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Spurring Reform: Who Says It’s Supposed To Be Easy?

March 12, 2007

Sometime in January I had an idea for a collection of essays, statements, and fatwas, if you will, to be written for women’s rights and compiled at The Equality Project.  It was February 4, 2007 that I had written this:

Currently, I am working on a project in which I am hoping to draw attention to the suffering of women’s rights within the Islamic community.  At this moment, I am putting together a letter for distribution among Muslim Imams, scholars and leaders calling for reflection in regards to our status and for actions to be taken.  I am also hoping to have endorsement of this project before the letter/emails go out.

It is my intention and hope to see some progress prior to March 11, 2007 as it will be 5 years since the 15 girls had burned to death in Saudi Arabia.  I would like to take this project a step further and ask all of you to in some way remember these 15 girls and reflect upon the incident.  I ask not that you write about these girls, I ask that you reflect.  I ask that you in some way focus upon the injustices commited upon Muslim women by their fellow Muslims and I ask you to commit yourself to making a change in this regard.

Am I asking for too much?”

I won’t say that I asked for too much as I really do not know the reasons why, but after what must have been hundreds of emails  (you can click on the picture to get to the site) did not generate any essays, statements or fatwas.  Nothing, nada, nista, zip, nula, zilch.

What it did recieve was many wonderful emails of encouragement, praise and apologies and reasons (time constraints) for not being able to submit.  I would also like to thank those that took the time to refer me to others who may like to join the project, unfortunately time did get short and I recieved few replies from those leads.  Nonetheless, this still leaves me with a project that I’m not quite sure what to do with now.  How do I move forward when the initial call for essays basically went by unanswered?  How do I give up when it is just not my nature to do so (and in normal circumstances I wouldn’t wait for someone else to do it, I would go and do it, but I just can not write essays on behalf of other people).  I will have to wait until I am done sulking and the disappointment subsides to really think about this, so  stays around until I have the courage to go back and think about what went wrong.

On a similar but separate track, I would like to refer you to debate and discussion that has been going on at Eteraz: States of Islam in regards to Irshad Manji at the Secular Islam Summit.  I have never really taken the time to become familiar with Irshad Manji up until this point.  I knew little about her and admittedly still do.  However, I hold this opinion and that is that I believe that when Irshad Manji says that she is a Muslim that I am not Allah to judge that which is in her heart and to declare her otherwise. 

For my Muslim friends – I have these two comments 1 and 2 which state my thoughts on Irshad Manji.  Please do yourselves a favor and reacquiant yourselves with Irshad Manji and what she has been doing.  Articles 1 2 3 at

For those of you who have no idea who Irshad Manji is, she is another voice of the varying Muslim faces in the world, go learn.

And all of you – go learn about Irshad Manji’s Project Ijtihad.



6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2008 9:31 pm

    Hi! Thanks for the comment you posted on my blog.

    I would be very interested to read your opinions about Irshad Manji and her work. The above post contains links to what are said to be comments of yours about Irshad Manji, but the links don’t work. Could you please post copies of those pages here on your blog, if you still have copies?

  2. April 25, 2008 10:25 pm

    Diane – you are welcome and thanks for your interest. I’m not sure which comments they were at but I just found this link and am thinking it is likely to be one of the comments – excerpt:

    “I think that her intentions are about changing what is going on today and about getting people to open their eyes. I also don’t think that it is so much about the will of the individual that we think – throughout articles that I have read about her, she speaks about not taking things literally. So it seems to be more of an encouragement to read it and try to understand it and then trust that you may have to rely on other analysyis. If I remember correctly, regardless of all of the schools of thought prior to wahabism, people were still encouraged to “consider” analysis and decide for themselves with rational thought whether or not that analysis makes sense. Such is not the case in wahabi ideology – it is believe the way I say or face the consequences and while we are outside of SA grasp – this ideology is seeping into our world – it’s time to get rid of it. Personally, her personal life is none of my business, whether she flaunts it or not. Her world views, so what? I most likely have many in common and many not so common views – people are allowed to differ with me whether or not they are Muslim. That she questions the Quran? I’m not so sure that I would want to be the judge of her intention or of whether or not that is okay and I am sure that many have had similar questions without voicing them in the public arena whoop dee doo. The same questions she asks may be the questions that our children will be asking us in the future or are asking themselves right now – we need to deal with them constructively and not try to “shut them up” (questions).”

    Couple more comments in that post by me:

  3. April 26, 2008 5:01 am

    Thanks very much for the summary and link.

    These past couple of weeks I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about Islam and about Muslim reformers. I’m interested because I’m trying to launch an activist group against religion-based bigotry.

  4. April 26, 2008 4:24 pm

    “I’m interested because I’m trying to launch an activist group against religion-based bigotry.”

    You have me intrigued. Is this the group that is in your about page?

  5. April 30, 2010 6:07 pm

    I reviewed Irshad Manji’s book here (link is below) – I think you may find it interesting

    Feel free to contact me if you have any comments or suggestions about this book review.

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