Is There A Place for Gay Muslims?

Progressive…  Traditional…  Liberal…  Radical…  Fundamentalist…  Modern…  Tolerant…  Moderate…  Extremist…
Which one is the real Islam?  And what is Islam’s real stance on homosexuality?  From Iranian Supreme Leader Khomeini’s fatwa allowing sex-change operations to recent homo-phobic ’emo’-hunts in Iraq, there are a lot of claims to that title.
Here follows a discussion between “Brave Power”- a Buddhist male, “Hari”- a Muslim male, “Safety”- a Muslim female, and myself.  It starts with an article about Islam, sexuality and Islam’s relevancy in the modern age.  As usual there’s something to shock and intrigue everyone, but no voice is ever silenced.
Qahirii, every angle, every side…

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SAFETY:  the threat within……………. may ALLAH rectify them and guide them back.

Progressive Muslims Launch Gay-Friendly, Women-Led Mosques In Attempt To Reform American Islam

At first, the devout Muslims who gathered in a Washington, D.C., conference center seemed like they could have come from any mosque…
HARI:   I would be interested to hear their arguments. Imam Malik said women could serve as judge – in any type of court. Abu Hanifa said they could too – but in civil, not criminal courts. The way we are told things have to be and not always the only way they could be.
SAFETY:  Agreed on the last part of the statement, however in terms of what they are doing, women leading men/ women shoulder to foot with men/ and favorable reception of homosexuality as a norm doesn’t fit into the first part of the statement. truth is relative in some situations- Not these though. whatever their argument may be, it wont jive along side of sunni tradition/ sharia law. at best it’s a way liberal exceedance
BRAVE POWER:   I am grateful for my gay friends, their partners, and their husbands and wives. They are good, ethical, generous people (though I am sure that there are others who are not.) They are solid members of out community who are as worthy of love, acceptance, and celebration as anyone. If a holy book instructs us to judge and revile a huge group of people who we have never met – it is time to question its validity and holiness. If tradition causes one to harm those who are harming no one, it is a tradition to be abandoned or replaces with a tradition of kindness. If a tradition cannot be questioned, it is just another form of oppression.
– 
SAFETY:  

Dr. Sherman Jackson responds to an audience question regarding Gay Muslims and homosexuality in Islam.

SAFETY:  Brave Power, you wrongly assume that religious instruction as to the way’s certain aspect’s of life are carried out (by some ppl) instructs other ppl to leave off love and compassion. Not the case @ all…. also homosexuality isnt THE necessary aim of address here, in this particular article it’s homosexuality, mixed ranks, and a woman leading a mixed prayer. this article aside though, islam aims to address all of the behavioral short comings of mankind. the persuit of real success would have mankind bend himself to fit religion. and ask ones self candidly how much good there can be in a religion that bends to fit the whims of it’s followers? islam does address human need, but it can’t be confused with new wave norm/ everything goes ideology.that established, the point you’re arguing seems to be whether homosexuality is a behavioral short coming or not. for that matter the same questioning can be applied regarding strange men and women praying side by side and or being led by a female imam in mixed company, to which i’d say there will always be limit pushers, but that (i.e. limit pushing) doesn’t create a new standard. religion put’s an acountability on human behavior and condition in all aspects of life. public and personal. inner AND outer the same. the blueprint is no more in need of being laid. a working on the self is more in need so that the human being is malleable enough to adjust his/her actions according to what’s divinely expected of him/her. and again this standard addresses all aspects of the inner/ outer being. Not just homosexuality. lying, stealing, envy jealousy, greed, ect ect ect…. are also encompassed in this struggle to fix up the self.
BRAVE POWER:  Safety,  I am not certain that I understand all of your post. I seems that you take the position that one can simultaneously persecute, love, and have compassion for someone. Some fundamentalist Christians claim to love and have compassion for “confused” Muslims at the same time that they are willing to bomb them to get oil. I suspect that you do not believe their claims of love. Why is this different?You also seem to present the tired old false dichotomy that one must rigidly follow ancient religious texts OR act on whim (without wisdom) and accept that “anything goes”. How can intelligent people see this as the only choice? This is insulting to humankind, for it gives people no credit for ability to make wise choices without looking it up in a book. I also aspire to follow a blueprint found in texts that are millennia old. As with all such paths, it requires effort, discipline and wise behavior. This tradition has also been male-oriented because, like Islam, it arose at a time and in a culture that were that way. However, the founder of this tradition said that only when one personally knows that a certain teaching is skillful, blameless, praiseworthy, and conducive to happiness, and that it is praised by the wise, should one then accept it as true and practice it. This is neither new age or implies that “anything goes”. It does allow me to see anti-homosexual prejudice for what it is – not “conducive to happiness”, “blameless”, or “praiseworthy”. Persecution of anyone – gays, blacks, Muslims, atheists (the list is huge) is not praised by the wise, but by the indoctrinated. And abandoning such behavior does not open the door for lying, stealing, jealousy and greed.
HARI:  Safety,  I am not disagreeing with you – but you know I was on an masjid executive committee years ago and quickly learned one thing- you have to be extremely cautious and defensive when speaking to the media, because they may print sonething totally against the spirit of what you meant, by choosing select comments without context – so I wonder if they are being represented accurately. And I am also curious how they came to the positions they have.
 
