Islam and the Culture of Rape

Today the White House called on universities to more aggressively combat sexual assaults on campus. "“Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said. “No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn’t exist. We need to give victims the support they need, like a confidential place to go, and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice.”He could have been addressing the Muslim world. As a community, we need to set our house st … [Read more...]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Challenge of Progressive Critique

The news that Brandeis University cancelled the honorary degree it was planning to give Ayaan Hirsi Ali has raised a storm of controversy. On one side  were Muslims applauding the move as an apt recognition that Ali's narrative was, if not Islamophobic in itself, fodder for the cannons of the rabid Islamophobic right. On the other were those protesting that the withdrawal represented a betrayal of freedom of speech and a cowardly retreat in face of the howling of religious … [Read more...]

Women’s Leadership in Islam

Editors' Note: This article is part of a Public Square conversation Women in Religious Leadership. Read other perspectives here.The American Muslim community is eager to promote the notion that Islam is favorable to women's leadership. We talk about the Prophet and how he encouraged women's education, and praised his female companions for bravery in times of war. We quote verses from the Qur'an that demonstrate equality between the sexes. We point to Aisha and how she was respected as a s … [Read more...]

Standing Against the GLBT Witch Hunt

A Ugandan newspaper has published a list of what it called the country's 200 top homosexuals, outing some who previously had not identified themselves as gay, just one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law calling for life imprisonment for gays and lesbians. The Red Pepper tabloid published the names and some pictures in a front-page story under the headline: "EXPOSED!"In 2011, a Ugandan gay activist was killed after his name appeared in a similar list published by the … [Read more...]

On Gender, God, and Grammar

 As we draw close to International Women's Day, I have been thinking about the impact of language and our perceptions of God.  Take for instance, this passage from the Qur'an, Surah Shams: Chapter 91. THE SUN 1  By the sun in its morning brightness 2  And by the moon as it follows it, 3  By the day as it displays the sun’s glory 4  And by the night as it conceals it, 5  By the sky and how He built it 6  And by the earth and how He spread it, 7  By the soul and how He formed it 8 … [Read more...]

Syria

Duma. Irbin. Hammurah. Siqbah. Jisrayn. Zamalka. Ayn Tarma. Jawbar. Mulayha. Kafr Batna. Mu'addamiyah. Darayya.They sound foreign, biblical to American ears, but they stand beside other, more familiar names. Troy. Cyprus. Wounded Knee. NanJing. Odessa. Warsaw. Dresden.  Kent State. Sabra and Shatilla. Tian An Men.All places where people were slaughtered for the sake of land, power, and politics.For the past three weeks, the world has been asking itself, as we must do all too … [Read more...]

The Politics of Fear

The George Zimmerman trial and acquittal raises important questions that we as a society must address. The most pressing of these is whether all fears are equally justified, along with it's corollary: whether one's belief that one might be seriously harmed should be taken as face value by a jury or should it be evaluated for plausibility.As a woman, I appreciate a law that says if a man accosts me in a dark parking lot and grabs my wrist I don't have to scream for help while he drags me into … [Read more...]


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