Dr. Amina Wadud banned to speak in Madras University in India

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Dr. Amina Wadud is Muslim scholar well respected around the world,  and has earned the distinction of being the first woman to lead the mixed congregation prayers on a Friday in 2003 or 2004. On that day and from that day forward, the whole Muslim orthodoxy has gone to work against her. Some of the placards held outside the prayer hall were disgustingly shameful. Muslims in general value free speech and subscribe to it but not the conservatives among them. Oddly the conservatives want to scream, stop and prevent others from free speech, but themselves? They want to have it all. They almost sound like my fellow Republicans.The only way to change is to speak up – enough of us to speak up to make sense to them.

URL – http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/07/dr-amina-wadud-banned-to-speak-in.html

On a Friday in 2003/04, just before the prayers Dr. Wadud, Asra Nomani and Saleema were on my radio show to talk about what it means to lead the mixed congregational prayers. 

I was fortunate to be a co-speaker with her at DePaul University in Chicago a couple of years ago and I was also thrilled when she used some of my symbols from my facebook. I wrote a piece on Sharia in July 2010, and she wrote an identical piece in November of the same year – both were novel write ups and followed the same logic to the point of being duplicate. Sharia was never looked in that fashion before.

Enough of us have not taken the time to nurture the values of respecting different opinions… and even expanding on Prophet’s Hadith – combat evil (their perception) with good.

Muslim men, like all other men seem to deal with women from an insecurities of losing to her or acknolwedging her knowledge. “what does she know” or “she is a woman”. It is a fashion among a few prominent Muslims to criticize women scholarship and discount their knowledge off the bat. Its the old generation, the new ones in America are growing up to believe in equality of men and women. However there are some out there who are trained by their parents to be bigots, again, it is not only Muslims, you find them among Christians, Hindus, Jews and even Buddhists and Bahai’s.

The men need to learn to debate her and not be afraid to learn and share the knowledge exchange.  Even a non-scholar like Taslima Nasreen, deserves to be engaged in a debate, a fair debate; instead of physically pushing here out of the stage. A disgusting act by an elected official in Hyderabad, India.

Is bigotry shown towards Dr. Wadud because she is a woman? A lot of Muslims shamelessly discount women – what does she know? 

We all have to learn to grow up. Prophet Muhammad, the mercy to mankind liberated women from the ugly clutches of men giving her all the liberties that were God given – free to practice her faith even against her husband’s wishes, free to choose her partner, divorce, own property and business, and she was no more a man’s property. She is on her own and responsible for her karma on the Day of Judgment, not her husband. What you see how women are treated has nothing to do with any religion, it is the men! And we we need to work on changing by assuring them that by debating with a woman and losing should be no different than debating with a man.

At worldmuslimcongress@yahoogroups.com, we bring tough issues to the fore, and with hesitation present the orthodox, liberal and moderate views on a given topic. However it is moderated to keep off tangent comments, and personal attacks.

The group has 1800 members including 50+ imams, scholar/academics, activist, extremists (intolerant of others) and ordinary folks.

Its facebook companion www.facebook.com/TexasMuslimshas about 1400 members and about 2000 people who read the site www.WorldMuslimCongress.com every day.

We also share the information regularly on our mailing list of over 36000 people across the globe – the message of pluralism and pluralism in Islam.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on Islam, pluralism, interfaith and other topics and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day – all about him at www.MikeGhouse.net

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

University Bars U.S. Academic at Police Request

ByJoanna Sugden

Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
A Muslim boy reads the Quran at a mosque in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, July 30. 
An American academic, who argues for gender equality in Islam, was prevented from addressing students at a university in India after an intervention by police, according to the organizer of the event. 
Chennai police asked the University of Madras in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu to cancel the talk by Amina Wadud on feminist reforms in Islam and refused to provide security for the event, said P. K. Abdul Rahiman, assistant professor at the department for Islamic Studies at the university.
He said that the police telephoned him on Sunday evening to ask him to cancel the lecture titled “Islam, Gender and Reform,” because fringe groups were planning protests against Ms. Wadud. 
Police officers from the local station in Triplicane in Chennai told him that he would have to deal with the consequences of any disturbance, Mr. Rahiman said. 
“They feared a law and order issue,” Mr. Rahiman said. “I informed the university and they didn’t want to take a risk. But the question I ask is whether academics inside a university can be guided by elements outside of the university?” 
“Instead of asking the university to cancel [the event] the police should have provided security,” Mr. Rahiman said. 
The police in Triplicane were not reachable for comment. Calls to the University of Madras and the vice chancellor’s office Tuesday, went unanswered. 
“One need not agree with the perspective, but strangulating the voices of free speech is something that can hinder the progress of a democratic nation,” Mr. Rahiman said. 
Ms. Wadud, a former professor of religion and philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia, lives in Calicut, Kerala in the south of India but has decided to leave India for good after her lecture was canceled, according to Mr. Rahiman.
Ms. Wadud is author of “Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective,” and “Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam.” In her writings, she argues against patriarchal interpretations of the Quran and has lectured in other Indian cities including Delhi and Calicut, according to Mr. Rahiman.
On Monday, a tweet from Ms. Wadud’s verified account, said she would now leave the country. “I have announced my intention to leave India for good as soon as I have completed some commitments in the region already scheduled,” the tweet said. 
“Okay so now that I have the next five days FREE instead of busy giving a lecture, what to do with myself hahaha?” another tweet from the account on Monday said. 
On a Facebook page for Amina Wadud supporters, a Facebook member with the name Dr Amina Wadud posted a message on Monday saying she intended to return to the U.S. 
I will also NOT give any lectures, discussion, consultations, interviews or anything about Islam here. I will SAVE my breath for people of love and spirit and I am NOT really finding that sufficiently here so I give up. I am leaving India and returning to America shortly.
It was not immediately possible to reach Ms. Wadud for comment. 
In 2005, Ms. Wadud led a group of men and women in Friday prayers in New York, prompting criticism from some Muslim leaders who said the move was against Islamic doctrine.
Follow Joanna and India Real Time on Twitter @jhsugden and @indiarealtime.
Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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