Sunday, September 18, 2005

Opening the gates of expression   posted by Razib @ 9/18/2005 12:10:00 PM

I have posted about the collective of Muslim women in Tamil Nadu (southern India) organizing to build their own mosque before, but here is a story which updates us on the progress of the group (and there has been progress!). I am not one who expects that most of the world's 1 billion Muslims are going to become Congregationalists with a Unitarian theology (let alone Secular Humanists) in the near future, nor do I think think that repeating the mantra that "true Islam is moderate peaceful Islam" is really that profound or useful unless you are a politician who must be above impolitic truths. So I am heartened by the increase in variance and range1 of Muslim expression as it dilutes the explicit and implicit support that the "Ummah" gives to the human fists who are engaging in "the Clash of Civilizations" (here is a post on women's mosques on China).

To a small extent my hopes are I think justified by the following: there is talk Indian tennis star Sania Mirza is being threatened by the standard issue Muslim goons because she doesn't follow the norms of dress typical for an Indian Muslim woman2 (ie; she dresses like a typical tennis player, I don't know if "modest" dress would allow the free range of movement or draw nearly the same male audience). Thankfully, the women's jamaat is aggressively pointing out the hypocrisy of Muslims who are fixating on the dress of a particularly high profile woman when there are far greater violations of Islamic norms permeating the daily life of believers in India which do not warrant any note or objection.

Via Sepia Mutnity.

1 - To be fair, I am not one who believes that the "female touch" cures all, but, I suspect that the near monopoly on religious leadership roles in Islam held by males does result in greater belligerence and fixation on confrontation which can yield status than would be the case of there were more women involved in the process of religious norm formation. As it is in most countries, Muslim and non-Muslim, women tend to be more sincere and devout believers, so once they get their feet in the door they often become a powerful force in religious vocations.

2 - This isn't the first time she's been criticized about this, and there even seems to be a weblog devoted to covering the issue of her immodesty and gleefully reporting whenever she loses (there are pictures of course, so that the hypocrites can criticze their flesh and gaze at it too!)