HARI:  OK, I just read the article. This quote kinda says it all: “I think Shariah [law] is totally made up,” shot back Zonneveld. ” She either does not know our history or is just not that smart.
QAHIRII:  We can argue back and forth about the acceptability of homosexuality, so let’s test both of these hypotheses:
A.  From Newsweek:  A New Gay Disease?
Before you read further, make sure you’ve actually read the above links. At least browse them. It’s not what I want to believe, it’s what anyone can find online, from a variety of websites. This is science, well-sourced, well-researched biology, plain and simple.Whether we like it or not, homosexual SEX (not the identity or inclination), like other behaviors forbidden in Islam (adultery, fornication, promiscuity), exposes the individual, and the unsuspecting society, to physical harm. In fact, as the above cases indicate, such activities are the SOURCE of this harm. This is in keeping with the 1400-year-old prophecy that when promiscuity increased, we would see appearance of new diseases that never existed before. Modern science confirms this prophecy.So, if it is a question of tolerance, Islam does not judge a person for homosexual feelings, any more that it judges a person for the desire to steal, kill, commit fornication or commit adultery. A person cannot control what is in their heart, but they can control their actions. There is substantial material in the Qur-aan and ahaadeeth (prophetic narrations) dealing with the purification of the self and softening of the heart.In the case of forbidden sexual relations, whose effects are claiming millions of lives, orphaning children, infecting unsuspecting jilted spouses, victimizing innocent newborns and possibly being used as biological warfare, even still Islaam tolerates it. It is only the act which is so brazen, so shameless that four reliable people are witness to it, to the very act of penetration, that Islam does not tolerate. This is beyond the limit, a limit which must be upheld for corruption not to spread until it becomes a norm. This word, limits, in Arabic is “hudood”, often wrongly translated is punishment. There is indeed a punishment, a severe one, but no more severe, and in fact much less than the damaging effects of the activities it discourages.So homosexuality will never be a part of Islam. It is not a part of a guided way of life, nor of a peaceful way of life. But societies have taken such a turn that pleasure has become a way of life, and whole masses consider themselves enlightened, blind to the fact that they are grovelling slaves to gratification, a humiliating slavery that numbs the intellect, deadens the heart, and leave the soul susceptible to manipulation by whoever can control the means to pleasure. This lifestyle below even the instincts of animals, yet we consider it better because of the cave man’s logic that “newer is better”.“…But when there come unto you from Me a guidance, then whoso followeth My guidance, he will not go astray nor come to grief.
But whosoever turns away from My Reminder, verily for him is a life narrowed down…”
– Qur-aan 20.124-5
BRAVE POWER:  Sexual promiscuity (as well as breast milk) is what transmits HIV. It (sexual promiscuity, not breast milk) is not wise in any group and is rejected by gays much as it is rejected by heterosexuals (check CDC data about promiscuity). You fail to mention that a huge proportion of all HIV-tainted relationships are heterosexual – many transmitted in heterosexual male-dominated cultures which vilify prostitutes and give the men who visit them a free ride. According to the World Health Organization, of the 34 million people with AIDS in 2010, over 20 million were women and children. Surely you’re not suggesting they got it from lesbians.One can only see HIV/AIDS as a “gay disease” by cherry-picking the statistics. It is just as wrong as saying that AIDS is a “black man’s disease”. The CDC data show that African Americans are more susceptible to HIV than other groups, and most of the world’s HIV transmission is by heterosexual men in Africa (UN data). How would you respond to having AIDS labeled a “black man’s disease”?What you say about the downsides of being “slaves to gratification” certainly has truth to it. But it is no different for gays than for anyone else. Why pick on gays when they in no way define the much larger problem? Does Islam reject wealthy people, too? If not, why not? Does Islam categorically reject people who play addicting video games, live in big houses, use air conditioning, and go shopping at the mall a bit too often? What about people who are addicted to their own self-concept of holiness – who are influential in their mosques (or other place of worship) but do not get the point?You are correct that there are many spiritual benefits of renunciation. However, renunciation is what a person chooses for himself/herself not what is chosen by someone else for him.
QAHIRII:  Well I’ll never bite the hand that fed me knowledge.
BRAVE POWER:   ‎: ) You’re a good man, Qahirii. It’s OK when we do not agree.
QAHIRII:  So please allow me to respectfully submit that I have mentioned promiscuity as one of the activities that is also banned in Islam. If the Islamic edicts regarding sex and intoxicants were upheld, then HIV/AIDS would not be infecting breastfeeding mothers, blood donors/recipients or any ethnic community. Further, going back to our original topic, there is significant research, of which I have presented only a sample, specifically linking certain diseases- and/or heightened risks to these diseases- to homosexual sexual activity.
As such, and as usual, the sharee’ah bans that which has a greater harm than benefit to individuals and communities. In the example of falling from a plane without a parachute, there will inevitably be someone who survives it. However, most people will die or be hurt, and there is little if any benefit to it. The same goes with smoking and alcohol. Similarly, while there are benefits we can debate, and exceptions that we can establish, fornication, adultery, homosexual sex, as well as other activities (including, as you wisely point out, inner states of being) are of a greater harm than benefit, to individuals and communities. So they are forbidden, but we, as commanded by Allaah, are not to go spying on or unduly suspecting each other. And while we continually strive to purify and uplift our selves and communities, we are free to enjoy the wide array of permissible alternatives, which are more numerous and plentiful than what is restricted to us.
HARI:   I would be interested in any argument for accepting homosexuality as a legal practice from a sharia’ perspective – if any have heard of one, I would appreciate you posting a reference. I have never heard of one, but there is a chapter on the topic in a book I have – Ill take a look when I can.
All comments welcomed…

