Ingrid Mattson lost her faith as a teenager. Years later she found it again in the pages of the Quran and the teachings of Islam.
Since then, Mattson has been somewhat of a poster girl for Muslim women. Two years ago she made headlines when she became the first woman and first convert elected to head the Islamic Society of North America.
You know, for good PR.
Mattson wears a head scarf, or hijab, and dresses modestly in long sleeves and ankle-length skirts or dresses. She also has strong views on the role of women in Islam, which she backs up with examples from the life of the prophet Muhammad and the Quran.
Which verses? Perhaps these?
“The thing to understand is that Islam treats women as spiritual equals to men,” Mattson said. “Muslim women have the same obligation to pay charity, to perform community service, all of those things. What looks different is that women wear more modest dress, not to oppress or demean them but to allow them to be in the public space without being harassed or distracted.”
She acknowledged, however, that problems exist. And she is not shy about discussing them.
“It doesn’t mean there aren’t people who use Islam to justify oppression against women or other actions,” she said.
“Use” Islam, she says””as in “exploit,” “distort,” and “misrepresent.” Seems that any Muslim who wants four wives, conquered women (ma malakat aymenkum), the ability to beat them all for misbehaving, while expecting double their inheritance, is not “using” Islam, but simply enjoying his rights under sharia
“She is very knowledgeable about Islam and its history, and I think she understands and respects the challenges we face here as American Muslims,” Razzack said. “She doesn’t try to sugarcoat things.
Newsflash: anyone who is knowledgeable of Islam and who also says “that Islam treats women as spiritual equals to men,” is sugarcoating things. Aside from the above link, and as for the “spiritual” aspect, Muhammad had a famous vision showing that the vast majority of the denizens of hell will be women.
Nothing in the Quran says women must be segregated in the mosque, she said. “When people are immigrants, they have given up so much that they tend to hang on to these cultural markers.”
Here, once again, we get the famous “it’s not in the Koran” argument. True. But just as there are a number of authentic hadiths that make it clear that the apostate from Islam is to be slain””and thus, based on sunna, killing apostates is approved by the major madhhabs, irrespective of what the Koran says””so too is sexual segregation sunna. Hence, the segregation of women in mosques and elsewhere, while not a part of the Koran, is a part of Islam.