Sep 14 2012

Freedom of speech misused for freedom of stirring hatred

 

Muslims:  PLEASE  DO  NOT  OVERREACT.

 

A screenshot from the video, in which Muhammad is portrayed as speaking to a donkey which he calls “the first Muslim animal” before kissing the poorly veiled woman pixelized at right, was broadcast on the Egyptian TV station Al-Nas.

 

Quoting NewsPoliticsNow3 from Sep.11, 2012

“The movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” that mocks and insults the Prophet Muhammad caused demonstrators to attack a U.S. consulate in Libya, killing one American, and breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Angry protests over the film by a U.S. producer, directed and produced by an Israeli-American real-estate developer who characterized it as a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam. It has been promoted by Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of Quran’s previously sparked deadly riots around the world… “

It is taken everywhere off the YouTube channel but I managed to see it after all. Disgusting and poor is the only words I can find for it. Meant as a political satire short movie but the result is a stupid tasteless bigot rambling with the evil intent to stir unrest and bloodshed well knowing the possibility of serious consequences.

 

Who benefits from the unrest? The question of the year.

The actors were tricked to it by not telling them of the true intend of it. The original manuscript did not have the role of the Prof. Mohammed at all. It was said to become an adventure movie in Arabic lands. The actors are apologizing and are really upset.

Muslims, Please do not overreact!

God, Allah, does not need our revenge on His behalf.  Believers are judged according to their intentions and deeds. And so are those agitators and they will discover it when the time for it comes.

This is the same kind of evil intended hatred sawing agitation which started with the Mohammed caricatures in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten some years ago. It created a media hype I have never seen before and sent shock waves around the Muslin world. A remarkable detail in this is that the responsible editor in that newspaper was a Jew, too. Interesting also that those caricatures were published already in Egypt and Jordan ca. half a year earlier without anyone protesting. They were left for what they were: stupid wannabe satire. I do not need to explain to my readers how these political agitators work.

Peace of mind, respect for each other’s differences and some solidarity on this one small planet we are sharing,  it is not much to wish for!

Mona

 


Mar 20 2011

Old habits are hard to overcome

 

 

Saudi women’s veil versus modernity

Thousands of years old ethnic traditions felt unplaced in 21st century-

from Emirates news:

Husband has not seen wife’s face despite 10 years of marriage

By Staff , Published Sunday, December 05, 2010

After nearly 10 years of marriage that produced five children, Mufleh Mohammed of Saudi Arabia still has not seen his wife’s face.

Mohammed Hilal, another Saudi husband, could not identify his wife who was killed in a road crash until her veil was put back on her face.

Mufleh and Mohammed are among many Saudi men who have never seen the face of their wives as they insist on sticking to ancient tradition of keeping their face covered even in front of their relatives or husbands in defiance of ongoing changes brought about by the advent of oil and a massive foreign influx.

In a report on such habits, the Saudi Arabic language daily Alhayat said many women in the conservative Gulf Kingdom that controls nearly a quarter of the world’s oil still defy the winds of change and stick to their ancestors’ traditions.

Even after they get married, they never remove their burqu (face veil), leaving their husbands guessing how they look like. Mufleh is one of those husbands.

“My wife still keeps her face covered all the time even in front of her family and relatives because she has been accustomed to this since she was a child… I have to respect her wishes and not insist on seeing her face,” he said.

“I cannot deny that the woman’s habit to cover her face in front of her family and inside her house is a tradition that my tribe had inherited from our ancestors… but I have thought that social changes and openness will alter some of these habits since they have nothing to do with Islam… but they have not changed… although I have been married to my wife for nearly 10 years and have five children from her, I have not seen her face even once in my life.”

Most Muslim women in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf crude producers still wear face veils as part of long-standing traditions dating back before oil was struck more than half a century ago. But some of them, mainly the new generations, have started to unveil their faces while keeping a scarf on their heads.

In Saudi Arabia, local women taking off their face veils in public still face the wrath of the feared Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which usually deploys thousands of its members in public places to warn unveiled women. Women with “seditious” eyes must fully cover their faces.

Such practices run against recent statements by an outspoken Commission official, who said Saudi women do not have to veil their faces.

Sheikh Ahmed Al Ghamdi, head of the Commission’s Makkah branch, also said there was nothing in Islam to prevent women from driving.

Alhayat said Mohammed was another one among many Saudi husbands who are deprived from seeing the face of their wives.

“I could not identify my wife after she was killed in a road accidents…I asked security women to put the veil back on her face…after they did so, I recognized her and indentified the dead person as my wife,” he said.

The paper quoted an unnamed teacher at a literacy centre as saying she succeeded in persuading two of her female students to uncover their faces in class. But after a while, she noticed that they could no longer concentrate.

“They kept blushing and turning their faces away from their class mates although it is a female centre… after a few days, they quit the school,” she said.

Another Saudi women identified only as Ibta said she had agreed to her husband’s request to take her face veil off at home despite criticism from relatives. “My husband is an educated man so I agreed to his request… but my relatives then started to look at me with contempt and one of them later shouted in my face and said ‘shame on you… how could you do this,’….I stood their criticism with my husband’s encouragement,” she said.

But another Saudi man was not as open as Ibta’s husband. “I don’t see anything wrong if our women stick to old traditions,” said the man, identified as Saleh.

