From the Times-Dispatch (thanks to Twostellas), more on the continuing saga of Amina Wadud, a Muslim woman had the temerity to lead a prayer service in New York City, thereby angering male Muslims the world over, and raising murderous ire in some.
Virginia Commonwealth University officials met yesterday to discuss concerns about the safety and security of a female professor of Islamic studies who defied Islamic tradition by leading a prayer service that included men and women.
The professor, Amina Wadud, has been threatened and sharply criticized in many parts of the Islamic world since the March 18 prayer service in New York that was attended by an estimated 80 to 100 people, about half of whom were men. Traditionally, Muslim women do not lead prayers in a mosque, and they pray separately from men.
Wadud called in sick yesterday, according to Pamela D. Lepley, director of university news services. Wadud’s home telephone has a security system that permits only calls from approved numbers to go through, and she could not be reached for comment last night.
Lepley said the discussions at yesterday’s “debriefing” focused on Wadud’s security “and the security and safety of the whole institution.” She added that such sessions are routine during high-profile matters.
VCU officials have been in touch with state and federal agencies to be certain “we’re all doing what we need to do,” Lepley said. She did not elaborate….
The events surrounding Wadud’s prayer service come at an unsettling time for VCU.
Last Saturday, a day after Wadud’s prayer service, a suicide car bomber struck a theater in Doha, Qatar, about 7 miles from where VCU’s Qatar-based College of Design Arts is located.
About 10 faculty members and students from the college were at the Doha Players Theater watching a production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” when the bomber struck.
None of the faculty or students was injured “beyond a scrape on an ankle and a bruised shoulder,” said Richard E. Toscan, dean of VCU’s School of the Arts in Richmond, in a news conference this week.
Lepley said all information so far indicates no link between the car bombing and Wadud’s prayer service.
However, VCU has stepped up security on its Qatar campus, as has the Qatar government.
The design college in Qatar, one of the richest nations on earth thanks to oil and natural-gas reserves, has been a godsend to VCU since it was opened in 1998.
Fees paid to VCU by the Qatar Foundation, which provides funding for the school, have provided the resources for a meteoric rise of the Richmond-based School of the Arts to the top tier of arts schools in the United States.…