What does a Muslim woman look like?

By Shazia Kamal, contributor to Altmuslimah.com I am not “visibly” a Muslim female– in other words, I don’t wear a … Continued

By Shazia Kamal, contributor to Altmuslimah.com

I am not “visibly” a Muslim female– in other words, I don’t wear a hijab, the headscarf worn by some of my Muslim peers. Because people cannot instantly identify my belief system through my physical appearance, specifically my garb, I have not been at the receiving end of the direct hatred and vitriol that has been spewed at those who do don the headscarf; I have not had someone snatch off my headscarf in order to taunt and humiliate me; and I have not been dismissed or ignored in a professional or social setting because of my “suspicious” appearance. In truth, I have passed as a non-Muslim female, making my post 9/11 experience fundamentally different from that of my fellow hijabi sisters, but I still consider myself a Muslim woman, in every sense of the term.

Living in the United States, I have both been a part of and observed the transformation in America’s perception of my faith–more specifically its fascination of and fixation with Muslim women over the past 9 years. The term “Muslim” has its own narrative and impact on the world, but when you attach the descriptive “Woman” to “Muslim,” it stirs up entirely new sentiments, debates, and criticisms. This zoom focus on “Muslim woman” took flight when media and academia circles began to inquire into the domestic sphere of the Muslim world after 9/11, beginning, of course with the enigmatic and exotic place of women in Muslim countries.

At this time, we saw the reappearance of the famous image of a forlorn looking Afghani girl (Sharbat Gula) in the 1985 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Her haunting face captivated readers and the mystery that was her life story proved so alluring that seventeen years later, the National Geographic team tracked her down in Pakistan and took another cover shot accompanied by a feature story on her struggles in the last two decades. The research and narratives of women done in Muslim countries abroad soon reached the West, where comparisons began to shape the perception of Muslim women from China to Africa, and back to the United States. A few years later, the assassination of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto opened up the books on her life, which received a cautious wonderment of her by Westerners. Her western ideals mixed with her Eastern roots made her THE symbol of female identity politics in the modern era. In 2010, Arab American Miss USA Rima Fakih stirred up the anxieties of Muslim women around the globe; we all perched at the edge of our seats to find out how she would identify herself; waiting with bated breath for her to state whether she was Muslim was just as adrenaline-inducing as waiting to hear the winner of the pageant itself.

The notion of a separate identity of a “Muslim woman/female” has emerged through a complex matrix: the Orientalist framework, feminist philosophy, the lens of Judeo-Christian scripture, and of course media portrayals. Orientalist philosophy focused on using a Western lens to analyze Muslims and Islamic practices in the East, contributing to those exotic images that people are still amused by even in present day (See: Sex and the City 2 .) This philosophy also sustained itself on the false notion that the only Muslims in the world were Arabs, and so Arab women became the one-dimensional, monolithic image of Muslim women for more than a century.

Feminism, feminist theory and feminists alike have been engaged in “healthy debates” with the ‘Muslim Woman’ for ages. Whilst united on the essential struggle for women’s rights and equality, feminism’s changing philosophy has often disagreed with the definition of ‘equality’ and the ‘separate but equal’ role of Muslim women that is taught in the Quran. The distinguishing element between these “sects” of women’s rights groups has been the question of submission. The choice for Muslim women to submit to what they believe God has commanded of them (including ideas of modesty) is absolutely a factor that contributes to the notion of the separate and individual ‘Muslim woman.’

The Judeo-Christian view of women has been also been an impetus for the rise of the ‘Muslim Woman’ in that it offers a fundamentally different view of women than Islam, going back to the idea of Original Sin. The Quranic narrative teaches that both Adam and Eve were both equally responsible for their sins and were later forgiven by God, and the pangs of childbirth that are considered punishment for women in the Bible, are actually moments of reward and blessing for women in Islam.

These are examples of the way differences in scripture have given space and authentication to the ‘Muslim Woman.’

The concept of the ‘Muslim Woman’ arose also as a reactionary device on the part of Muslim women living in the West to the idea that Islam was violent both to people outside of the faith and to the weak within its fold. The ‘Muslim Woman’ had to stand up and define herself rather than be labeled oppressed or submissive by the West. All the while, she faced having to explain the very real cases of oppression, domestic violence, and genital mutilation taking place in Muslim countries, and attempting to distinguish these human failings from the teachings of Islam.

As the world moves forward in time and thought, we are witnessing how the ‘Muslim Woman’ is evolving into the champion of choice, the builder of the broken, and in some parts, the religious leader of her clan. Muslim women, like Suraya Pakzad, creator of the Voice of Women Organization in Afghanistan have stepped into advisory positions in the government, invested in charitable and entrepreneurial endeavors and have become star athletes, amongst a myriad of other accomplishments. In 2012, Muslim women boxers will be seen competing in Olympics, with their hijabs on. These roles and capacities have become vastly enriched and enhanced due to the unique narratives that the ‘Muslim woman’ has contributed to them, especially the narratives defying oppression, subjugation and lack of choice.

Muslim women have come to own the notion that we are spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, politically, and influentially Muslim females. On a journey of both collective introspection and self-reflection, Muslim women also have been at the forefront in producing scholarship that deconstructs this multi-faceted identity. Asma Uddin (Editor-in-Chief of AltMuslimah.com), writes in her article, “The Difficulty of Being a Modern Muslim,” “This self-reflection involves quite a bit of confusion, as it is hard to reconcile the heart-wrenching news of oppression with our daily experience of meeting, interacting with, living among – being – strong, confident, successful Muslim women.”

It is through these vehicles that we are helping to build the collective Muslim identity as well as our own Muslim female identity. Our pursuits are defined and amplified by virtue of these identities, whether conscious or unconscious. This movement to self-understanding has occurred in response to the need for alternative perspectives to improve and diversify the globe. In the future, whenever there is a forum discussing Muslims or Islam, we will naturally emerge as the female Muslim voices. We will retain an authentic and distinct voice that will mold and shape society and politics for generations to come.

Read more about AltMuslimah and their new blog at On Faith here.

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • FarnazMansouri2

    Interesting essay. Let me correct a misperception, misunderstanding. There is no such thing as “Judeo-Christian”; if anything, the “term” is oxymoronic. There is Judaism, and there is Christianity.Judaism does not hold with “original sin.” It holds Adam and Even equally responsible for the error, and that is what it is viewed as, an error. In Judaism, human if fundamentally good, but does have a tendency to err. The story of Adam and Eve explains some of the human condition.This is not the Christian view at all.

  • AKafir

    Shazia,The most important task for any Muslim Woman is to shine a light on the plight of young girls in Islam across the muslim countries. The Ulema fight any change in the Sharia that allows marriage of infants to very young girls to be married to much older men. Ofcourse they base that on the fact that the Quran allows marriage of young girls to old men, as Maulana Mududi points out in his Tafheem Ul Quran for Q65.4

  • WmarkW

    Rima Fakih seems like a perfectly ordinary (except for genes) young American woman, whose religion happens to be Islam. If you were all like that, no one would notice. However, the fact that your women stand out but your men don’t, is extremely inconsistent with our value system.

