Reconciling Feminism and Muslim Religious Freedom

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Modern Muslim Women

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

 

Since the New York Ground Zero Mosque debate began, I have been having an internal paradox pulling me from one opinion to another. As said before, I strongly believe that Muslims have the same right as anyone to build a place of worship wherever they choose. I feel that Muslims are to the 2000’s as African Americans were to the 1950’s. The fear, hate, misunderstanding and ignorance clouds the judgment and decision making of otherwise seemingly rational adults. I think people need to recognize this before we enter into a new society of accepted prejudice…this time in the form of religism.   

However, I am often confronted with the questions about how women are treated in this religion and why or how I could support those beliefs. There is no denying that the abuse and disrespect of women run rampant in these cultures. At least that is how we as Americans see it.   

I read a few articles about how the feminist movement is indeed occuring in these middle eastern countries. And while they may not be caught up to the freedoms we appreciate here, changes are happening in those cultures. I have also learned that the stonings and other horrifying stories we hear about are committed – once again – by extremists who use their religion and the Qu’ran to abuse their power. In the video below, ABC‘s 20/20 examines the Muslim culture and religion and answered questions from Americans. Many of the “facts” in my mind were actually false and this episode really helped in my understanding in the matter of women in the Muslim tradition. I feel it is something every American should see. If we are to judge and make condemnations on a religion or a culture as a whole…we need to have the facts before doing so.   

I also feel that American pride is often confused with ethnocentrism. We are grateful for our freedoms and advancements here in America. But do we really have a right to push or even force our way of life on other cultures around the globe? Perhaps we need to allow these other countries and groups to mature and develop on their own time schedule. The women in these countries are now beginning to stand up and take action. It is their place to do so, not ours. I do think that when in communication with other countries, it should be known that we – as a country and as a people – denounce the actions they take against women. But after that, they need to forge that path for themselves the same way American women did not so long ago.   

Also, one more thing. Because an American is Muslim does not mean they support these atrocities against an entire gender. American Muslims are NOT allowed to beat their wives or stone their children. For that, we can be proud. But we must remember that a person choosing a belief is not the same as a person condoning the behavior of extremists from across the world.   

Being a not-so-religious person…and quite frankly having a personal aversion to organized religion…I think it is extremely important to point out that I am NOT against any particular religions. I am against extremists regardless of what they chose to worship.   

Please watch the video below and pass it along. It is the full episode as I did not see how one part was more important than another. So it is about 40 mins long. I think you will learn something that may just surprise you.   

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Muslim Feminism: Women At Prayer | Femagination.   

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About Heather Rayne

I am a mom, wife, writer, volunteer, eater of food, lover of animals and avid TV enthusiast. I am opinionated, honest, compassionate and sensitive. I can also be difficult, hard headed and emotional. I consider myself to have a great sense of humor and am very attracted to that in others. I am striving to live an authentic life. I am attempting to learn how to find happiness in the now. I always have hope to be a better person. That being said - I can be vulgar, negative and even a little bitchy at times. I say what I mean and my filter is often dysfunctional. With me, what you see is what you get. I have strong opinions and am quick to speak my mind. This can cause problems from time to time but I do not ever intend to hurt or offend anyone. With that - be warned. I do hope you enjoy my site. Thanks for visiting and have a swell day.

2 responses »

  1. This is a tough one for me as well. I have visited Muslim countries and have seen some of the things in the report. Does it matter where a mosque goes? Not really. Some don’t like churches either. This argument I think goes more to it’s location. Could they build it somewhere else? Sure they could, but they picked this spot. People fear the unknown. Are their radical Muslim, yes, we’ve seen them in action. Are their radical Christians? Yep, we’ve seen them in action too picketing funerals of dead soldiers. (Don’t get the connection at all). As far as the women’s rights go in the Muslim religion, that speaks of the culture. When it comes to human rights, it’s tough to draw lines. Much of our clothes and other items come from countries with poor human rights stances, yet we still support them. We have rights here, but sometimes we don’t treat people like people, we treat them like animals, so I don’t know which is worse, open human rights violations or the more secretive ones.

    • I just saw that again…the protesting at the soldiers funerals…it makes me so sick to my stomach. And this is happening in THIS country. People need to take a pill, smoke a joint, get a massage…do some fuckin thing because ppl are going INSANE and it is getting out of control. Its like the world is turning into a population of psychopaths.

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