Here’s a pointless, feel-good public relations stunt organized in order to dull Western senses of the many troubling aspects of Islamic teachings, and which will have no constructive bearing on the authority or preaching of Muslim clerics elsewhere in the world.
“Muslim feminists in NY want to start Koran council,” by Manuela Badawy for Reuters:
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Muslim feminists from around the world vowed to create the first women’s council to interpret the Koran and overcome two stereotypes about their religion: Muslims are terrorists and Islam oppresses women.
How did that happen? And whom do they aim to convince? Concerned Americans, or the many clerics who do call for open-ended warfare against unbelievers (9:5), wife-beating and child marriage, and other acts of abuse and discrimination with so much material from the Qur’an, Ahadith, and Sira to support it? For example, wife-beating:
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them (4:34).
Women’s testimony equal to half that of a man:
Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her (2:282).
Polygyny, and sex with slave and captive women:
“If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice (4:3).
Child marriage, in accordance with Muhammad’s own example:
Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married ‘Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed [sic] that marriage when she was nine years old.
More examples here. The article continues:
The women’s council was among the most groundbreaking ideas introduced at a weekend meeting of more than 100 leaders in the fledgling Islamic feminist movement.
Many in the newly formed group, the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, or WISE, said strict sharia law was not divine because it was created by men and should be changed to incorporate women’s rights.
“In our societies men hold power and they decide what Islam should mean and how we can obey that particular understanding of Islam,” said Zainab Anwar, executive director of Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian organization working on women’s rights within the Islamic
“I can’t live with a God that is unjust,” she said. “The law is progressive, but those men controlling the law aren’t.”
Daisy Khan, director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, or Asma, said she hoped to create a fund to provide scholarships for Muslim women to study Islamic law so they could form a Shura Council of Women, the first with women interpreting the
The women also want to break down myths that exist, particularly in the West, said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Asma Society founder.
“Two misconceptions about Islam are that it is associated with terrorism and that Islam is an oppressor of women. These are two myths that we seek to demolish. We need to change the perception of Islam in the West and this cannot be achieved without the
participation of women,” said Abdul Rauf.
The religious leaders, human rights activists, scholars, politicians agreed that education was essential to breaking down barriers between genders and generations.
“We must make laws work for us. We must make democratic institutions work for us,” Chamberlain said.
Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman to enter the House of Lords in Britain, agreed that women needed to take control of their own destiny, come together and empower other women.
Let’s celebrate the launch of a group whose stated purpose is to debunk stereotypes with a sweeping stereotype of our own!
“If Tony Blair and George W. Bush can get together and go to war, just imagine the power of peace that women can bring,” Uddin said.