  • inoeione

    At most recent years, there’s a what they so called ‘revival of Islam’ spreads widely across Indonesia. Using a hijab becomes a common gesture among women here, also under ‘local sharia authority bylaw ‘ Moslem community insists others to pay more attention to their dominancy instad of tolerancy . It’s a backstep or ‘fake revivalism’phenomena. Shazia’s experiences will inspirate and encourage alternative revivalism for many moslem women here.

  • potaboc

    Just a small quibble, but my understanding of Christian doctrine is that everyone (even Adam and Eve) is equally responsible for sinning. Eve may have suggested eating the apple, but Adam independently chose to violate what he knew to be God’s command.

  • terrykingvt

    QUOTE: When you take faith in a religion that has a long laundry list of do’s and don’ts that do not necessarily fit with the evolution of society over time, you have a problem.Most of the “Western World” has decided that such PARTS of the Old and New Testaments, AND the Koran “do not necessarily fit with the evolution of society over time” Fundamentalists of all religions are the problem.. they do not understand that Man is a thinking being, and that thinking did not stop 1000+ years ago. I’m from Vermost USA. I live in Saudi Arabia. Most of the ideas and practices I am unhappy with here existed in the USA in about 1850. Islam and Muslim countries need to catch up with the thinking world quickly.. They have a much shorter time than 160 years to do that. Leaders such as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, with their emphasis on moderation, respect for other religions, and a wide world view, are what we all need on this planet.

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  • edbyronadams

    “I was raised a Christian and I always wondered about those horrible violent things God did in the Bible. Speaking of Lists of Do’s and Don’ts , have you ever read Leviticus??”Not a Christian, but your post reminds me that there is an old and new testament and, not a Jew, but I believe their notion of “God” has evolved quite a bit since Leviticus. Of course they are not hampered by the “final prophet” tenet.

  • Kingofkings1

    You can’t call yourself whatever you wish, as there are criteria for inclusion in certain groups. For example you can’t be wearing a miniskirt and call yourself a nun.

  • AKafir

    KoK1: “You can’t call yourself whatever you wish, as there are criteria for inclusion in certain groups. For example you can’t be wearing a miniskirt and call yourself a nun.”Eventually the head of church decide who can be called a nun and what she can wear. Similarly, the principal decides who can call themselves to be on the honor roll.Who decides who is a muslim or not?

  • garoth

    An interesting and excellent essay. Most of the criticism of Islam, in regards to women’s issues, comes from a Western mindset, and from points of view founded in Christian understandings. It would be very interesting to see more of how Muslim women view these same issues from their own viewpoint. It is important for a viewpoint to be seen in the light of competing ideologies (thus, Liberation theologians have often used the lens of Communism to critique Capitalism, and it is appropriate to use Christian or Jewish viewpoints to critique Islam); more important, however, is to see a faith or philosophy’s own critique of itself, and how it understands these issues. Ms. Kamal is an interesting writer. It would be interesting to hear more about how she and other Muslim women understand their faith in regard to womens’ issues.

  • brent1

    The idea of saying the Koran is more woman friendly than the Bible is ridiculous. Women are second rate citizens in Islam now and eternally. The Coran promises muslim men who are martyred that they will have multiple, large breasted virgins awaiting them in paradise. That sure sounds a lot like equal but different. Muslim women are being treated like crap by Muslim men and Muslim governments all over the middle east, asia, eatsern europe, africa and even sometimes in the west. There are honor killings on a regular basis in places like, england, france and the USA. I think all women should have equal rights to men in every nation and culture on earth. I believe this precisely because I am a christian not a muslim.

  • PSolus

    garoth,”It would be very interesting to see more of how Muslim women view these same issues from their own viewpoint.”Yes, it would be interesting; why, do you think, do we not “see more of how Muslim women view these same issues from their own viewpoint”?

  • rcubedkc

    What does a Muslim woman look like?Generally speaking, she’s the one sharpening the knife for her owner so he can cut off a few heads.Of course she herself may be buried up to her head while awaiting that first stone to slam into her head.Or she may be the woman being beaten in public for daring to leave the house unescorted by a male family member.It’s just so hard to figure out what the average muslum woman looks like, isn’t it?

  • shovandas

    She is probably enslaved, oppressed, threatened, covered ( hijab ) and a second class citizen in most Muslim countries. If married, she has no independence and bound by the dictates of her husband, right or wrong. But then who is a Muslim woman – depends if you are a Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiya …….!

  • Kingofkings1

    He is an observation on muslim women.By Yvonne Ridley (Cont’d)

  • RichardHode

    Brent1 wrote: “The Coran promises muslim men who are martyred that they will have multiple, large breasted virgins awaiting them in paradise.”Beats the hell out of sitting on a cloud and playing the harp. There is something to be said for this aspect of Moslem eschatology, in my view …

  • borntoraisehogs

    How can liberal intelligent Americans provide cover for the oppression of women, gays, non-muslims and the poor by the ruling Imams?

  • pcannady

    So we should like to Communist China to see how to drag Islam into the civilized era? What a brilliant idea!

  • LePauvrePapillon

    She’s very attractive but in many Muslim countries she would be in danger of being stoned for wearing her swimsuit in public.

  • LePauvrePapillon

    I have faith in God.It’s religion I’m not too sure about.Organized religion does nothing to promote and in fact gets in the way of a person’s relationship with God. I have never heard anyone say anything that brought me any closer to God than the simple act of enjoying a sunset, a meadow, a forest, the ocean or any of the many wonders and beauties of God’s creation.Throughout history millions have been killed in the name of religion. Some may claim they kill in the name of God but this is a lie. It is religion and the structures and rewards promised by religion that motivate people to kill. God has nothing to do with it.

  • abrahamhab1

    It is an equally interesting as well as sad to note that it is Muslim women who actively propagate their subservience to their men folk. They hammer it into their daughters and granddaughters from cradle on. Wafa Sultan, the well known Syrian American psychiatrist, recalls that she was a medical doctor with 9 years of experience and could not leave her parents house without the permission of her much younger teenage brother. That could not have happened without the acquiescence of the mother.

  • Ombudsman1

    I find it sad that the cause of “Muslim Oppression” in the West is so en vogue with certain people that they’ll do almost anything to rationalize what is obviously unacceptable behavior.There are many things that happen within Muslim communities, particularly in their treatment of women that are simply unacceptable that cannot be excused as a “cultural thing”. It’s time to get to the point where you can say “I think you have the right to practice your religion any way you want, but you cannot treat people this way and I won’t defend it”. You wouldn’t tolerate a Christian church treating women this way, please don’t lower the bar for anyone else.And this has nothing to do with your political views on Democrat/Republican. This is common sense and common decency.

  • Ombudsman1

    “I find a catholic nun’s habit more intimidating”I’m not sure why. A woman becomes a nun by choice. Are you suggesting the same type of choice is made by all Muslim women? Do you feel Catholic priests are similarly opposed as Catholic nuns?

