American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 7

CLOSE-UP Free to Be a Muslim Feminist A few facts make me believe that the Prophet Muhammad was one of the world’s first feminists and that Islam is a feminist’s religion. He banned female infanticide, deeming it a sin in Islam. It was a bold move for his time, as pre-Islamic patriarchal cul¬ture prompted parents to bury their female offspring, ... Read More »

American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 6

After becoming incorporated as a non-profit organization, their workload increased, defining their activities: “We never dreamed when we formed that we would be opening a shelter. . . . [T]he needs kept arising.” Ibrahim’s counterpart at Apna Ghar, Najma Adam, has a similarly activist attitude. Like Ibrahim, the executive director of Apna Ghar at the time of my research is ... Read More »

American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 5

Muslim women are reinterpreting the texts for themselves and pointing out alternate, less controversial, and possibly more accurate interpretations. The usual explanation, which Memon cites, of the more offensive translation (including the instructions to beat) is that men, in Islam, have the large burden of keeping their houses in order and must carry out their responsibilities as they see fit. ... Read More »

American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 4

Many Muslim women consent to their own subjugation because they believe “boys will be boys.” A female kindergarten teacher in her mid-twenties said in an interview, “Many people think we’re [NOI and Muslim women] covered just to hide our bodies, but the main reason is that men are still in the beast stage.” A parent of one of the converts ... Read More »

American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 3

However, along with Qur’anic tradition, one is also subject to other traditions that, over centuries, have come to be associated with being Muslim, though they may have nothing to do with Islam, like female circumcision (a custom pre-dating both Islam and Christianity found along the Nile River, deep into Africa) and an emphasis on marriage. Furthermore, women bear the brunt ... Read More »

American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 2

The problems we face—in trying to express our feminism, become activists, and be independent—are acute versions of what American women in general are going through. As more American women convert to Islam and more young Muslim women like me grow up, it is in our interest, as Americans, not to be like my grand-father and rely on what we have ... Read More »

American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds

I was debating with my extended family once during a fam¬ily gathering whether Muslim women and men should be allowed to pray in the same room. I reasoned that on Judgment Day men and women will stand equally before God with no gender preference. My grandfather piped up, “No, men are superior in Islam!” We were in my uncle’s normally ... Read More »

Generalizations and Stereotypes: Muslims and the American Media 10

Islamic vigilance and criticism has paid off in some instances, such as with African-American director Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992). Lee’s movie was the first major Hollywood movie in con-temporary cinema to deal with Islam in a meaningful way and portray Islam accurately. The scenes of the pilgrimage to Mecca, known as hajj, in particular are evocative of Islamic principles ... Read More »

Generalizations and Stereotypes: Muslims and the American Media 9

Disney wins the Steve Emerson award for employing and popularizing as many stereotypes as possible. Over the span of a few years, Disney has made a number of anti-Islam movies. Richard Scheinin lists the offenses of Disney’s Aladdin (1992): “characters are portrayed as grotesque, with huge noses and sinister eyes . . . violent” characteristics reflective of “the negative stereotyping ... Read More »

Generalizations and Stereotypes: Muslims and the American Media 8

One can presume that the makers of Executive Decision thought they were being accurate. It makes sense then that demands made by various American Muslim groups were not met; these groups, including CAIR, ISNA, and the Muslim Students’ Association, asked that offensive portions be edited out of the movie before video release; that Warner Brothers publicly apologize to the Muslim ... Read More »