Hijab Success Story: 15-year-old Harvard Fresh(wo)man

Piscataway girl, 15, decides to go to Harvard after being accepted to 13 colleges

By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger

Saheela Ibraheem wasn’t sure any college would want to admit a 15-year-old. So the Piscataway teen hedged her bets and filled out applications to 14 schools from New Jersey to California.

“It’s the age thing. I wanted to make sure I had options,” said Saheela, a senior at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison.

In the end, 13 colleges accepted her — including six of the eight Ivy League schools.

After weeks of debate, Saheela settled on Harvard. She will be among the youngest members of the school’s freshman class.

“I’ll be one of the youngest. But I won’t be the youngest,” the soon-to-be 16-year-old said.

Saheela is among the millions of high school seniors who had to finalize their college decisions by Monday, the deadline for incoming freshman to send deposits to the school of their choice. Nationwide, this year’s college selection process was among the most competitive in history as most top colleges received a record number of applications.

Saheela joins a growing number of New Jersey students going to college before they are old enough to drive. Last year, Kyle Loh of Mendham graduated from Rutgers at 16. In previous years, a 14-year-old from Cranbury and two of his 15-year-old cousins also graduated from Rutgers.

For Saheela, her unusual path to college began when she was a sixth-grader at the Conackamack Middle School in Piscataway. Eager to learn more about her favorite subject, math, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants asked to move to a higher-level class. The school let her skip sixth grade entirely.

By high school, Saheela said, she was no longer feeling challenged by her public school classes. So, she moved to the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, a 420-student private school, where she skipped her freshman year and enrolled as a 10th-grader. Her three younger brothers, twins now in the ninth grade and a younger brother in second grade, all eventually joined her at the school.

School officials were impressed Saheela, one of their top students, didn’t spend all her time studying.

“She’s learned and she’s very smart. But she keeps pushing herself,” said William Jenkins, the Wardlaw-Hartridge School’s director of development.

ibraheem-2.JPGAaron Houston/For The Star-LedgerSaheela Ibraheem, a 15-year-old senior at Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, has been admitted to 13 colleges, and chose to attend Harvard this fall. Photo taken during a Wardlaw-Hartridge softball game in Piscataway.

Saheela also excels outside the classroom. She is a three-sport athlete, playing outfield for the school’s softball team, defender on the soccer team, and swimming relays and 50-meter races for the swim team. She also sings alto in the school choir, plays trombone in the school band and serves as president of the school’s investment club, which teaches students about the stock market by investing in virtual stocks.

Saheela began applying to colleges last fall. Her applications included her grade point average (between a 96 and 97 on a 100-point scale) and her 2,340 SAT score (a perfect 800 on the math section, a 790 in writing and a 750 in reading).

She was delighted when she got her first acceptance in December from California Institute of Technology. “I was so excited. I got into college!,” Saheela said.

More acceptances followed from Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Williams College, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis.

On March 30, she got her sole rejection letter — from Yale. Saheela isn’t sure why the Ivy League school didn’t want her.

“My parents were thinking it was the age thing,” she said.

Saheela was torn between going to MIT and Harvard. A visit to both campuses last month made the choice easy. “She went to Harvard and she fell in love with the place,” said Shakirat Ibraheem, her mother.

Saheela said she wants to major in either neurobiology or neuroscience and plans to become a research scientist who studies how the brain works. As for her own brain, Saheela insists she is nothing special.

She credits her parents with teaching her to love learning and work hard. Her father, Sarafa, an analyst and vice president at a New York financial firm, would often study with her at night and home school her in subjects not taught at school.