  • Toby1B

    woman + muslim by choice = not very bright

  • merrill1

    Muslim women don’t “look” any different than any other women – and are not any different in appearance unless they don the code attire of a rigid closed society. Within the society, this code serves the main purpose to inform the public of a status. Wear the code inside society for protection, social rank or anonymity. Outside the society, wear it at peril. Many Muslim men know better, and have shed tradition to wear jeans or suits. Let us not be too arrogant, devout Christians have these codes as well, not to mention a raft of other signs and symbols that they employ. Crack the code, and one can slip into any society fairly seamlessly. Voila, Rima, the winner in a Western game.

  • kathy523

    Prophet Muhammad was married to 9 different women at same time including a 6 year old child. He had many mistresses/slaves to serve him as well.Now for an educated American woman to chose Islam and worship men like Muhmmad is strange to say the least.And, btw, Muslim women have a choice here on what to wear and where to go. Most Muslim nations do not give Muslim women that choice. See the pictures of Hillary Clinton and other American women who have to cover up when they are in Islamic nations. So who is worse off?This Muslim writer is just complaining and whining against America and the West while enjoying the freedoms and prosperity here.

  • Kathy8

    While I understand that everyone wants to pick on Muslims these days, we could easily look within the United States at the way Mormon women are raised and treated — and how American society tolerates this.

  • kathy523

    Prophet Muhammad was married to 9 different women at same time including a 6 year old child. He had many mistresses/slaves to serve him as well.Now for an educated American woman to chose Islam and worship men like Muhmmad is strange to say the least.And, btw, Muslim women have a choice here on what to wear and where to go. Most Muslim nations do not give Muslim women that choice. See the pictures of Hillary Clinton and other American women who have to cover up when they are in Islamic nations. So who is worse off?This Muslim writer is just complaining and whining against America and the West while enjoying the freedoms and prosperity here.

  • dutchess2

    All well and good… but any Muslim woman that tolerates the inhumane way Muslim women are treated by their Muslim men in many parts of the world, including America, is wasting time.You have to care too.For my part, albeit quite small…you want to be free – fine. You want to be free i American – fine. But if you move here to be free, then be free. No more covering up in shame, hiding, walking behind, smothering yourself in cloth because some man decided you were too pretty to be able to move freely and sweat free. Keep the rabid honor killing nutcases out of this country, and the next one that dare do it ought to be ripped apart limb from limb by Muslim women. But they won’t… they’ll just accept it as some religious pox they have to bear.Being free is more than just words.

  • worf

    In a religion, Islam, which forbids priesthood, the priests have hijacked the religion and have empowered themselves by islamization of traditions both good and bad. Otherwise an inert tradition is the “hijab” which has no religious place in Islam. This debate on the appearance of women has digressed from the real purpose of the religion. Hijab should be a non-issue for Muslims. Occupation of Muslim lands and resources is the real issue . Money-laundering involving Muslim money is the real issue. Do not be sucked into meaningless debates.

  • drzimmern1

    I can tell you what one muslim woman looked like. She was covered with bruises of varying colors from regular beatings by her husband. One of the abrasions required attention. Those Americans who cry “Islam is a religion of peace” would be screaming “apartheid” if the treatment of muslim women were a black/white conflict. But since it is merely women who are persecuted, it’s ignored and accepted.

  • bozhogg

    I don’t see much difference from the Bible and the Koran. The Bible mentions stoning and killing anyone who works on the Sabbath.

  • FUZZYTRUTHSEEKER

    @ BOZHOGG,To start with, and to stay within the limits of strict common sense that you prescribe, you could have spelled the word “Quran”, correctly, the way the Muslim Lady author of the opinion piece spells it and the way most professionally-conscious publications speel it. But, instincttively or otherwise, you prefer to spell the word “Koran”!

  • Kingofkings1

    Here is useful clarification on women issues, from a woman:

  • billybugs

    Thanks so much for writing this. I would much rather learn of Islam and the issues faced by Islamic people from a Muslim, than try to piece together an understanding from media reports and other outside sources. The people of this country are sadly misinformed due to the misleading and often false reports created by our media.

  • FUZZYTRUTHSEEKER

    @ Dutchess2: You write “the next one [Muslim] that dare do it [honour killing] ought to be ripped apart limb from limb by Muslim women”. Well,”ripping civilian Muslims (and not necessarily those who engage in acts of honour killing) apart limb from limb” is already being done by our brave American soldiers who are risking their lives to “spread democracy and promote gender equality” in Muslim lands. See

  • RaymondinDC

    Kingofkings1 quotes Yvonne Ridley who writes, “One of the big turning points for me happened when the Israelis began shelling The Church of the Nativity in Manger Square.”This claim is crap. The IDF was especially careful NOT to shell the Church. It was the Palestinians inside who desecrated the place, abused the church personnel held hostage, who looted or destroyed much during their stay – all in the name of their “resistance”. “Look what they (the Palestinians) did to this place,” some of the Christian hostages later told the IDF – hardly a sign they blamed the IDF for their travails.

  • Dmacc502

    I don’t understand why you don’t dress as your religion requires. It seems you are not doing something to prevent reprisal. Are you ashamed? Why hide, I don’t understand.

  • rcvinson64

    Islam allows women to inherit property. Christianity mandates that property stay in the hands of men to keep it from escaping the family via marriage. Which is more progressive? Christians think their faith is progressive. In reality, you simply ignore the tenets that you find outdated. Otherwise, you’d still be practicing slavery and kosher dietary laws.

  • askgees

    LOL so they show one woman a Muslim born in the US who one Miss America. Can you say PROPAGANDA…….WaPo tighten up or close the doors. The National Enquirer is more news worthy.

  • JCM-51

    So in the Muslim world a man can OWN four wives, dictate their every action, divorce them on a whim (with no compensation), make them cover themselves head to toe…what’s not to like (if one happens to be a man)?My question is, how long will our current Miss America survive before falling victim to an “Honor Killing” for exposing so much of herself? Or will she be stoned to death after a trial by her Muslim peers (that is to say, the men of her village)?

  • johnnyboston

    Kingofkings1 quotes Yvonne Ridley who writes, “One of the big turning points for me happened when the Israelis began shelling The Church of the Nativity in Manger Square.”By Joseph FarahArafat’s Islamo-fascist storm troopers have shown nothing but contempt for Christians and their holy sites – particularly in the last five or six years.In 1997, Arafat turned the Greek Orthodox monastery in Bethlehem into his own personal residence during visits to that city. The same year, the Palestine Liberation Organization seized Abraham’s Oak Russian Holy Trinity Monastery in Hebron, evicting monks and nuns.When the Arab uprising of September 2000 began, Arafat’s Tanzim terrorist forces chose the Christian town of Beit Jala as an outpost from which its snipers shot at Jerusalem. They hid themselves in Christian homes, hotels, schools and churches so that return fire from Israel would rain death and destruction on Christians.Last year, about 150 armed PA terrorists took over Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, holding 40 Christian clergy and nuns hostage, while firing out at surrounding Israeli forces. Rather than risk the lives of the captives and the destruction of the historic church, Israel negotiated the release of the terrorists – but the church was irreparably scarred. The terrorists stole gold, prayer books, crosses and anything else that was not nailed down.If you want to see the dramatic story of this occupation, watch the remarkable documentary “Holyland: Christians in Peril.”

