Saturday, June 25, 2005

Women in Mosques -- Episode II

Over the last couple of days has come the announcement by first CAIR, and then ISNA on an intitiative towards "Women-Friendly Mosques". My first reaction yesterday was to say positive things about the initiative being taken. I did this because I was sure I or someone else would much to critique in it when we read it through. And Shahed Amanullah (editor of Alt.Muslim, and one of the leaders in the AMILA community) has the needful in a way that means anything I would write would be reinventing the wheel:
"Women-Friendly Mosques" Document Leaves Unanswered Questions
The "women-friendly mosques" document allows male-run mosques to obey the letter of the law without significantly improving the situation of women in US mosques today....
By Shahed Amanullah, June 24, 2005
http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1480_0_25_0_C
And this is becoming quite a dialog. The Progressive Muslim Union, an organization whose advocacy has no doubt been a large part of what set off this whole chain of events, has put out a statement. They welcome the step while expressing the opinion that this is a first step in a longer journey:

http://www.pmuna.org/archives/2005/06/pmu_response_to.php

And from Dr. Muqtedar Khan comes his own interesting analysis:
"CAIR has announced that it will distribute a “Women Friendly Mosques” Brochure. This document is perhaps the most enlightened statement that CAIR has ever issued in its eleven-year history. This is a good beginning for their new Chairman, Dr. Parvez Ahmad. I hope that this document is a promise of more progressive thinking to come from CAIR. The document is meekly titled as a brochure when in fact it is a document that clearly lays down a new mosque policy for American Muslims. To read more click here... http://www.ijtihad.org/women-mosque-policy.htm"
A couple comments on specific things in his piece:
  • Dr Khan observes that "Now even CAIR is a progressive Muslim voice..." I wonder; does that then make them Neo-Con dupes, too, like the other groups carrying the "progressive" message have been accused of being (not by Dr. Khan, of course) ? Sorry; I couldn't resist that joke. Or is it a joke?
  • And he makes another very interesting observatino: "It is a bit disturbing that more Muslims organizations endorsed John Kerry than this brochure." Food for thought.
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