Shabana Rehman: A Jihad of Laughter
[I linked earlier to a reply to her critics by stand-up and lift-up comedian Shabana Rehman, who was roundly condemned of rudeness and Islamophobia after violating the personal space of our dear Mullah Krekar. I've asked for permission to translate it in full - it's too good to excerpt. Here it is. She also requested that I translate a speech she held at the Bergen International Festival this month. See below. Enjoy. -bs]
A Jihad of Laughter
By Shabana Rehman
Rarely have I seen such underestimation of freethinkers and of freedom loving Muslims as that accomplished by some critics of my mullah-lift. I've had many good laughs since the lifting took place on Smuget, and, to my great joy, the symbolicism of the event is spreading like a wind of freedom over the world. I hope it reaches the madrasas, and all other dark corners where people are held as slaves by authorities who by their titles, religious or not, rule with the aid of superstition, fear and prejudice.
Most of the critics can be found where feminism meets anti-racism. They supply some of the most misguided anti-racist analysis of all time. [Social anthropologist] Unni Wikan feels sorry for Krekar. Did you hear what his family had to say afterwards, Unni? Krekar's wife said: "It was the wrong time and place." In other words: It wouldn't have been so bad in a different setting. Krekar's brother went from wanting to sue and demonize me, over of a joke about the infallibility of mosques, to saying that he himself wants to be lifted, and that he "supports Shaban's struggle for women". Wikan, you underestimate the Krekar family so much that I suggest you either do some urban field studies or go into retirement.
An imam is bound by duty to protect the honor of all imams. This is a respect based on title and age, not on having a good heart or a rational and free intellect. That is why the World Islamic Mission [a mosque in Oslo] have come out in defense of a mullah who's more a political than a religious Islamist. For the first time in history they have chosen to shut out a named woman. They have no second thoughts about strangling freedom of speech, diversity or an open and critical debate. Is this what [religious historian] Torkel Brekke and [teacher of journalism] Nazneen Khan calls a peaceful multiethnic society? Do you really believe that just because your anti-racist dialogue depends on women keeping their mouths shut, 30 years of silence about the struggle of immigrant women must continue? Because that is the silence it rests upon!
In Sweden, men put up posters where they condemn liberated Kurdish women, and call them whores who should be beaten up. In Copenhagen a fundamentalist group recently handed out flyers that called for the murder of Jews. This week, there were more than 1000 people present at a fundamentalist Islamic hate meeting arranged by the same group. In England, the mullahs seek to gain power over Muslim youth by inciting them to violence. Muslims must struggle against this upgrowth of anti-human, anti-freedom fascism, Muslims who are free from the coercion of their community. That is why it's so blind of left-populists when they choose to despise precisely these people, and to violate their integrity by denouncing them as token immigrants.
My dear critics, who act more like drunken bar flies than alert democratic citizens, I ask you: What is so wrong about lifting a mullah, joyfully and without prejudice? A playful test that made Krekar forget his role as a patriarch for a few tenths of a second? Did we lose something when I performed that test? No, but he was shown something of value. Something he was ready for, even though it made him angry. He asked for it himself by taking those steps to a bar scene on Smuget, joking around while trying to sell his fundamentalist message. It was the right time and place to demonstrate the strength of a woman who owns her own freedom. Why should I treat Krekar any differently? Because he is different, or because I am? Isn't that an extremely racist, sexist and discriminating interpretation of a small lifting?
And all you who praise or criticize me for having become a good Norwegian girl! Neither the Taliban nor human rights are Norwegian inventions. I am proud of living in a free country, but I see myself neither as Norwegian nor Pakistani. I live in both cultures. You who ask if Muslims can't stomach Norwegian humor: Where do you have it from that this is "Norwegian" humor? The Norwegian humorist establishment has officially done little else but whine and say: She's only an immigrant comedian. And our esteemed intellectuals, who supposedly were to analyze this, think as if we live in South Africa in the 50's. I know Norwegian immigrant culture very well. I know what roles immigrants play for each other, for tradition, for religion and for the majority. And I refuse to play the suffocating role of the "immigrant" woman, or the "integrated" woman. I refuse to pick sides. That is why I don't aim my project towards one particular group, I aim it towards moving borders in those places where inter-human freedoms and communication is restricted. I do not accept ghettoes, cultural prisons or mullahs who put away their religion long enough to promote a book, but return to it as if it were a cannon they can shoot with the moment someone challenge their masculine role, or undress the authority of their fearsome personalities.