  • HerLao

    Rima Fakih’s exquisite hair alone — if nothing else — is enough to ban Islam.I mean, Lao Tzu, why would any religion deny the world JUST SEEING such extraordinarily beautiful hair?The God or the Godess could dictate (for some unruly people, SHOULD dictate) a lot of things. But to deny — in the name of the Creator — people viewing long, flowing, the darkest of night dark, exquisite hair like Rima’s HAD to be a silly MAN, human that is, obsession of wome things for narcissism or other fetish behavior.These Moslem clerics who keep issuing these idiotic doctrines and decrees — just like that Pat Robertson guy here in America’s ceaseless proclamation about his God punishing this or that group, for not believing in Him, every time a natural disastar befall any part of America — need to either go away into caves or come out to live in the 21st century. Let’s stop sugar-coating politically correct bs excuses for them. Or any other religious fanatic.

  • dangreen3

    Muslim women are not the problem. No one has a beef with them. Last I knew of, slitting infidels throat, was not on their agenda.

  • jm125

    Lady, you are not the face of islam that western people are apprehensive about. Muslim teaching’s and observed lifestyles are very clear about womens role in islam. The fact that the vast majority of terrorist incidents in the west are due to muslims is also a matter of public record. In the muslim world muslims blow up other muslims on a nearly daily basis. All this talk about what muslim is and what islam means is of no concern to secular types. I know many people and man or woman I don’t know or have to know anything about their religion or what religion they even practice if any. It is called a secular society. We do not need this “faith”.

  • kathy523

    According to front page of WaPo, the leader of Islamic republic of Iran just condemned and wished brutal death on all leaders of the U.S. This while his military staff and clerics applauded and laughed. Is Islam a religion of a violent death cult?

  • strategicres

    …Islam allows women to inherit property. Christianity mandates that property stay in the hands of men to keep it from escaping the family via marriage. Which is more progressive? …Posted by: rcvinson64 | October 3, 2010 10:08 AM

  • SaintJoseph

    I am an atheist but more so an American who believes that people should not be treated poorly because of the group they identify with. For those who complain about “identity Politics” consider this: all politics might not be local anymore, but all politics is, always has been and always will be about identity. People join and support political groups, issues and “movements” because they identify with that movement. Muslim Americans are Muslim but also AMERICANS and should be given the same respect and protections as all other Americans. In addition, to pit Muslims against non-Muslims is what the un-thinkers are doing as it plays into the terrorists propaganda.

  • Desertdiva1

    dangreen3 wrote: Muslim women are not the problem. No one has a beef with them. Last I knew of, slitting infidels throat, was not on their agenda.Women in this country spent 50 years fighting to get to vote and become equals. Now we have immigrants who think women should only go out in public when accompanied by a male, walk three paces behind and do so while covered fully from head to toe. Muslim hajib dress has no place publicly in the West. They need to modify their garb or return to the homeland. Western women have no intention of fighting this battle a second time. If they don’t wish to assimilate and improve their lives why bother to immigrate?

  • beachbum09

    The women’s rights crowd doesn’t have the courage to take on Islam. They enslave their women and treat them like second class humans, but we hear nothing from the crowd that looks everywhere else for imaginary mistreatment of women. If you don’t mind seeing a black man in shackles, I guess you wouldn’t mind seeing veiled women. What is up with this veiled stuff, anyway? Some Muslim male is going to lose control and rape women in the street if they show a little skin? How about Muslim men getting a little self control? Wouldn’t that be easier than locking up their women? The treatment of women, alone, shows that Islam is not compatible with freedom and it is not compatible with American life.

  • samwoods77

    Interesting article, and sad that many comments choose to bash Christianity, the current PC trend. Intolerance is intolerance.

  • RField7

    Attn: RWNJ’s duped by Fox propaganda – religions are a simple 1st Amendment freedom. Not hard, not changing…

  • Political_Stratgst

    Religion (any) in general has very little / nothing to do with spirituality, and even more so a religion like Islam that asserts:> 2 women’s testimony to be equal to 1 manThe reality of Islam is so ridiculous that no self-respecting woman in these times of spiritual awareness, and with a straight head (vs. brainwashed) can ever accept the label of a “muslim woman”. I know how tough that is if you are born into Islam, but I hope yo

  • Political_Stratgst

    Religion (any) in general has very little / nothing to do with spirituality, and even more so a religion like Islam that asserts:> 2 women’s testimony to be equal to 1 manThe reality of Islam is so ridiculous that no self-respecting woman in these times of spiritual awareness, and with a straight head (vs. brainwashed) can ever accept the label of a “muslim woman”. I know how tough that is if you are born into Islam, but I hope yo

  • nanabrown63

    How does a Muslim woman in an Arab country look like?She is a woman who gets up early, helps her children get ready to go to school. She goes to work as well. She is a daughter who works to provide for her parents and brothers and sisters.She is a housewife who takes care of her children and husband.She is a farmer who starts work at dawn and works side by side with her husband and other farmers on the fields. Her face is never covered.She is a doctor, a university professor, an engineer, a student, a nurse, a teacher, a CEO, a merchant, an artist, a philosopher, a journalist, a housekeeper, a receptionist, a ploicewoman …I live in a Muslim country and people and women just go about their daily lives like anywhere in the world. Some women cover their hair, others wear Western clothes. The burqua is rarely worn, maybe more rarely than it is done in Europe.Islam is based on “Arrahma”; that is compassion, between husband and wife not violence… Women have a lot of power in their societies. American anthropologists have published many studies about these women.It’s easy to stigmaize people but hard to check one’s wrong ideas about Islam and Muslims. The Muslim society is very varied inside and outside. Muslims live in North Africa, in the sub-Saharan Africa, in the Middle East, in Europe, In America, in China, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Azbakistan, Turkey….A Muslim country is as varied as any other society with different cultures and sub-cultures, educated, non educated, rural, city dwellers, rich, poor..etc.How can we generalize about more than a billion people? Isn’t it ridiculous to generalise?Can’t we understand that religion, any religion, can be used in the good or the bad way? Islam was used to combat socialism and this has created extremism. Extremists are a minority in the Muslim societies -people generally just want to go about their daily lives in peace.The reaction to these extremists was not adequate and has created more harm than anything else. We have to deal with the problem of extremism -in all religions- in an intelligent way if we want to overcome it. Racism and prejudice only feed extremism.

  • Bios

    Helping to build the collective muslim identity?? muslim female identity?

