Because it’s almost impossible to properly represent them and their beliefs. I believe that Muslim women are one of the most diverse groups out there, because there are so many people analyzing our situation, telling us what to do and how to behave and what to feel. Our issues are debated across the globe, people pity us as though we have no mind, the way we are treated can range from offensive to patronizing.
We have voices. Many of us know how to use them. Others are learning. Please don’t, as an individual, attempt to summarize the collective female Muslim mindset as though you have the authority or knowledge to do so.
Some of these speakers take a liberal view, claiming that Muslim women are being oppressed by wearing the headscarf or dominated by males. These types usually style themselves the saviors for the poor, unknowing Muslim women everywhere.
The other type, usually male, are conservative minded and preach about how many rights and privileges Islam has given to women, and so why would a woman feel oppressed by the religion, etc. These types are almost apologetic in their talks, and speak more about what they think as opposed to what the reality.
And of course, you have everything in between.
One definition, one analysis, just won’t cut it. Muslim women come from every culture and ethnic and racial background, some are oppressed because of cultural reasons and some are empowered also because of culture.
I am not against promoting unity amongst Muslim women, on the contrary. But you cannot stand atop the pedestal and claim that you are the legitimate voice for this entire group, because odds are you won’t even be representing a fraction.
The reason I bring this up is because I attended a seminar today about the law and Muslim women. It was actually Shariah Law, but it doesn’t matter what the seminar was about because it wasn’t what they discussed. It was basically an exercise in political correctness. Be united, be tolerant, America is a great land where different beliefs should be accepts. Okay, beautiful words. What next? I don’t want to sound overly-critical and negative, but I sincerely did not feel that they made any significant conclusion or say anything profound that hasn’t been reiterated for years by rights groups.
What also irritated me was the subtle apologetic tone in the voice of the Muslim woman speaker. Her name is Azizah Hibri, a female Muslim lawyer. Listening to her talk reminded me of the several times I’ve heard Muslims trying to justify Islam.
If you believe in something, you don’t need confirmation from anyone else. You don’t need to apologize, otherwise you should seriously re-evaluate your beliefs. This is why we are weak as an Ummah (nation), we have no confidence in our faith. This needs to be remedied.
There was also a riveting class on minorities this afternoon, the teacher has this enchanting charisma from start to finish. It’s interesting to see to what extent race is such an issue in the United States. My personal belief is that, the more you concentrate on race, the more of a problem it will be. He also said something interesting; “People in authority use race for their own benefit”. He used Gadhafi’s recruitment of Africans during the revolution as an example. I still maintain that racism is not an issue in Libya, but it would be worth investigating any possible effects left behind after the war concerning this issue.