A Letter from the MMW Editors

On Thursday, Eren published a great piece on the marginalization of lesbians in Indonesia. As with all MMW pieces, it received mixed feedback. Because we are fairly diligent regarding comment moderation, no comments that violated MMW’s comment moderation policy were approved.

On our Facebook page, however, there is no initial comment moderation. Thus, several hurtful comments were published. MMW’s comment moderation policy extends to our Facebook page (even if it has to be after the fact), and thus these comments were removed. The backlash, against both the initial post and the decision to remove comments that violate MMW’s comment policies, is what prompted us to issue this statement of clarification.

MMW isn’t the place for debate on what is and isn’t allowed in Islam. It’s not a place to judge other people’s Islam, either. We’re a media criticism website—MMW is a platform to discuss our representation in the media, not to discuss doctrine. Our aim is to critically look at how all Muslim women in the media are portrayed—not just the ones who seem to be practicing Islam according to any particular person’s standards.

Thus, we can and will discuss LGBT Muslims without going into a discussion about homosexuality in Islam, just like we can discuss female Muslims who wear niqabs without going into a discussion about whether niqabs are Islamic.

Furthermore, in keeping with MMW’s attempts at inclusivity and keeping the website a safe space for everyone, we feel it’s unfair to exclude a group who are already often marginalized for their religion (and often ethnicity), not to mention their sexuality.

Finally, we and the other MMW writers would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our readers and colleagues who have supported us in our efforts to make the website and Facebook page a safe and welcoming place to all Muslim women. We hope that this is an area where we will continue to improve.

Much love,

Fatemeh Fakhraie, Editor-in-Chief

Krista Riley, Associate Editor

On Muslim Women, Feminism, and Diversity of Experiences
Happy New Year! + Taking a Break
A Flash of Lightning: “Bijli”
Out of the Closet AND Public Life: Lesbians in Indonesia
  • Melinda

    Thanks for this.

  • Anjanette

    I really appreciate this statement. I missed the facebook comments (luckily).

  • http://iridescentmusings.blogspot.com Farzanah

    ‎”We’re a media criticism website—MMW is a platform to discuss our representation in the media, not to discuss doctrine.”
    If that is the case I think a rename could be in order…’Watching Muslima’s in the Media” sounds more in line with the purpose of the site. The name as it stands right now is too oblique to its purpose. “Muslimah” and “Doctrine” are co-dependent…far from mutually exclusive.

  • Krista

    @ Farzanah: How would your suggested rename, which still includes the word “Muslimah,” make a difference?

    As for the name, as it stands (and is unlikely to change) – we are Muslimahs who watch the media. We watch media about Muslimahs. Neither of these needs to happen with any kind of judgement on who does or does not get to identify as a Muslimah, and neither of them necessitates a theological discussion as part of the activity of media criticism.

  • http://www.stop-stoning.org Rochelle

    I didn’t see the facebook msgs but I can imagine what they must have been like. That is super lame and sorry you (and especially your queer readers) had to experience that.

    For what it’s worth I think you’re doing a good job in a very difficult position.

  • Maryam A.

    I deeply appreciate MMW’s stance regarding this. It is one of the very few Muslim blogs/websites that takes on such a difficult, risky and courageous stance and it gives me great hope in our community. Homophobia, just like Islamophobia, is one of the few prejudices that is allowed to be practiced openly in U.S. society. Muslims would do much better to examine how similar our struggle is with that of the LGBTQ community.


  • salima abdu

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • http://culturalfascinations.blogspot.com/ SakuraPassion

    Thank you for sharing.

    I just wanted to say I appreciate the work you all do. ^_^

    At any rate, I noticed that MMW has been accused of “promoting” homosexuality at one point. Even though the topic was merely brought up. Yeah I saw the Facebook comments,too. >_<

  • http://beckyskaleidoscope.blogspot.com/ Becky

    Thank you, this is exactly why I enjoy your website so much, it helps keep me informed about issues concerning Muslimahs all over the world in a non-judgemental manner. I’m very grateful for the job you do, and inshAllah you will all be rewarded for the effort you put into it.

  • Umar Luqman

    As salaam alaikum,

    The issue of sexuality will always be very sensitive in the muslim community. Those of us that believe that they have both the knowledge and the moral high ground with regard to homosexuality should stop to think.

    Many social issues are best resolved with constructive dialogue by people from both sides of the fence. By marginalising a section of society you are increasing the fitna amongst the Ummah and giving islamophobes the fuel they need to attack the muslim community. Let us all advance our perspective and seek out solutions insh’Allah. We owe this to our community in a modern world.

    If you cannot find something constructive to submit then re-focus your attention on other issues that require immediate attention. Such as all those people in the world that do not have the facility to use the internet and require food, clothes, shelter and a community that cares for them.

    Barak’Allah Feek.

  • Humayra

    Yeah sure, the subject of sexuality will always be “sensitive” in the Muslim community–when it entails giving more rights to women (queer or straight), or to gay men, or to other sexual or gender minorities. So, Lesbian and Gay rights–including the right to LIVE, for God’s sake–are “sensitive.” Marriages of underage girls are also “sensitive.” And so is the issue of women trying to ensure that their husbands don’t practice polygamy. And women’s rights to divorce. And child custody. And so on and on.

    “Sensitive” here is a code word for “risks endangering patriarchal, straight male privilege.”

    And of course for “sensitive” types, Lesbians and Gay rights are far less important than the rights to food and shelter and community–except when it is Muslim Gays, Lesbians, Transgendered people, and other sexual and gender minorities who are being denied food and shelter, and whose communities throw them out. This is because these “sensitive” types don’t think that LGBTQ Muslim lives are worth anything.

    Kudos to MMW for publishing the article on Indonesian Lesbians. Please keep at it, and don’t let calls for “sensitivity” silence you.

  • Genna

    Bravo! I’m glad MMW refuses to conflate (often questionable) aspects of doctrine with issues of social justice and identity.

  • http://iridescentmusings.blogspot.com Farzanah

    Theology, doctrine and Muslim identity construction (regardless of idealogical commitments and how they are being reviewed, in this case- through the media) will always be intertwined. We cannot judge people for their faith and their actions, but to negate any theological discussion takes the Islam out of Muslimah.

  • M

    I applaud MMW’s courageous stance. As mentioned above by one commenter, MMW is one of the very few Muslim spaces online (or offline, for that matter) which acknowledges the need to respect homosexuality.

  • http://www.lifeyouimagine.com Majeeda

    I just caught up with this happening and I just want to say how glad I am that you are here. There are endless places online to discuss doctrine. In fact, almost anywhere where Islam is mentioned online soon seems to descend into arguments over doctrine, often involving Muslims and non-muslims. So we need a site like this!

    “Our aim is to critically look at how all Muslim women in the media are portrayed—not just the ones who seem to be practicing Islam according to any particular person’s standards.” – after all who is meant to be judging? You? Me? Or God?

    I don’t agree that a name change is necessary either. The name suggested does not, to me, seem to suggest anything different to what you have now.