  • FUZZYTRUTHSEEKER

    Samwoods77,It several, not ‘many’, comments bash Christianity, it is NOT in the Islamic spirit to be against Christianity. Quite the contrary! Christianity and Judaism are religions that are highly-respected in Islam. So much so that, it has happened that, when once I made comments on blogged articles like this one deploring that the religion of love that Christianity is, is misused to wage barbaric wars, my neighbourhood Islamic community service reports me to my preacher. The very stern intonations of my preacher’s statements start me doubting whether I am a Muslim, and that, in view of the fact that the Holy Quran invokes a large number of times the favours that The Almighty has done for the Jewish people. I came to ask myself whether my preacher was REALLY saying that anything we say against any Jew violates those verses of the Quran. Until one day, after Friday prayer, I came back to my apartment shaken, took my copy of the Holy Quran and, miraculously, it opened by itself at the verses where the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) is instructed by The Almighty to change the direction in which Muslims face to offer their prayers, from Jerusalem to Mecca. The historical background against which those verses were revealed is that some ill-intentioned Jews had whipped up an unbearable volume of mischief against Islam’s honouring of Jewish faith by arguing that Muslims had not fith in their own religion nd were clumsily trying to copy the Jewsih faith. I don’t necessarily have a supernatural interpretation of my Islamic faith, but that experience of mine came very, very close to a ‘miracle’.

  • finsher771

    @FarnazMansouri2 — spare us your insane, ostentatiously anti-Christian inane diatribe.In case you haven’t noticed, Christian Bibles contain all the books of the Judaic Bible, plus a little thing known as the New Testament.The rest of your silly rant is sham and contrived, irreconcilable, indefensible BS.

  • finsher771

    Correction to previous comment: “Hebrew Bible” might be a more accurate term than “Judaic Bible,” to describe what is commonly called the Old Testament.

  • pgould1

    What does a Muslim woman look like?Hard to say. Do you mean before or after she has either been stoned or mutilated by her family, local Imam, and assorted other male elders?But never mind any of that now. We are only referring to those practicing females who currently belong to the “religion of peace and love.” Right?And so it goes…

  • jflake10

    It’s amazing to read the letters posted on this page. Fifty % are posted by people who do not even know that their own Christian Religion has caused many wars in the past centuries. It is time for people to read, learn to talk, and have discussions rather than shouting at each other.

  • prasadbinoy

    The debate is between tradition and modernity. Let’s do it in a polite respectable way. Since the world is shrinking we get to know a lot more about others. The cultural practices of one will affect the other — take good from other cultures, adopt them and leave the bad, unhealthy ones. Historically, the pendulum has always swung in favor of those seeking justice and freedom, no matter how long the struggle had been.

  • Desertdiva1

    Now, the Muslim woman identity is always “assessed” against a Western woman model. Is the Western woman model a successful one?

  • pattikakes10

    My birthplace and life is America. I lived abroad and also in the Middle East, sweltering hot. The experiences were valueable learnings. The observation of thousands of women under vails, heavily covered, head to toe and those with just headscarfs. Yet, little girls, teenage girls not wearing any garb as their peers, mothers? What exactly is the example here, the teachings? Just how does non muslim relate to the mixed signals? Age is that an exception?

  • FUZZYTRUTHSEEKER

    @ Binoy Shanker Prasad,The debate is NOT about tradition and modernity. It is about VALUES. For example: Islam has improved over the Hammurabi sense of justice about an eye for an eye by decreeing that the victim is entitled AT THE MOST to ask an eye for an eye, but it is always better, for you, for your children, for wider society, for future generations and for The Almighty, that you forgive. Nobody can force you to forgive: for nobody can know your pain, and whne The Almighty created you, He gave you free will. A certain notion of modernity holds that you can deamnd one thousand eyes for an eye if you have the power to enforce your will and the other party cannot retaliate. That is the receiving end of ‘modern’ justice that Muslims nations and societies (including Kashmiris) face. Another issue about values if our civilization’s appraoch to transhumanism, which has already become a reality. Do we really want to ‘progress’ to being the ‘transcendent man’ that Raymond Kurzweil boasts of about to be becoming – an immortal, imperfection-free cross between his biological self and the most cutting edge robotics technology? You might think that religion, especially a ‘traditional’ religion lie Islam, is not equipped to answer that question. You would be fooling yourself idiotic just the way the neocons fooled themselves thinking that it would be a walk-over invading Iraq. To convince yourself that there are competent Muslim, extremely well-trained in both Physics and Theology, who not only can answer that question, but have actully provide important elements of a very convincing answer, read the works of Professor Seyyed Hossain Nasr of Georgetown University, several of which are available online including his acceptance lecture for the 1999 Templeton Award.

  • Catken1

    “We wouldn’t be discussing any of this if it wasn’t for the fact that muslims in Western countries are not adapting to their receiving societies.”Not true in the US. Most Muslims in the US adapt and blend in in at most one or two generations, just like other immigrant groups. Living in a religiously diverse area, I know plenty of Muslim families headed by first-generation immigrants whose kids are indistinguishable from other American kids, except for when and where and how they worship. And Americans, being free, may worship when and where and how they please without being less American.Europe does have trouble, yes. Europe has always had trouble absorbing and assimilating immigrants, particularly those who look or worship or behave differently. But that says more about Europe, and the tendency there to focus on one national culture and marginalize everyone who doesn’t conform to that cultural image, than about the immigrants.

  • jblast2000

    This article is psycho babble nonsense, a bunch of meaningless vague construction of words.How do you thing Miss America would be greeted in an Arab country, with stones…

  • ElAlwany

    You really want to know about being in Islam? Go ask people who know:

  • SusanMarie2

    “In the future, whenever there is a forum discussing Muslims or Islam, we will naturally emerge as the female Muslim voices.Excuse me but, don’t wait until there is a forum for you! This is a serious, urgent situation where you’ve got women being jailed and stoned to death for adultery in Muslim countries and even being jailed and punished even after they’ve been raped (after a certain number of men described by law have implicated her as being the guilty party). You go to jail for even being outside without being escorted by a male. You’ve got the most serious human rights violations against women imaginable in most of these Muslim countries. Until you speak up and work to get those fixed don’t go talking about how liberated you are. Have you ever seen the fear in a Muslim’s woman face after being a buried up to her waist with men topping off the dirt around her with shovels about to be stoned to death? How can you even begin to celebrate being a Muslim woman as long as this is happening?

  • dcpsinsider

    I wish all Muslim women had the freedom to NOT wear the hijab if they choose, as you and Miss America have done. I wish all Muslim women had the freedom to leave unhappy marriages, marry whomever they want, and not be killed in honor killings as you do in this country.Until then, I question how wonderful it really is to be a Muslim woman. I guess it’s wonderful – in the United States.

  • Capn0ok

    Religion – the most popular excuse for not thinking for oneself.

  • jdsher00

    The very first commenter had it right. With no bias toward the article’s content, when oh when oh when will the supposedly enlightened editors at places like The Post stop the absurd use of the nonsense word “Judeo-Christian”? The author here has done a reasonable job describing Christian beliefs, but there’s nothing Jewish about them.Will Christians please take enough pride in and responsibility for their own religion to stop pretending they are Judeo-Christians? Christianity is just a fine religion all by itself. So is Islam, and it is to Muslims’ credit that they don’t go around claiming to be “Christo-Muslims” or “Judeo-Muslims” or “Judeo-Christo-Muslims.”Wake up, editors! Why is this ridiculous word “Judeo-Christian” the only time when it’s okay to print complete and total falsehoods about the beliefs of an entire people? In the middle of an article attempting to dispel different religious falsehoods, no less. Earth to editors: until there is such a religion as “Judeo-Christianity,” do not print the word “Judeo-Christian.”