“I try my best in everything I do,” Saheela said. “Anyone who’s motivated can work wonders.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported the number of Ivy League colleges. There are eight. Saheela Ibraheem did not apply to Dartmouth College.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/05/piscataway_15-year-old_girl_he.html

Gallery

Hijab Success Story: Basketball Star

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Geoff Calkins: Muslim basketball player Bilqis Abdul- Qaadir prepares for first season with Memphis By Geoff Calkins Friday, October 15, 2010 At just before 5 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, the point guard signals to the head coach and … Continue reading

Hijab (head), niqab (face), and jilbab (body)

Sociology of Gender: the Hijab

The following is a final exam paper I wrote on the practice of hijab (Islamic veil).  I was in a Sociology class called “Sociology of Gender” taught by Dr. Elizabeth Bernstein at Barnard College.  It presents the results of a survey I conducted at Columbia University that shows that non-Muslims and Westerners fail to understand this and other practices because they focus on forcing their assumptions on the situation rather than considering what Islam really means.  I got a B+…

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Daniel Nehemiah Oliver

Sociology of Gender Final Question 2

There is no god but ALLAH.  Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of ALLAH be upon him) is the Messenger of ALLAH.  Sincere belief in these statements makes one a Muslim.  They are the fundamental, guiding principles of Muslim life.  They, for instance, establish the Qur’an unquestionably as the word of ALLAH, brought to humanity by his Messenger.  Belief in ALLAH and His Messenger and the authority of the Qur’an figure importantly in the Muslim/Western

Dr. Homa Hoodfar

debate over veiling moreso than Hoodfar, in The Veil in their Minds and on their Heads*, realizes.  She rightly identifies the Qur’an as an influencing factor in Middle Eastern veiling practices, but her essay does not explore its implications.  Her argument is based mainly on historical and sociological sketches that illuminate truths about Middle Eastern society and Muslim culture, but by ignoring Islam as a faith, and failing to acknowledge Muslims as a distinct, diverse group, held together by and operating upon the dynamics of this faith, the discussion of veiling loses credibility and explanatory value.  This paper presents the findings of a study aimed at exploring and explaining this crucial and little understood aspect of veiling.

Palestinian Christians in headscarves

To this end, I selected a survey sample that could represent these unheard and ignored voices.  I picked 3 types of respondents, whom I coded as “Muslims”, “Muslimahs” and “Hijabis”.  The Muslims were two male Muslims, one born Muslim (Muslim B) and one revert to islam (Muslim R).  (Those who accept Islam from another faith are called reverts rather than converts, due to a belief that all things are born in, and some later corrupted from, fitrah, a natural state of submission to ALLAH.)  The Muslimahs were two Muslim women who do not veil;  one born Muslim (Muslimah B) and one revert (Muslimah R).  The Hijabis were two Muslim women who do veil, also known as wearing hijab;  one born Muslim (Hijabi B) and one revert (Hijabi R).  All six of these were affiliated with Columbia University or Barnard College either as undergraduates, graduate students, or staff.  Their ages ranged from 18-29, and their backgrounds and living experiences represent the diversity of the world’s Muslims to as great a degree as possible given the sample size.

Islam is the basis of a worldwide community united by belief in the Lordship of ALLAH and the messengership of Muhammad.  This community is diverse in every way that a community can be:  linguistically, culturally, economically,Hijab (head), niqab (face), and jilbab (body) geographically, economically, theologically, and so on.  Veiling and most other practices are not uniform.  These differences, however, are usually not based on belief, but on interpretation of belief.  Take the Qur’an, for example.  There are no versions.  The only variation lies in the rendering of Arabic terms different translators may choose.  So, in the original Árabic, every Muslim reads the same thing, but inevitably many individualized readings result.  Consider the following:

(With the Name of Allah, the Universally Merciful, the Discriminately Merciful)

And say to the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts, and not to show their ornaments except what is apparent, and two draw their veils over their bosoms and not to show their adornments except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women or what their right hands possess, or to their male servants who have no vigor, or children who are not yet aware of women’s private parts…

– Qur’an, Chapter 24 an-Nuur/“The Light”: 31

And

O Prophet, say to your wives, and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments over themselves.  As such it is likelier that they will be recognized and not molested.  ALLAH Is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

– Qur’an, Chapter 33 al-Ahzab/“The Confederates”: 59

It must first be said that this paper is not gaging the accuracy of this translation from the original text.  In addition, the purpose of this paper is not to explain or interpret these verses.  These verses have been presented simply as evidence that the Qur’an contains mandates concerning the practicing of veiling or hijab.  (The word hijab means “screen or veil”, rather than, for example, for example, “headscarf” or “cloak”.  There are many words for Muslim womens’ outer garments, not all of which are found in Islamic literature.)  To Muslims, again, the words of the Qur’an are no less than the words of the One, True God.

All but one respondent, Muslimah B, agreed that hijab is legislated by the Qur’an.  In the words of Muslimah R, “It was prescribed in the Qur’an for women to cover themselves”.  Hijabi B simply answers “ALLAH Commanded it”.  These statements begin to answer one of the questions central to this study and the lager debate over veiling:  why do Muslim women veil themselves?

Hoodfar unduly emphasizes Arabian and Mediterranean traditions dating back to antiquity, but only presents the fact of veil-wearing:  its first recorded references, its changing role in societies over time, etc.  However, the reason for veiling is largely untouched in her essay.  Westerners and feminists have for some time defined their reasons for other women’s veiling customs:  patriarchy, notions of the harem, and extreme repression and domination by men.  This colonial method of assumption is prone to great misunderstandings because these “studies” of Muslims have mostly been unaccompanied by what makes them Muslim:  Islam.  This ignorance seemed apparent to Hoodfar at times, though she did fully address it or elude it.  It was not lost on Hijabi B, quoted here at length, who summarizes wonderfully how Muslims feel about the views of Westerners and academics whose conclusions about Muslims are formed without consideration of Islam.

