Politics

Headscarves and hymen

I wish Muslim women didn’t need their own part in Barack Obama’s Cairo speech earlier this month. Many wondered whether Obama would take the safe route and avoid women’s rights. But that would have given a free pass to the denial and defensiveness of too many Muslims about the abuse of girls and women committed in the name of our religion.

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Empowering the average Mo

In the traditional Arab mindset, men who do not fit the conventional ideal of manhood are regarded as inferior. As long as conservative circles continue successfully to equate female emancipation with male emaciation, the quest for gender equality will stall. What we need are mainstream, “average Mo” role models who demonstrate that believing in gender equality squares with being a man.

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Women win in Kuwait

Four Kuwaiti women made history on May 17th by winning seats in their country’s parliamentary elections. Their victory was made all the more delicious because the fundamentalists who had long opposed women’s suffrage simultaneously lost several of their seats in the Kuwaiti parliament. And just as women faced down the fundamentalists in Kuwait, they will eventually win in Saudi Arabia.

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The hymen: Much ado about nothing

Which is more important: a smart, caring, kind partner/wife, or a woman with an intact hymen? When we care more about a fuzzy idea of virginity than what kind of person a woman is, we have a seriously skewed idea of women, their value, and their sexuality. It’s time that all of us measure a woman by who she is, not what is (or isn’t) between her legs.

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Between “liberated” and “oppressed”

Though a recent Gallup study is an important one which illustrates the diversity and spirit of America’s Muslims, The Washington Times frames the findings to suggest that the study zeroed in on Amercian Muslim women and proved that America has liberated this otherwise repressed population – a result that fits this publication’s ideology a little too snugly.

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Cloaking barbarism in the name of Islam

What is most disturbing is that criminal behaviors are being cloaked in religious terms and there seems to be no credible voice challenging this gross violation of Islamic law. As a result, criminals continue to go about terrorizing with impunity. The continued silence of scholars is deafening.

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Sisters in the Muslim Brotherhood

Recently, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood claimed to be in favour of “complete equality” between men and women while preserving their different social roles. But two years after this stated vision of gender equality, the current status and role of women in the Muslim Brotherhood’s organizational structure remains lacking.

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Do sex taboos contribute to sex trafficking?

As much as we’d like to deny it, sex trafficking and forced prostitution of women and children is rampant in the Muslim world – in large part because Muslim men demand these services. The fear of discussing sexual relationships openly and constructively may explain the unwillingness to rout out these evils. What will break the silence?

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Hoagland’s Hogwash: Islamophobia in the Washington Post

One example of the trend in journalistic circles to overreach when discussing Islamic extremism is that of The Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who casts an illustrative net so wide in his reporting of the Taliban that it catches all Muslim and Southwest Asian men, dehumanizing all instead of only a few.

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