  • SusanMarie2

    DCPS, EXACTLY. What she perceives as hate and vitriol may actually be genuine concern. I care about what happens to women in other countries and other religions around the world. I’d go to war to save one woman!

  • mipost1

    Personally, I feel sorrow, pity and fear every time I see a woman in full veil and robe. But whatever the theological pros and cons of this discussion, be aware that today it was reported in some British papers that three Muslim girls’ schools in England require all students to wear full covering going to and from school. So this degrading manifestation of a broader subjection verging on slavery is being forced on young and vulnerable people in a Western democracy. These schools may even be receiving public funds. Horrors!

  • nanabrown63

    Desertdiva1 : you seem to mix between Islam and Third World countries. Islam, like any other religion, has certain good and bad aspects. Religion is religion. You don’t seem to discuss but to show hatred. Do you think you can go far or improve understanding among the different groups of the society? Is your way of discussing THE CIVILIZED way convincing? If so, “civilization” does have a problem. At least in Islam, all people are viewed as equal, whatever their colour, their country, origin or wealth. And this may be one of the causes why some Muslims find it difficult to adapt. They don’t think of themselves, their civilization or values as inferior. And everybody else wants them to believe it and live it that way.Now in the Globalized World, human beings have to adapt to the idea of living with others of different cultures, different religions and different points of view. It’s true that the interpretation of Islam in some Muslim countries is very literal and is harmful to women. In fact, in those societies, liberating women (educating women, for example, as Islam stipulates) would upset the system which helps their political agenda.Politics profit from religion, not the other way round.In many Muslim countries, laws related to government, commerce, or way of life has nothing to do with Islam. The only “thwarted” aspect kept ferociously is the one related to family laws -which most of the time don’t keep up with the social evolution of women …

  • only1limodriverok

    I for one agree with this concept;I have faith in God.

  • AKafir

    Nanabrown:Why is it that non-muslims are so hated in Islam? Why is it that the hatred for the non-muslims is embedded deeply into the laws of all Islamic countries? Look at the laws of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, Malaysia, and even moderate secular countries like Turkey. Why is it that even in the equivalent of the Golden Rule in Islam, non-muslims are excluded? It is not hate to point out that Islam is not merely a religion but a system of personal and social laws, and also an ideology to order society (Sharia). There is more than ample evidence in the 1440 years of Islamic history, that non-muslims have been and are being treated like less than human under the Islamic rule. Kafirs would be remiss to accept the words of any muslim living among the kafir societies as evidence of the peaceful intentions of Islam. Let the OIC countries decide what kind of Islam they want in this globalized world by starting to treat their own non-muslim minorities as equal citizens of their states. At the moment, OIC wants to shut down any free speech examination of Islam by trying to get UN to make any criticism of Islam or Muhammad a universal crime. That is an attempt to start imposing Sharia, and all Kafirs with half a brain should make sure that any such attempt is defeated.

  • AKafir

    Nanabrown:”At least in Islam, all people are viewed as equal, whatever their colour, their country, origin or wealth. And this may be one of the causes why some Muslims find it difficult to adapt”Not true. It should be “all muslims”. Kafirs (non-muslims) are specifically excluded. Why are non-muslims not allowed in Mecca if they are equal? As I said earlier, this inequality is deeply imbedded in Islam. Kafirs are Najis (see Quran 9:23 for Najjasun) and this fear of the filthy Kafirs has exhibited itself in quite weird ways in Muslim history. Nazi’s were not the first ones to introduce the wearing of the yellow star of David by the jews. That privilege of marking the Kafirs for easy identification goes to Calipha Umar, the companion of prophet of Islam.

  • nanabrown63

    AKafi: Show me any religion which does not say it is the best. Islam is the religion of more than a billion people. How did such a religion manage to convince all those people? I don’t think that violence was the tool that helped it convince people. If Islam hated non Muslims it wouldn’t have won them over. There is something in Islam which even “Muslims” forget to apply. It is Al Ijtihad. This concept literally means hard work in interpreting and finding answers to current questions. The concept of Al Ijtihad stopped with the decline of the Muslim world. The interpretation of religion has declined as well and became very literal and far from responding to the new society. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, can present the best as well as the worst. Interpretation makes the difference.Islam has been utilised for political reasons and women have been harmed. Al burqa, for example, has nothing to do with Islam. The wife of the prophet did lead an army , made speeches in the mosque and argued with men about interpretations of Islamic laws. Her face wasn’t covered.Islam encourages modesty in people in general. Putting the scarf or the Burqa are just interpretations. Nothing in the Coran tells women to hide their hair – as it is done in Judaism for example…I’m afraid, I can’t tell you more today about Islam (I have to go to sleep; I’m working tomorrow). But I do believe that the problem is political and social, not religious.

  • AKafir

    Nanabrown:You did not answer any of the questions.You said Islam treats “all people” as equals. Does it or doesn’t it?

  • bn123

    The phrase: “The Judeo-Christian view of women …” is rather misleading. Examples of Christian model biblical women are Mary mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles. Examples of Jewish model biblical women are Ruth, Esther, Miriam, and Tzipora. The actions and character profiles associated with the Christian biblical women and these associated with the Jewish biblical women don’t easily roll-up into a single concept as would be implied by the phrase “Judeo-Christian view of women”. Your article would be more accurate if you said simply “The Christian view of women …”

  • mercedesccc

    Posted by: AKafir | October 3, 2010 6:40 PM

  • AKafir

    Nanabrown: “Islam is the religion of more than a billion people. How did such a religion manage to convince all those people? I don’t think that violence was the tool that helped it convince people.”The convincing part is and always was minimal. Muhammad was unable to convince more than a handful to convert for the first 13 years. It was only when he gained power and could unsheath the sword of Islam that conversions took place in any number. [“I have been ordered to fight mankind until they say, “Laa ilaaha illallah wa anna Muhammadar Rasool-Ullah – There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad (saw) is the messenger of Allah.” If they say that, their blood and wealth will be saved from me, except from the right of Islam (the Sharee’ah); and their accountability will be with Allah.” (Musnad al-Imaam Ahmad)]and[The messenger Muhammad (saw) said: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children.When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Muhaajiroun (migrants) and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhaajiroun. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fay’ except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers).If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizyah (tax). If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them…” (Saheeh Muslim #1731)]When you combine either convert or pay jiziya or die with the laws for Dhimmis which jiziya implies, you have a perfect set up for conversion to Islam over time. A few of the dhimmi laws I have mentioned before. Here is another one and tell me if it is an incentive to convert: Only the muslim children of a kafir inherit the property of the dead kafir parents. A muslim may not be given the death penalty for killing a kafir.