Did you ever think to ask me?

“Responses to common misconceptions (even by [Columbia] professors teaching about Islam”  Hijab was not a left-over practice from pre-Islamic culture, it doesn’t mean our parents force us to marry our cousins, it’s not just a political statement, it doesn’t limit intellectual development…  it’s not a symbol of male domination, it doesn’t have to be black, it doesn’t make our heads that much warmer in the summer”

She finishes with a telling reflection:  “It can be some of those things, but often is not.”

Other respondents described hijab as:

– “the ultimate necessity for any woman (Muslim R)

– “unfair” (Hijabi R)

– “a chore” (Hijabi R)

– “a wonderful way to protect the modesty of a woman” (Muslimah R)

These are all things that wearing hijab or veiling can be, according to the respondents.  But in the end, they are largely the effects of hijab, not its causes.  For example it is doubtful that that Hijabi R, who feels that hijab is unfair, wears it because it’s unfair.

Regarding cause, interestingly, none of the stereotypical, Western/academic-assigned causes for veiling were quoted by the respondents.  Some were actually refuted, as in Hijabi B’s above quote.  Family pressure was mentioned once, but only as a discouragement against veiling.  All respondents were geographically and socially distant from the Middle East, negating it by default as a cultural explanation of the veiling practice.

To the Muslims of this survey, veiling has a meaning, and a power, that is lost on the minds of Western academia.  Just is in Hoodfar’s essay’s explanation of the veil carrying a sense of power, Hijabi R said that hijab was a way to “fight in the way of ALLAH’s Cause”.  To Muslimah R it was a statement of faith.  Muslimah B felt it “shows one’s inner strength”.  To these women, whether or not they chose to wear it, the hijab was a force, and a statement, as well as a shield and display of modesty.

Why has Western academia, with it sustained contact with Muslim population groups, failed to recognize the value of the practice of veiling?  It is not just because of the colonial/propagandist motivations that do too much to frame western discourse on Muslims.  The seemingly blind misunderstanding is one symptom of a larger problem:  willful ignorance of Islam and refusal to acknowledge faith.  One does not have to be a Muslim to study the practice of veiling, but how can studies of veiling ignore Islam when the practitioners list ALLAH, Islam and the Qur’an as the cause?  Western/non-Muslim perceptions, and to an extent Hoodfar’s essay, fail- refuse, in fact- to capture the reality of veiling as an extension of their refusal to acknowledge Islam.  Sympathizing Western feminists thus perpetuate the paternalism and repression that they suffer by re-inflicting it on Muslim women.  If Western men have historically treated women like objects, then that is all the less reason for them to do the same thing to Muslim women.  The feminist protest is against being treated like a docile, disenfranchised second class, yet feminism, out of ironic sympathy, approaches hundreds of millions across the globe as exactly that.  How can feminists insist on their voices being heard, when they drown the voices of Muslim women?  How can they, perhaps even more ironically, oppose being treated like sexual objects, while fighting for their right to look like one and belittling the women who refuse to?

Veiled Hindu women at a temple

This guise of objectivity is itself a veil, masking an academic and cultural arrogance that causes the scientific standards of Western academia to falter and the societies which it informs to suffer.  Some studies show American Muslims to live at a higher standard-of-living and education level than American non-Muslims.  The statistics of homicide and sexual violence in Western societies soar high above those of Muslim populations.  The tendency to criticize and patronize should be replaced with one to recognize.

The West, especially and perhaps because of its academics and feminists, succumbs to the subjectivity it is so wary of internally because it refuses to subjectively evaluate the meaning, or even acknowledge the statement that there is not deity besides ALLAH and Muhammad is His messenger.

* 1997. “The Veil in Their Minds and on Our Heads: The Persistence of Colonial Images of Muslim Women”, Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital, David Lloyd and Lisa Lowe (eds). Duke University Press, (reprint).

Changing Her Fate

I read article called “Changing her Fate” by Margaret Coker in the 6 May 2007 edition of the Austin-American Statesman,  ‘Insight’ section.  I do not have access to the Statesman’s archives, but I found the article here.  Read it.  It’s about a girl forced into prostitution and forced later to suffer for it, all of which is blamed on Islam, rather than the misguidance of a minority of individuals.

This is the response I wrote:

Dear Statesman,

I am very moved by “Changing her Fate” (Insight 6 May).  Sadr was spot on for saying “It’s a monopoly of power.  They have a mentality that’s very traditional.”  She’s right.

Islam, like America, has a constitution that has been subject by manipulation by the power-hungry.  Traditionally, worldwide, the culprits are male.

Unlike America, Islam’s constitution is constantly judged by the worst, never the best, of its constituents, rather than being evaluated on its own merit.

No one, for example, assuages that drug use is American- rife though it may be- because our written law makes the opposite clear.

