Thursday, May 25, 2006

Muslim Women: Event at Stanford Q&A

Note: This is part of a series of posts about one event. Please see http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2006/05/event-with-asifa-qureshi-at-stanford.html for the main page on this discussion.


The Q&A Session brought out, among other things:

* What can non-Muslim women do to help?

Her answer was that it is a matter of humility and respect--and a LOT of listening. And then identifying where it is that an American voice can help. And where it is detrimental.

* In a lot of cases, the issue is that a lot of Western feminists can't accept the very existence of laws based on a religion. Don't we need to have the conversation about that simple fact?

Her reply to this was that yes. But it has to be done with respect on both sides.

* A question about evidence that the thinking of the schools of thought has continued and is alive today.

She admirably explained the movement, starting in the late 18th and 19th centuries against the schools of thought as being the reason of the community's stagnation and some people arguing back. She said that she believes that Ijtihad was always alive in on form or the other.

* Should Muslim women get involved in Western Feminist organizations?

Yeah, sure, absolutely, she said. That is very much a part of the process of learning from each other that needs to happen.

* Should Muslim women be part of the Ijtihad of Hijab?

Yes. There always have been. She says that there were Women Muftis--going all the way back.

* How do we break down the impressions that people who cover and who don't have of each other--within the community?

Her reply, very simply delivered was that we need to stop judging people by how they look. And we need to do that as Americans, too.

* I then raised the question of about how do we counter the extreme reactions to any uncomfortable voices that arise in the community, as was evidence by the reaction to the mention of her lecture on our local Bay Area Muslim list. And said some more things. I couldn't type while I was speaking. [:D]

Quite simply, she said that's a very large conversation and needs to happen.

* And then the last question asked the question about her position on women leading prayer.

Her reply, quite simply was that she has not researched the issue. But that she's not against anyone asking that question. If you ask me, that's a position in itself. But that might just be me.

That's it for now; I need to go and mingle. Drop comments and let's talk!

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