  • heyrobo

    Rima Fakih and Shazia Kamal are both modern women who, unfortunately, are considered apostates in Islam and are looked down upon by people who follow the Qur’an closely, which more do than you might imagine. There has been a ration of new Islamic behaviour regarding Muslims complaining to their managers about being “forced” to uncover their head as their job (e.g., the woman in Disneyland) requires it; or refusing to take blind people in their taxi with their guide dog, and other instances I’m sure you’ve seen in the media. New terms have been coined, like “Islamophobia” to denounce those who feel threatened by the religion, (especially Jews who are regarded as monkeys in the Qur’an and are to be killed along with infidels–me, for example), and people are berated for voicing their opinions about Islam, the Ground Zero mosque, and other issues. To me, Islam is the most intolerant religion in the world. It is also totally without humor and life–in fact, Muslims look forward to death, at least the religious ones do. I really believe the country is asleep at the wheel regarding the dangers of this religion and I hope I’m wrong.

  • thenerd

    Non-Muslims often point out, in a tone of reproach, that Islam does not have millions of faithful around the world if it had been spread by force. The following clarifications will understand that, far from being spread by the sword, Islam spread rapidly through the force of its truth, and its use reasoning and logic:

  • chronos

    This post is astonishing in that it articulates nothing of substance. There is nothing cogent here.Why don’t you say in plain English what you believe, what specifically you think will help the world become better, and exactly what narrative you’re apparently trying to shape (you can shape your beliefs but not other’s so not sure what your point is – you can share beliefs which is fine but others will make up their own mind).By the way whether woman or man, you are not strong, confident, intelligent or successful because you say you are – those who actually embody these qualities rarely even think of them. They just live and do the needful, and sometimes others who may have an interest seem to notice. But the doer doesn’t care.

  • AKafir

    Not true.[ Islam is a verb and a noun at the same time.The first meaning of "Islam" is the verb from the root "aslama" (a verb), meaning to: "surrender; submit; obey; sincerity and in peace."The second meaning of "Islam" is the noun form from the same root, and it describes the last and final form of the way of life as perscribed by the Creator for His Creation. This is the name used in Quran for Muslims to call themselves as followers of "Islam". This would make them "Islam-ers" in English, but of course in Arabic the prefix "mu" is added to denote the one preforming the action or verb and instead it becomes "mu"-"islam" or "Muslim." ]Was Islam spread by the sword? Well judge for yourself:

  • AKafir

    The previous post was in response to Thenerd saying: Islam means “peace” and asserting that Islam was not spread by the sword. Arab empire spread very rapidly and Muslim rulers were a minority and most of the middle east did not identify themselves as arabs initially. Making laws that rewarded coversion to Islam and punishing severely if you remained a kafir, most conquered people converted. Not only that but they lost their “identity” became arabs. That arabization is visible in Pakistan and Bangladesh at the moment. Read V.S. Naipaul on his travels among the believers to see why he correctly pinpoints Islam really as arab imperialism.

  • thenerd

    Islam a peaceful religion : Do you believe what we are actually doing in the world today (Iraq, Afghanistan ….) is also a way to spread democracy through war(by sword = bombs and guns) or by peace? ” Who have killed more? our Ghazawates to spread democracy or the swords of Islam? we must say, Islam has created one of the most powerful civilizations and the most scientific and other civilizations including ours draws all the knowledge (maths, medicine, chemistry, astronomy …) from it till today. let’s be humble and seek the truth without pride.

  • kanishka1

    Here is the answer whether or not Islam was spread by sword:Will Durant in his epic creation “The story of civilization” considered the book that has had the most impact in the understanding and study of world history, says: Please Google who Will Durant is, to appreciate how deep was his knowledge about world history.

  • AKafir

    Thenerd claims “The Muslims ruled Spain for 800 yearsBernard Lewis in the Jews of Islam (1984) argues that Islam traditionally did not offer equality nor even pretended that it did, arguing that it would have been both a “theological as well as a logical absurdity.” He is absolutely correct. No muslim ruler then or even today can possibly give equality to non-muslims in any muslim country. Now how bad is the treatment of the non-muslims? Well that depends on the muslim ruler of the time. Over a 800 year period, there would have been lenient rulers and there would have been monsters. Read Andrew Bostom’s Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism to see the treatment of the jews in spain, and read Bet Ye’or’s book on Dhimmitude to see the treatment of non-muslims under the Ottomans.Read Ali Dashti (who the Iranians brutally killed when he was in his eighties) explains why the Muslim rulers would lighten up when the jiziya revenue stream would start drying up because of too many being converted by outright force. But over time the laws lead to nearly 95%+ muslim countries. Clarification for a previous post:

  • kanishka1

    When we now think of the Afghan city of Kandahar, we equate it with the Taliban. But its original name was Gandhara, and it was a part of the ancient Hindu-Buddhist civilization with its capital city in Taxila. While it was no utopia, it was a stable, prosperous civilization that threatened none of its neighbors, and has bequeathed us a wealth of artifacts that attest to its high level of cultural development.The reason I mention this period of Indian history is to try and understand the bitterness that must exist in many Hindu minds over the Muslim conquest of their country. In his Story of Civilization, Will Durant writes: “The Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest in history in which more than 80 million peace-loving Hindus and Buddhists were eliminated”. While historical events should be judged in the context of their times, it cannot be denied that even in that bloody period of history, no mercy was shown to the Hindus unfortunate enough to be in the path of either the Arab conquerors of Sindh and south Punjab, or the Central Asians who swept in from Afghanistan.The Muslim heroes who figure larger than life in the history books of Pakistan, committed some dreadful crimes. Mohammad Bin Qasim, Mahmud of Ghazni, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, Balban, Sultan Mohammad Tughlak, Ahmad Shah Abdali, Mohammad Gauri, Allauddin Khilji,Jallaluddin Babur, Nadir Shah, Tamur Lang, all have blood-stained hands that the passage of years has not cleansed. Indeed, the presence and narration of Muslim historians on their various campaigns has ensured that the memory of their deeds will live long after they were buried.Seen through Hindu eyes, the Muslim invasion of their homeland was an unmitigated disaster. Their temples were razed, their idols smashed, their women pared, their men killed or taken slaves. When Mahmud of Ghazni entered Somnath temple on ONE of his annual raids, he slaughtered all 50,000 inhabitants. Aibak killed and enslaved hundreds of thousands Hindus. The list of horrors is long and painful.These conquerors justified their deeds by claiming it was their religious duty to smite non-believers. Cloaking themselves in the banner of Islam, they claimed they were fighting for their faith when, in reality, they were indulging in straightforward slaughter and pillage. When these warriors settled in India, they ruled as absolute despots over a cowed Hindu populace….” Irfan Hussain.

  • thenerd

    Islam is a peaceful religion :

  • Bios

    Nana,In the US muslims were not adapting to society before 9/11 either. It was just not in the news.I do agree with your statement about improving women’s lives and I wish it were true that a muslim woman has power in her society. Maybe not enough?

  • Bios

    Catken,

  • thenerd

    Akafir, your are wrong Islam is not a verb ! the verb is aslama.