Multiethnicity can not exist without freedom. Too many have failed to realize this. Freedom to believe, dress, marry and live with the one you want. That requires struggle. A struggle against dogmas, violence, narrow upbringings, sexual apartheid, envy, pettiness, censorship and discrimination. A struggle against self-satisfied and ethnocentric producers of academic knowledge. This means a fully open society, where the truth about the causes of fascism and chauvinism is stripped naked. This condescension towards my sex because I lifted a man was first delivered by Krekar himself - and then by a number of people exposing their own intellectual hypocrisy.
This isn't political correctness, an old-fashioned and idiotic buzzword used by among others Norwegian comedians to appear cool while they wipe themselves with yet another toilet paper substitute. It is left-populist arrogance against coloured intellectuals, artists and freethinkers, used by a number of pompous men and women on the left to maintain their power of terminology over those who they choose to pity. The consequence: Another generation grows up speaking poor Norwegian, and bow their heads to false prophets, whether they go by the titles of imams or anti-racists.
To all minorities in this country, I say this: Screw them. Don't accept that your freedoms get wrapped away in a colourful and diverse ghettoship. You are not cocoanuts. You will not turn white on the inside. You are red of blood like any other human. Remember that and teach your children. Freedom is not a Norwegian invention, never, ever accept that anyone tries to remove your skin colour, your identity, your leanings or your brain just because you worship freedom.
Mullah Krekar has used his freedom to make his debut. Now the work begins on the difficult second book.
jsinger, Boston | 2004-05-31 20:38 | Link
1) This woman sounds obnoxious, pompous and utterly tedious.
2) The impression I strongly get is that there's a conversation that Norwegians need to have about and with the Muslim community there that's being displaced into cheering on this bit of rudeness, instead.
Bjørn Stærk | 2004-05-31 22:06 | Link
Yeah we need a conversation - but Mullah-lifting isn't the problem. On one side we have organizations that represent immigrants, who deny that there's any problem to discuss (except racism and Islamophobia). On the other, we have academics and anti-racists, who deny there's any problem to discuss (except racism and Islamophobia). So there are entire subjects, such as oppression of women, or Islamic fanaticism, that reflect badly on immigrant culture, that have barely been mentioned in the mainstream media until the last couple of years, and are still pretty controversial, associated with xenophobes and evil right-wingers.
So we need a conversation, a real one. Perhaps it starts with laughing at a fanatic and exposing a few pompous academics. Can't hurt to try.
Totoro, Chicago, U.S. | 2004-05-31 22:58 | Link
To Shabana Rehman . . .
As we say in Chicago, "You go, girl." Attacking the pompous can be very effective. If more people laughed at these vicious imams, there might be fewer of them.
Franko | 2004-05-31 23:06 | Link
Jsinger...what we are reading is a transcript of a speech not an attempt at a balanced editorial essay. It reads like a rant because that what it is, Shabana Rehman’s rant in defense of herself. Now you may find this speech , “obnoxious, pompous and utterly tedious,” but I think your attitude suggests you are ignorant of the conditions Muslim immigrants in Europe exist and therefore the context in which Shabana’s speech is viewed.
Is Shabana Rehman just rude and by implication not worthy of notice? Maybe, I don’t know her or her work well enough to comment conclusively. From what I read on Norwegian blogs and Aftenposten and from my relatives in Norway, it seems like Shabana is contributing to the dialog between aboriginal Norwegians and the new Muslim immigrant population. My understanding is that the conversation between Norwegians and Muslim immigrants is enhanced by Shabana’s mullah lifting. Sure, Mullah lifting is a stunt and not part of a serious conversation. However to dismiss Shabana as merely obnoxious and rude is a bit much. Lighten up.
Michael Farris | 2004-05-31 23:32 | Link
Bjorn, tusen takk for oversettelset, jeg kunne aldri forstaa det (hope that's not too bad, I had to guess about a lot of it).