So what are the true fundamentals, the valid traditions, of Islam?  Consider, for example, the authenticated saying of Prophet Muhammad that heaven is found at the feet of the mother.  What about the prophetic injunctions encouraging men to provide for, entertain, and strive to sexually satisfy their wives?

Are we now prepared to accuse Islam of being a medieval matriarchy?

What of this, that Allah Himself Said “And do not force your girls into prostitution, if they desire chastity, seeking the benefits of worldy life.  And whosoever forces them, then Allah Will Be, after their compulsion, Pardoning and Merciful.”  (Qur-an 24.33)?  Is this not sufficient to free Islam of all the oppression that women like Layla have suffered?  As for why men claiming to be Muslims perpetuate and punish unwilling prostitutes, ask them;  Islam is free of them.

So why don’t we stop accusing Islam altogether, and stop propping up every misguided man and political machination as a bona fide example and proof?  These war-mongering charades are made more transparent by the millions of converts to Islam worldwide, including many, many women from all walks of life.

P.S.  I challenge you to a test of journalistic subjectivity by printing my response to this article.

——-

The challenge was not accepted…

Taking charge of her fate…

The “Arab Spring”: Revolution or Awakening?

Last night (Day 4, 23 Shawwaal 1432 – Wednesday, 21 September 2011) I was a call-in guest on a show called Awakening.  The topic was “Islamic Awakening and the Arab Spring”.  It’s a program on a satellite channel called Sahar TV, a subsidiary of the IRIB network.  They sent me the questions a day earlier, and here are the responses I typed up in preparation for the show.  It’s just about what I ended up saying on the show.

——-

1 The World Bank and the G8 are already planning to sponsor the so-called Arab Spring. Less than a fortnight ago, G8 finance chiefs pledged $38-billion in financing to Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan over 2011-13, widening a deal agreed in May and offering Libya the chance to partake too. Analysts are now concerned over a possible Euro-US containment of the regional movement through this type of “cheque book diplomacy”. What’s your take on that?

Worth the paper it's printed on?

What is money anyway?  A bunch of pieces of cotton paper?  A readout on a bankslip?   It’s a promise to pay and I can tell you about the G8’s ability to pay.  The UK has been bankrupt since a hundred years ago, and it’s owed money to the U.S. since WWII.  The US, in turn, owes money to China and Russia.  So how can these bankrupt countries lend money?  All their doing is tricking Muslim countries into promising to pay them money that isn’t even real, that they don’t even have to lend in the first place.

When they lend this money, they lend it at interest.  Allah says in Surah Baqara 279 that He and His Messenger are at war with people who devour usury.  This is because it enslaves the borrower to the debtor.  These Islamic populations have just freed themselves of West-serving leaders.  By indebting themselves to them, they would be re-enslaving themselves, and this is the goal of cheque-book diplomacy, to create a situation by which they can continue to dictate over us.

2 A large number of scholars have constantly been warning against the risk of the revolutions being hijacked or contained in one way or another. How concerned should we really be about that?

One common colonial trick is to make the village thief the village chief.  There will always be someone without scruples, with no goal beyond his own selfish interests.  Colonial powers usually find that person, support him with every means, such as money, glorification in the media and so forth until he rises from vagabond to ruler, from thief to chief.  Then, because the colonizers, not the people, are his true power base, he does their bidding to ensure their continued support.

This is how I see things being hijacked.  In the end, a politician only cares about one thing.  He doesn’t have a religion.  He doesn’t believe in any idea or purpose.  His only goal is to get and keep power, and he will do whatever it takes to do that.  They let the parade get going and then run out in front of it like they’ve been leading it the whole time.  Colonial powers are only waiting for that man, woman or group to show themselves and start the politicking.
3 I think it’s fair to say that the reaction of the West towards the wave of Islamic awakening in the countries affected has been quite selective. Let’s talk about the most recent case, i.e. Libya, where we saw military intervention. Do you think that NATO may follow the Libyan model of intervention elsewhere in the Arab World?

The West’s selection process is based on what they think serves them best.  They use language clevery to disguise their self-serving intent in the language of freedom, democracy, human rights, etc.  For example, there has been brutal repression by certain regimes, even invasions and occupations, but this is either completely ignored.  For example, the Bahraini royal family, which hosts the US 5th Fleet, is immune to criticism no matter what it does.  As for Qathafi, whose friendship with the West was less easy, but a friendship just the same, they wanted him out, and made sure he got out.  What’s the difference?  Why do they support Syrian protesters, and even go so far as to reveal their arrogance by mentioning that al-Asad is “expendable”?  Why don’t Bahrain protesters get any support?  The only consistent factor has nothing to do with rights or freedom or legitimate aspirations.  It has only to do with who they want, and who they don’t.  I would say that Western powers are willing and waiting to intervene in other countries.  They are going through no end of rhetorical gymnastics, political treachery and covert operations in the meantime to justify an attack on Iran, as we all know.  I would also say that Syria is another target.  They’d be more than happy to make it look like their helping the people like in Libya rather than a full invasion like Iraq, because it’s easier to justify and probably cheaper.  In these cases, the revolutionaries run the risk of being nothing more than volunteer soldiers in a Western invasion.