  • thenerd

    women were all the time through all the ages handeled as a sexual things . it is islam who gave a hugh degree in the society for the women and gave them honour and rights. and of course obligations , like it gave also to the men. and don’t believe people who tell so why man can be married to 04 women ? you will easily be surprised if you read the Quran that marrying the second woman is difficult to gather all the conditions (you wife for example can give you a male, ill, to avoid to have an extra conjugal relation -which 80% of Americans had or have in their lives – and even if one has all the conditions satisfied, the God in of Musilms in Quran says ‘ you have to be equal with both of them , but you can not” so read and think …personally, i think that Quran is the most closer to a real life and can be used really as a rule book…in my opinion is a good idea at least to read it. not to be muslim lol but at least to not misunderstand our friends muslims …

  • AKafir

    Thenerd:I am an ex-muslim. Most of my family is still muslim. So muslims are a bit more than my friends. Again, muslims are not the problem at all, but we have to start being honest about Islam and what it really means and what it really says. Here is a well researched article by another ex-muslim on women in Islam. It is absolutely worth a read: Before the advent of Islam, the pagan Arab women generally enjoyed a respectable status in society; many of them Khadija- the first wife of the prophet of Islam, had the right to engage in business and choose or dismiss their husbands in a matrilineal fashion; they took part in most activities of war and peace including public worship. In female oriented Arab paganism, goddesses had special status; in Mecca, the female goddess Al-Uzza, in Taif the goddess Al-Lat and in Medina the goddess Manat were the most popular deities, and their statues were most revered while the statue of the stern Allah was almost neglected.Arab pagan poetry was mostly concerned with the beauty and grace of their women, and the glory of their tribal values in peace and war. And it was only in one predator tribe of Mecca that the evil custom of burying alive of the daughters prevailed. It was highly unusual for a man of pre-Islamic Arab society to have more than one wife in his house; and it is quite certain that polygamy was introduced and encouraged by the prophet after the revelation of Islam.Women were to produce as many Muslims as possible. This Ultimately resulted in the degradation in the status of the married woman in the Islamic society. Whereas the pre-Islamic Arab custom allowed many looser forms of marriage on the matrilineal and matri-local tradition that gave the woman freedom and liberty as full human being, however the artificial rules of Islamic nikah reduced marriage to mere sexual and social slavery. ******************Read the rest at the link.

  • thenerd

    For Akafir,

  • AKafir

    Thenerd: “the idea is to say in God (Allah) the Muslim believes and gives his life “I think the world is learning well about how a Muslim, especially a young one, is eager to “give his life”, and Allah keeps reminding the believer than there is a great reward to give his life in the cause of Allah ( Jihad fi sabeel Allah).

  • thenerd

    Akafir,

  • thenerd

    Akafir,

  • thenerd

    Cooerection :

  • thenerd

    Akafir,

  • AKafir

    Thenerd:You did not answer any of the questions I asked you. I am not trying to find problems with the quran. I have asked you to look at certain verses and tell me what the quran says. Why is that a problem with you?The quran does say that you can beat your wife if you fear that she will be rebellious. I show you imams agreeing with me. That is Quran surah 4 ayet 34 (4:34).The quran does say that you can marry and have sex with a girl who is very young and may not even have reached menstrual age. That is Quran 65.4 and 33.9. I am not the one who says that. Many of the very renowned imams of Islam say that. I showed you a saudi sheikh telling you that it is acceptable to marry off a one year old. He is the one who says that Muhammad married a child of six year old and had sex with her when she was nine. Now you claimed that there are many verses in the Quran that tells the muslims to be kind and good to the non-muslims. I have asked you to show me those verses. I never found any. I would like you to show some to me. I can show you verses where Allah is telling muslims to be very very harsh with non-muslims.

  • nanabrown63

    Akafir, BIOS,As I tried to explain in my previous posts, Islam is a religion like the other religions. You cannot judge it as you do by reading it superficially. Literal interpretation is of course wrong and harmful – and this is what has been happening since the decision to use this kind of Islam to combat socialism.What is seen is this ugly and extremist use of Islam, like polygamy (which should be forbidden if the Coran is well read), or fighting (which is the literal meaning of the more noble word jihad, meaning working hard and pushing oneself towards achieving purity and social advancement), etc.Islam is above all a set of values : education, knowledge, hard work, peace, good relationships among neighbours and family members, social solidarity, modesty, equality, justice, honesty… There are no priests in Islam as there are no intermediaries between God and the Muslim…Islam protects the mother (unlike Catholics, for example, when in danger, the mother has a priority over the unborn baby). Islam is a religion which relies on the moral judgement of the Muslim. It’s up to the Muslim to decide whether, for example, he should fast or pray or go to Mecca. It depends on his own choice, health and circumstances. It is a religion of easy not difficult practice “deen yusr la usr”.I don’t have enough knowledge of religions to compare them. It seems to me, however, that they share many core aspects. The difference among them is the way they have been used by politics and politicians.This misuse of religion has created extremism and a narrow-minded understanding to great texts. All religions have to be separated from the state, and to be a personal choice.

  • Bios

    Hi Nana,

  • Secular

    The Quranic narrative teaches that both Adam and Eve were both equally responsible for their sins and were later forgiven by God, and the pangs of childbirth that are considered punishment for women in the Bible, are actually moments of reward and blessing for women in Islam. I cannot believe this nonsense. I even read the the url pointed in the above text. It is full of rationalizations of Islamic admonishments against Jewish, & Christian admonishments of the past and finally see Islamic admonishments are not quite as bad as those of the others. This what goes for intellectual discussion? The point is Shazia, overwhelming majority of westerners and even non-islamic easterners have thrown that nonsense in the dust heap of history and are marching on with Zeitgeist, where as Muslims are still in the rationalization game, while their million are living abject poverty looking forward to the judgment day. We have the posters here arguing the nuances, such as,1) Judaism does not hold with “original sin.” It holds Adam and Even equally responsible for the error, and that is what it is viewed as, an error. This is absolute silly season, the stupid story of talking snakes and eating Apple or was it Pomegranate started the humanity on the wrong track. Does it really matter how one stupid religion interprets over another. The dumb story has no moral to convey than any of the Aesop’s fables. As matter of fact that story is downright evil. It tells you to obediently follow orders no matter what, otherwise beware and be afraid, very afraid. that is the true interpretation of that awful story. You all call yourself rational and believe in this talking snake story? You quibble about the its interpretations? I am told to read Tanakh or whatever it is so I can appropriately interpret this nonsense. Nonsense is nonsense, except when it is religious nonsense. Then I have to learn the nuances of the nonsense, before offering my opinions. Sorry it does not work that way.

  • suraiyasaw

    The Muslim world is not devoid of misogynistic interpretations of the Quran as with the any other religion. Modern religions came around after we, Mankind moved from matriarchal to patriarchal control. I am a Muslim female and I am not a feminist, but I do believe in freedom, equality and justice for all of us; men, women,children, elderly, disabled, animals, trees, the environment and all of God’s creation. On women, if we, in Islam are so much more equal to men than in Christianity or Judaism, you would not be writing this article about the leaders amongst Muslim women; Muslim women would have been in the forefront of everything since Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As with all the other revelations, it is not the revelation itself but the misogynistic interpretation of these revelations that has brought us back to the dark ages,and we continue to walk in the dark even as we make believe that we CAN SEE.

  • Secular

    On women, if we, in Islam are so much more equal to men than in Christianity or Judaism, you would not be writing this article about the leaders amongst Muslim women; By Suraiyasaw

  • Nabihah

    please check out