“Every society has its own traditions and habits and we have no choice but to respect them… we do not force them to do anything they don’t like, because some women in our tribe keep their face veil and some do not.”
.                                                    ……………………………………………………………….

 

From that article I remembered a Saudi woman from Riadh who saw the face of her mother the first time at her funeral, secretly she lifted the veil (as told in her life story, a book) .

 

How did it come that women in ancient times started wearing a full face veil in the vast Arabian desert? People inhabiting that huge inhospitable desert land were in the majority nomads living from their sheep flock and camels. Camel was and still is the Bedouins best friend. It is the “ship if the desert” and it is the source of meat and drink, milk and in Emergency (only*) blood from a vein on the neck when no water is available while a camel can survive for days with one drinking. Small farming communities existed in the oasis and in the coastal cities Mecca and some others flourished import-export caravan trade with spices and silk and other luxury items, badly needed vanities like pearls and perfumes by spoiled circles in Europe and elsewhere between the Mediterranean Sea and the East as far as the ancient China.

 

Photo By: Wendy Cocker,  Aslam Pilgrim caravanserai at Wadi Aslam,  northwest Saudi Arabia; 18th century

 

Let’s imagine the men going about their business looking after the animals. Tribal conflicts were every day matters, blood revenge the order. In that scenario especially the women were vulnerable and I can imagine why it became necessary to protect them, especially if they were still young and beautiful.

Bloody tribal conflicts were the menace of those times and until today tribal thinking is still strong in some areas.  In fact Prof. Mohamed was invited to Medina as arbitrator between warring tribes and was able to achieve peace between them, the main reason why people of Medina converted to the religion he was preaching, to Islam.

It was the custom in those times that after lost battles women and men were taken prisoners and often sold as slaves, sometimes the women were married legally. We can understand why women needed special protection in those days.

Small scale model of an ancient Arabian city, at Tayabat House in Jeddah

But times change. Today those countries are predominantly Muslim and it should be without thinking clear that women are safe from male harassment without covering their faces.  From religious point of view the face veil  is not required and the most powerful argument against it is the fact that when women perform the ritual pilgrimage (Omrah and Hajj, equally required from both sexes if affordable), they are not allowed to cover their faces in the Grand Mosque of Mecca. And they mix with men while doing it. In the Quran there are only two Suras, which mention in some way the veil. One of them says that the wives of the Prophet are not like other women and one should talk to them through a shade. A word that can be translated in different ways, but the root word can be any garment, a curtains or similar. The face veil comes from that, a shade, a covering, a curtain.

The other verse is in my opinion misinterpreted. While the Prophet was talking about covering bare breast (often the case while nursing, especially slave women) some are interpreting it meaning as an order to draw the head cloth (worn against the heat of the sun) over the face to the bare breast.

This is my personal view and I can see that I am not alone in this. I think that to develop a country it cannot forgo the huge potential of half of its population!  In those oil rich countries today the girls are getting an education but they find it really hard to get a  job. Only in education as teachers in girl’s schools or as women doctors were jobs open, and only if male relatives agreed. But slowly they are getting out and taking on office and administration jobs that until now were done by foreign male employees.

And they are driving cars, occasionally. Until recently foreign male drivers were hired from abroad which is actually Totally against the same old custom that women cannot be in the same room without males who are not close relatives. But it is still just a modest beginning in many areas.

Not to forget the fact that the huge number of foreign employees and workers send their savings back home for families they are supporting. That money is away from the country where it would otherwise stimulate development of the society. The good side of it is of course that poorer countries without oil reserves are profiting from it.

(* Blood and the meat of swine and some other animals are forbidden in islam, but in order to save lives in emergency allowed.)

Salaam for later

Mona


Apr 11 2008

Queen Rania: “Send me your stereotypes”

 

 

 

“Send me your stereotypes”

Another woman among the 100 most powerful women in the world is

HM Queen Rania of Jordan

She is an outspoken advocate of women rights and well loved and respected in her home country. She is a new idol of an Arab woman, wise, family oriented and sympathetic.

And as so many of us she is frustrated over the ongoing misinformation and stereotyping of Muslims and especially Arabs and Arab women. She is introducing herself now on Youtube, where the youth of the world is communicating and is reaching out for dialog.

YOUTUBE EXCLUSIVE:  Send me your stereotypes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFf897bUW2Y&eurl=http://www.play.jo/home.php

And as I was reading what kind of response she is getting (some of it is not worth discussing) I watched one remarkable video, that I want to share with you, too :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOeDIj40WxM&feature=related

There is no other way!

 

Queen Rania in Davos

Queen Rania at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

 


Sep 04 2007

Tolarance towards other faiths, Part I

Contrary to the common assumptions, the early Muslim Umma (the Muslim community) practiced tolerance towards other faiths.
A Christian or Jewish woman was not forced to change her faith in case of a marriage to a Muslim man. In the Holy Qur’an Jews and Christians are called “People of the Book”. But a marriage to a pagan woman was not valid if she did not convert to Islam.

The Prophet emphasized in many letters to his emissaries that religious institutions should not be harmed. Here in a letter addressed to his emissary to the religious leaders of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai who has sought the protection of the Muslims:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them.No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are declared to be protected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

“…There is no compulsion in religion…” (Quran 2:256)

“…If they do come to you, either judge between them or decline to interfere…” (Quran 5:42)

“Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.” (Hadith by Saheeh Muslim)

“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Hadith by Abu Dawud)

 

 




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