17 May 2012
The men have the power, and they misinterpret Islam. That is the opinion of islamologist and feminist Suad Mohamed. She now demands that the mosques give way to educated female imams.
The out-of-date mosque representatives screened in the last week’s investigative program shocked Suad Mohamed. “The men who occupy these positions (as counselors) have much power. People come to them every day for advice. For that reason it is important to have educated and knowledgeable people who receive these people (in need). Not someone who takes us back to the Medieval period,” she told TT (news agency).
Suad Mohamed believes that the men in the report are bad representatives of Muslim and that they are ill-informed. “Nowhere in the Koran is violence and maltreatment (of women) preached. If they read about the Prohpet’s life, they will be able to find that he never, ever hit any of the women nor children.” She further argues that Islam is not a religion which degrades women. The degradation had instead appeared when men had interpreted the religion and translated (this interpretation) into law(s). She continues, “there are women who understand the religion and who can resist these men who misuse the religion, or who can become fanatical. Knowledge is power and often it is the men who are educated.”
Suad Mohamed, further argues that the conservative men, not the religion, creates problems. “The young men who occupy the positions of power within the various congregations are the children of the ruling patriarchs. They take over the ruling positions much like the way has been in the Arab world.”
According to Suad Mohamed, the men want to maintain this advantage over women and often reference weak or fabricated (a)hadith, the recorded advice allegedly uttered by the Prophet Muhammed. She argues that they should instead refer to the Koran.
She was once called herself the first female imam in Sweden. However, she realized that no one would hire her and gave up that title. She welcomes the investigative report’s (Uppdrag granskning) disclosure and she hopes that this will lead to changes.
About Suad Mohamed:
A 43 year-old Ethiopian mother of four living in Sweden. She is a pre-school teacher working in Huddinge (Stockholm) and has been trained in Islamic studies at a university in Jordan. The Swedish media frequently consult Suad on controversial issues concerning the Muslim community in Sweden. She is not a representative of any known Muslim organizations; nevertheless, until recently she titled herself an imam (usually interpreted as a [religious] leader of a community). Now she describes herself as an islamologist and a Muslim feminist.