4 A serious problem in the countries affected by the wave of Islamic awakening is- as a matter of fact- the problem of a strong leadership leading the opposition in those countries. In fact, in several cases those working under previous dictatorial regimes are still ruling the country. Is there any solution to this problem?

Well, in the case of Libya, to my understanding, the transitional government has been planning and plotting for years while in exile in England, and there’s only one reason why that government would support them while they were doing that.  If I’m correct.  Otherwise, the greatest threat to these movements is the lack of leadership.  The Islamic revolution in Iran is unique because there was already an established figurehead, Ruhullah Khomenei, even though there were groups of many different stripes. He united them. 

Shocking the world...

Islam united them.  But look at the movements today, there is no one leader.  There is no spiritual leader uniting them.  The most basic elements of history’s greatest revolution are two:  negation of falsehood, and affirmation of truth.  With the words “laa ilaaha” we negate every falsehood, every impure motive, all the weaknesses in ourselves and communities.  The revolutions of today have thrown out corrupt rulers, but does this mean the people have achieved self-purification?  The leaders were corrupt, but we have to remember that a leader is of his people, he reflects their characteristics too.  The people need to revolt internalyl-, the inner, greater jihaad– against their own corruption.  And they can only achieve this, the life that is lived by truth with the second half of our testimony of faith:  illAllaah.  They must make the Qur-aan their constitutional document, and the shari’a– which literally means “path to salvation”- as their new legal framework.  For that a leader must arise with the knowledge and integrity to rule by Islaam, and the people must recognize and pledge allegiance to him.

'Ilm & Taqwa (Knowledge and Piety)

5 The question that everybody’s now asking is whether the unexpected, amazing and unique wave of Islamic awakening will shape, influence or rather change the future of the Arab world in particular and the whole world in general. Now has Islamic Awakening got the potential to dramatically change global equations, do you think?


Muslims got to open their eyes to the ground beneath their feet.  We have every imaginable resource from A to Z- untapped human potential, water, oil & natural gas, agriculture, precious metals and stones, varieties of landscapes, geo-strategic position.  Pakistan’s soldiers are arguably the best in the world.  Egypt and Syria alone could have defeated the Zionists in Palestine and completely checked other Western powers in the Middle East more than 30 years ago.  Look at how much Iran changed the equation from 1979 until now.  What if we all did the same?  Pakistan and Sudan alone could feed the world.  WE DO NOT NEED THE WEST.  WE DO NOT NEED SYSTEMS THAT DON’T EVEN WORK FOR THEM.  

ALLAAH HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING.  When we realize it, and when the people who realize it insist on leading and refuse to be misled, we’re gonna unleash peace all over this planet.  But, there is only one condition.  Allaah Doesn’t

Change the condition of a people until they change the condition of their selves.

6 What’s the most important challenge that the Islamic Awakening in the Middle East and North Africa will have to face?

The Awakening part.  The people who we let lead us are obviously corrupt and naïve, but so are the people.  We have no idea how eager the Zionists are to control Libya’s vast water reserves.  That’s their whole M.O. in the Golan Heights, for example.  We’ve forgotten- though the Western polities haven’t- what happens when we think for ourselves, such as the 1973 Oil Embargo, the Iranian revolution.  We’re unaware of the lengths these fading, illegitimate powers will go through to make sure we do NOT regain autonomy.  Here’s an example:  they bombed the bomb the Islamic Courts

Refusing to be misled...

Union out of Somalia, even though they restored order, justice and peace to the extent that Mogadishu’s airport was running again, just because they were not indebted to and controlled by anyone.  They were of, by and for the Muslim Somali people.  They would rather tempt a country into civil war that leads to famine than allow Muslims to decide what to do with their uranium, their geographical position, and their coastal waters.  We need to wake up to this level of awareness, which will lead us to believe in Allaah’s Promises, rather than the unsubstantiated promises of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

EXTRA

1 How do you think the momentous events of last few months or the so-called Arab Spring will help shape the future of American relationship with its allies in the region?

The best possible outcome is that it is the foundation of a model- the Islamic society- which will provide the alternative to the Western lifestyle the world is starving for.  We did that before- our societies have inspired and uplifted the world- but that was long ago.  Instead of always quoting anecdotes from our great past to defend Islam, we need to present Islam in a real way as the hope for the future.

2 How successful and effective has the US policy been in the Middle East since the Arab Spring started?

It has been effective in some instances.  So far the regime in Egypt has only changed in name.  Whereas Mubarak was its face, now it has no face and is in that sense all the more deceptive.  In North Africa in general, with the exception of Libya, it has made sure the people think they get what they wanted by allowing the dictators to leave on a golden parachute, without any fundamental or meaningful changes.  There not less but more American military bases and operations in North Africa, for example.

