How Feminism Undermines Islam and Gender Justice

Originally posted on ISMAweb.

On 6th April 2016, at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), I and another brother by the name of Muhammad Kashmiri were invited to participate in an event called “Mars vs. Venus”, which goal was to “highlight the status of women in Islam and give a clear understanding of women’s rights and duties…also to point out the responsibilities of both men and women in making a better world and participating in achieving a bright future.”

Prior to the program, the organizers requested to have a meeting to discuss how we would contribute. I went with my wife to meet the organizers at the university library, who were made up entirely of women.  We sat for nearly two hours going over logistics and also what role I and Muhammad would be playing. Essentially, that night we all agreed that the program would begin at 8 pm, start with an opening speech by a woman, followed by academic lectures given by women, a spoken word performed by a woman, a play conducted by women (called “Her Confessions”), and then finally ending off at 9:45 pm with a debate between myself and Muhammad on the topic of “Do Muslim Women Need Feminism?” – followed by a short question and answer session with a shared panel between all the event participants. Despite Muhammad’s protest at being chosen to defend feminism, he accepted on the condition that he would be able to qualify himself during his opening speech. In other words, neither he nor I wanted to defend feminism – and the women organizers didn’t want us to either. Why? Because of the shared understanding between us that Islam was sufficient for granting women their rights.
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The Tale of Two Islands — Part 1

Once upon a time, there lived two societies, each on its own island separated by the ocean. Neither remembered exactly how they got there or when the separation occurred, but both agreed that it was due to a conflict long ago when they were all crew members on the same ship. Eventually that ship crashed along the reef. Afterwards, the desire for power and resources drove them to eventually split.

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