Febraury 2, 2014
Soufeina Hamed (24) is from Berlin, studying Intercultural Psychology at the University of Osnabrück. She decided to wear a headscarf. Having observed and experienced marginalization and prejudices against Muslim females, Soufeina begun to draw comics about daily life of Muslims and non-Muslims in German society. The comics confront stereotype patterns of prejudices with creativity and intelligent humor.
In his new book Profession imâm (“The Imam’s Profession”, Albin Michel, 2009) Tareq Oubrou, theologian and Imam in Bordeaux, argues that “Muslims must adapt their practices to French society.” Oubrou claims that the privatization of religion in France encourages Muslims to emphasize their faiths, contributing to their social marginalization. He points to how Muslim women in France are reduced to their hijabs, which are not cultural objects or sacred symbols. Each Muslim, he concludes, should have the opportunity to voice his or her own interpretation of the Qur’an, and dress accordingly.
The treatment and role of women are among the most discussed and controversial aspects of Islam. The rights of Muslim women have become part of the Western political agenda, often perpetuating a stereotype of universal oppression. Muslim women living in America continue to be marginalized and misunderstood since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Yet their contributions are changing the face of Islam as it is seen both within Muslim communities in the West and by non-Muslims. In their public and private lives, Muslim women are actively negotiating what it means to be a woman and a Muslim in an American context.
Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore offer a much-needed survey of the situation of Muslim American women, focusing on how Muslim views about and experiences of gender are changing in the Western diaspora. Centering on Muslims in America, the book investigates Muslim attempts to form a new “American” Islam. Such specific issues as dress, marriage, childrearing, conversion, and workplace discrimination are addressed. The authors also look at the ways in which American Muslim women have tried to create new paradigms of Islamic womanhood and are reinterpreting the traditions apart from the males who control the mosque institutions. A final chapter asks whether 9/11 will prove to have been a watershed moment for Muslim women in America.
This groundbreaking work presents the diversity of Muslim American women and demonstrates the complexity of the issues. Impeccably researched and accessible, it broadens our understanding of Islam in the West and encourages further exploration into how Muslim women are shaping the future of American Islam.
As municipal elections impending in March, mayors and councilors of nearly every political stripe are courting Muslim voters with promises of new mosques – or rightists, vowing to allow no new mosque constructions. Some candidates are putting out advertisements citing recognition of the marginalization of Muslims and lack of adequate place to worship. Others, however, are promising that no new mosques will be built on campaigns of Islamophobic grounds, courting rightist voters.