On the other hand, they have lost their complete stranglehold on Muslim’s imaginations.  We know we can stand up to their strongmen.  We’ve reminded ourselves of a lesson we learned in 1979, that Allaah Supports the believers when they unite, wa Huwa l-Wahidu l-Qahhaar.  Politically, there are some instances of greater unity between Muslim governments, such as Palestine’s confidence in pushing for full recognition by the UN, greater ties between Egypt and Iran.  And it’s efforts to isolate the powers it doesn’t support have not been very successful, though the double treatment of Syria and Libya compared to Bahrain is a glaring exception.

Overall, revolution is not really a solution.  Heads of state have been changed, but that has been the only result so far.  We have yet to see if the lives of the people will improve, and right now they are actually worse in most cases.  It is an awakening and revival of our Islam that we need, not a revolution.  Revolution is only one vehicle towards this- not necessarily the best one- and we only get to the point of dealing with the external after we’ve dealt with the internal.  A Muslim has the duty and right to rule if he excels the people in knowledge and piety.  At the very least, he should not block the people from Islaam.  After that, it doesn’t matter about a vote, or what they think of him, or how the West evaluates him.  They should follow and advise him.  Lastly, we have the duty and right to rule ourselves by Islaam individually, and accomplishing that is the true Awakening, Revolution and Spring.

Duties and rights go hand in hand.

Is Muslim violence a proof against Islam?

This is a comment to an article about the role of Zionism in the Norway massacre.

 

Name any nation that is not at war…  you can’t.  Nearly every country in this world is in some sort of conflict.  No matter what religion the majority of their citizens claim.  Read the news:  Buddhist Thailand vs. Buddhist Cambodia, over a temple.  Civil wars and rebels all over the Christian nations of Africa.  The secular and Christian nations of the West occupying, attacking or aiding conflict all over the world.  Zionist Jews in Palestine.  Hindus committing atrocities in Kashmir and against Muslims and Christians in India.  It’s everywhere.  EVERY religion has members that are fighting, that kill innocent people, that commit murder and rape, that embezzle, scandal, scam, scheme and plot, rob, plunder and steal, commit adultery, abandon children, can’t read or write, molest children, bribe their way out of justice, etc., etc., etc….  And secularists, atheists, agnostics, and humanists get in on it too, so don’t blame religion

 

As you can see, a religion’s texts are a proof for or against its members.  They are not a proof for or against it.  You measure a religion by its book, and you measure its members by its book, too.  They either live up to it or fall short of it.

 

Let us look at an example.  It is true that many Christians were at the forefront of abolishing slavery worldwide (many were also the leaders of enslavement).  Should we judge Christianity by that?  According to some places in the Old Testament and Romans 13.1, opposing the laws that allowed slavery were AGAINST what they consider to be the word of God.  In other words, they had to step OUTSIDE Christianity to free slaves.

 

Islam’s Qur-an and Hadeeth (Prophetic narration) literature support abolition and forbid enslavement outside of the context of war-captives when there is no exchange for prisoners.  So while many Muslims were involved in the slave trade, they were stepping OUTSIDE of Islam to keep slaves.

 

Judge them by the book.

 

The United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence, celebrated symbols of freedom, enslave Africans, dispossess Native Americans, deny the rights of non-landowning white males, and deny the rights of all women.  So freedom, justice and equality can only be achieved by stepping OUTSIDE of America’s founding principles.

 

This is why we Muslims argue from our book.  That, not the action of the next Muslim you walk past, is Islam for us.  We only know the Qur-an as Islam.  We don’t know what every Muslim in the world is doing and why, but we will argue as strongly against a (seemingly) good deed as we will against a bad one if it is inconsistent with our law and doctrine.

Oh my God!! They're eating ice cream...

The truth is that Muslims also do a lot of good things, for the sake of Allah, in the name of Islam, to get a reward in heaven, etc.  Find them and what they do.  See, do they outnumber the wrongdoers?  I leave that as an open question to any sincere seeker of accurate information, I won’t answer it for you.

 

Personally- and this is admittedly subjective- I’ve been around the world and read and heard viewpoints from many walks of life.  I was in NYC on 11 September 2001 and accepted Islam there 3 years later.  Islam is my free choice because after research and experimentation, I found it to be the best and most complete way of life.  I won’t lecture you that I’m right, but I assure you that I’m aware and sincere.  See for yourself:  https://qahiri.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/11/

 

So please, do justice to yourself and stop ignoring all the wrongdoing and conflicts involving non-Muslims, and all the good done by Muslims, to prop up an argument that is an offense to intelligence, reason, history and logic.   Islam is singular in its establishment of justice and right.  Why do some Muslims act to the contrary?

 

Ask them.

 

For more on the accusations of rape, sexism/masochism and slavery in Islam:  https://qahiri.wordpress.com/category/stockholm-syndrome/

To see the deceptive and erroneous nature of Islamophobia and WikiIslam exposed:  https://qahiri.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/dealing-with-doubt/

To see whether Islam is incompatible with democracy:  https://qahiri.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/is-democracy-islamist/

To see if there is any difference between Arab culture and Islam:   https://qahiri.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/is-islam-arabian-part-i/

To read what Islam actually is:   https://qahiri.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/what-islam-is/