Saturday, December 29, 2012

The New Delhi Gang Rape: Not a "Tragedy of Indian Women"!

On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old female Indian student was traveling on a bus in India's capital, New Delhi, with a male companion and was attacked by six men who took turns to rape her. As if that wasn't enough, "They also beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into her body resulting in severe organ damage. Both of them were then stripped and thrown off the [moving] bus, according to police." Among the rapists-now-killers? A fruit seller, a bus driver, and a gym instructor. The young woman, whose name has not been revealed, although some are calling her Amanat (not her real name), was suffering from severe organ failure as a result of the rape when she passed away a few hours ago in a hospital in Singapore where she was taken for treatment. By the time she was admitted in to the Singapore hospital, she had already had a heart attack, her lungs and abdomen were infected badly, and she had received a brain injury.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jimmy Carter on Women's Position in Religious Teachings

The quote below is just too true. All interpreters of all religions have traditionally and universally been men, and they have the power to interpret religious teachings "about" women in either a positive or a negative way. They have always chosen the negative way, a way that subjugates women, demeans women, sees them as inferior creatures who are too weak intellectually and physically to enjoy an exalted status in society.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Book Review: Azfar Moin's "The Millennial Sovereign"

For those of us who think it would be utterly impossible for any Muslim ruler, king, emperor, etc. to claim that he is the messiah or that his rule/kingship is otherwise divine, this book called The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam by Azfar Moin is a really eye-opening read. And for those Muslims among us who are constantly told that  astrology is haraam (forbidden, unacceptable, a sinful practice) or even belief in astrological signs is haraam, this might be a useful read as well. Not saying it makes it any less or more haraam than what the haraam police constantly tells us, but it just makes you think a little before you make claims.

I liked this book :) It was a fun and informative read.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

South Asian Marriage Manuals: Men Telling Women What to Do

I've been reading some marriage manuals from (Muslim) South Asia lately, and I've been updating my Facebook buddies--the females--about the task to remind them of their obligations as potential wives and as women. I'll share one status message and the comments that the girls posted in response to it. Really great conversations, so. Maybe once I'm totally free and stuff, I can write an actual blog post about these marriage manuals and how problematic (and disturbing and offensive, to both women and men!) they are. Or maybe not. 

First, let me introduce these marriage manuals and make a disclaimer that these are not necessarily grounded in Islam.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Violence - from Connecticut to Peshawar

What's the world coming to? What's happening around us, and how much longer are we expected to tolerate it? Is it really enough to just say "RIP" and "My heart goes out to the victims and their families" anymore? Is it really enough to just pray, cry, pray some more, and pray for more safety and peace in the world?

27 people got killed yesterday (Friday, Dec. 14th), 20 of them children and 7 staff members, at a mass shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut (USA). The killer committed suicide afterwards.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On the World's Smothering Silence over the Murder of Anisa, the 10th-grader from Kapisa, Afghanistan

As the Urdu poet Habib Jalib says in his "Mein ne uss se ye kaha" ("so I said this to him"), jin ko tha zabaa pe naaz chup hai voh zaba daraaz ("those eloquent with pride (poets) are silent today!").

What an apt verse for today! 

See, another Malala has been attacked--and unfortunately killed--and no one is talking about it. Her name is Anisa. She was in 10th grade, an activist for women's rights and education, and volunteered at a polio vaccine clinic run by the Ministry for Public Health. Here, an importan reminder might help explain the Taliban's motives for killing her: besides Anisa's fight for girl's education and her activism, she clearly recognized the need for polio vaccines in her region; the Taliban, however, believe, due to rumors about the vaccine, that "It'll make the children sterile; it contains the AIDS virus; the vaccinators are really CIA agents." It is believed that Anisa was was 16 years old. She had survived an attack on her life the day before, but the cowards attacked her again, shooting her several times in the stomach. The young activist school-girl did not survive, and this time, unfortunately, the enemies of humanity, of peace, of love, of justice won. Only humans with disturbingly musty souls must feel like they achieved something big for having killed this child. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Harassment - Part I

A few weeks ago in my Sexuality and Islam class, we discussed harassment. The rich and lively discussion was a response to an article we'd read, in which the authors made a lot of interesting but problematic conclusions in their study about harassment, clothing, make-up, and so on. The study focused on the harassment of females in public spaces, such as markets and educational institutions (Shiraz University) in Iran.

 First, let's define harassment. It is:
- being yelled out to, winked at, whistled at, teased, stared at by someone--stranger, acquaintance, anyone at all--in a way you don't feel comfortable with.
- being touched (especially inappropriately) without your permission or consent, or in a way you don't feel comfortable

Harassment can be physical, sexual, verbal. None of them are acceptable, no one should ever have to experience any of it, and no one should ever partake in it.

Of course, not everyone who harasses people are males and not all those who get harassed are females; but because generally, women get more harassed than men and by men, I'll discuss this. Please know that I do not believe that all men are capable of harassment, and I do not think all women are victims of harassment.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pashtun Marriages in the West - Part 4b: Misconceptions(b)

Continuing the discussion Misconceptions about Pashtun women raised in the West (the following are all Pashtun females' thoughts/experiences/observations, verbatim, on said misconceptions--in 2 cases, some personal information was removed so as to ensure that the identity of the speaker is not disclosed. Specifically, misconceptions or just impressions on the marriageable Pashtun girl who's raised in the West):

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Muslims' Beliefs on Relationships and Intimacy

Dear people,

Below, I'm pasting an email from a student who needs some respondents for her survey on Muslims' views on relationships and intimacy ("intimacy" = "sex" but I prefer to use "intimacy" in this email; the original email sent by the researcher is pasted below. And don't worry - this doesn't mean such relations outside of marriage, so please don't make any assumptions about the study or the person conducting it). Anyone interested in participating--entirely confidentially--should be between the ages of 18 and 35 and must be a resident or citizen of the U.S. or Canada.

Thank you for your support! Feel free to share it with others who you think might be interested in responding as well. The student has given her consent in sharing this as widely as possible.

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