am fascinated by the penalty issued to Kansas City Chiefs' safety Hussein Abdullah for performing a sajda (prayer prostration) of thanks after an epic 39-yard pick-six on Patriots

posted 11:04:12am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

the NFL, concussions, and domestic abuse #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft
A lot of my friends who aren't into football have remarked upon my newfound interest in football as being somewhat out-of-character (true, at first glance, but i'll address that later) and also critiqued the sport for all its attendant social problems. Of those, the two main ones are domestic abuse

posted 5:47:02pm Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »

13 years after 9-11
I honestly don't have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to do with terrorism or Islamic fanaticism. Yes, we have threats like ISIS to grapple

posted 8:44:01am Sep. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Saudis propose to relocate the Prophet's (saw) tomb from Masjid al-Nabawi
The above photo of the Mecca clock tower, or as I like to call it, "Big Bin", was during my hajj a few years ago. It is part of my general observations of the "Meccahattan"-ization of the holiest place in Islam, the way that the Saudi religious authorities are utterly obliterating the historical wea

posted 10:13:58am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.