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Reader comment on item: [The American Muslim Council:] 'Mainstream' Muslims?
in response to reader comment: Re: Comment on [The American Muslim Council:] 'Mainstream' Muslims?

Submitted by Abdul Rahman Reijerink (Australia), Jun 4, 2006 at 08:12

If by Islam you mean the practise of it, then yes, Islam treats women poorly. However I do not accept this use of the word. Islam as a religion does not tolerate the oppression of human beings, Zulm or tyranny/the taking of anothers rights is one of the most serious of sins. On e of the most righteos acts is to tell a tyrannt that they are just that. Can God then accept the oppression of women, as a Holy thing? note that oppression must be defined by the oppressed and not the oppressor.....

Where people use their bad understanding of religion to justify their outrageous behaviour (violence towards women, preventing them from getting an education etc...) we need to address the systematic causes of these problems ie: patriarchy, and the desire of men to control women. this is not something that comes from religion, it is just that religion is falsely used to further these practises and to maintain control over people either close to us or in society at large... this is not limited to just religion either.

As an aside, I find your assertion that women find support in our legal systems rather laughable, if that was the case then why do so many rapes (the statisics are staggering) go unpunished (less than 5%, probably more like 2% of reported cases I believe, ) in the States and here in Australia? this is not just becasue the scum cannot be identified, it is systematic to the trial process and the fear women have of it amongst other factors ex: gang rapist gets off because of jury error and subsequent declaration of a mistrial after conviction, because victim will not face hostile questioning yet again. I know many women (and several men) who have been sexually assaulted, not one of them has had their perp. convicted/locked up, except one who committed suicide before trial in prison (the only one who made it that far, a notorious rock spider, or child molester).

Polygyny is an abhorrent practise in the modern world, that has less support in Islam than many people (including Muslims) realise. Yes it is lawful in Islam, but there are serious limitations on when and how it should be practised. Just because it happened in the past does not make it a ideal, b lawful today as it was then (see Barlas, Asma "Believing Women...." 2001(?). It can never be practised as an oppression of women, or in contravention of local laws and be considered Islamic. This occurs because of the practise of interpreting sacred texts in a disjointed way without reference to the textual whole, ripping verses out (the tradtional way of exegesis unfortunately) interpreting them in isolation and then acting on them in a way that is out of harmony with the fundamental messages of the text. There are more verses on women than on any other topic when it comes to rights, they all increased the rights of women over what they had before, therfore, if adhering to a "traditional" interpretation decreases womens rights, then this interpretation is out of context with the scripture.

Allah says (more or less) in the Qur'an, in keeping with what you said...

"No! they say: ' We found our fathers following a certain religion, and we do guide ourselves by their footsteps' " 43:23 Aimed at the non-believer for their persistence in idolatory even when they see it is foolish, but pertinent I think when we analyse many Muslim cultural practises that are justified by tradition, custom or the practise of muslims before us.

Abdul Rahman Reijerink


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