Anyway, it occurs to me that Scandinavians in general are insufferably cruel to immigrants, treating them as fragile little children whose little feelings must not be hurt in any way lest their little personalities be stunted. The meta-message behind such treatment is "Oh heavens, you could never be expected to act like us adults." The predictable result is agressive rejection of the "adults".
There is racism and Islamophobia in Europe (some malignant but most, I think, based on curable ignorance). But making sacred cows out of immigrant cultures is about the worst possible way to address it. Especially when those who should can't distinguish between culture and politics.
ivy, chicago | 2004-06-01 09:13 | Link
jsinger: This woman sounds funny, courageous, and extremely smart.
Trevor Stanley, Melbourne | 2004-06-01 12:35 | Link
A thoroughly enjoyable article, and I applaud Shabana Rehman for her use of humour to deflate Krekar. I would congratulate the Norwegian media establishment if I thought there was an ounce of premeditation in this.
My favourite bit:
I'll take any excuse to do that, but this time we have a good reason!
Thanks for the very good translation.
What still astounds me about this whole event is not Shabana's actions, or Mullah Krekar's reaction, or the reaction of the intellectuals, but the very fact that Krekar, aka Abu Sayyid Qutb - spiritual leader of Ansar al-Islam, the group that orchestrated terrorist bombings in Turkey, murdered hundreds of fellow Kurds and was manufacturing ricin that later turned up in France and London - a man who named his first child after Sayyid Qutb (the progenitor of the Jihadi splinter from the Muslim Brotherhood), his next two children after the first words of the titles of Qutb's most famous works (say hello to 'signpost' and 'in the shadow') - a man who was interviewed in Nida'ul Islam, the publication that first interviewed Usama bin Laden - Mullah Krekar is considered an appropriate guest on a Norwegian light entertainment television show.
Maybe this is a result of the minimal exposure Norway has had to terrorism, I don't know.
America destroys entire mountainsides and invades countries to track down Usama bin Laden. Australia recently convicted Jack Roche of planning terrorist attacks, and deported Willie Brigitte. Turkey has just initiated the largest ever terrorist trial (of Krekar's underlings). Two successive spiritual leaders of Hamas were vapourised by Israeli rockets within a month of each other. Germany, I hear, has just initiated yet another trial of a terrorist suspect. Saudi Arabia's response to terrorists is to surround their compound, fire a couple of shots, and then let the survivors escape out the back door - but at least they expelled Usama bin Laden in 1992.
Even Indonesia has got its act together, sentencing the Bali bombing conspirators, then investigating the man they name as the spiritual leader of Jamaah Islamiyya, Abu Bakr Bashir. They have continued even in the face of his persisitent claims that JI does not exist.
The Philippines' government is building whole naval bases in the attempt to stamp out ASG and JI. The French, in their infinite wisdom, have responded to the existence of religious radicalism by banning the display of any religious symbol (I'm not entirely sure what that's supposed to do to solve the problem, but that's their response.)
But Norway - Norway has the spiritual leader of one of the most significant terrorist organisations in the world, a man who has salivated over the killing of his fellow humans on television, living in a council flat. And what do they do? They invite him to sing karaoke.
I don't understand.
Totoro, Chicago, U.S. | 2004-06-01 15:48 | Link
Trevor Stanley, Melbourne . . .
You said: "What still astounds me about this whole event is not Shabana's actions, or Mullah Krekar's reaction, or the reaction of the intellectuals, but the very fact that Krekar, aka Abu Sayyid Qutb - spiritual leader of Ansar al-Islam, the group that orchestrated terrorist bombings in Turkey, murdered hundreds of fellow Kurds and was manufacturing ricin that later turned up in France and London - a man who named his first child after Sayyid Qutb (the progenitor of the Jihadi splinter from the Muslim Brotherhood), his next two children after the first words of the titles of Qutb's most famous works (say hello to 'signpost' and 'in the shadow') - a man who was interviewed in Nida'ul Islam, the publication that first interviewed Usama bin Laden - Mullah Krekar is considered an appropriate guest on a Norwegian light entertainment television show."
This, my friend, is the incredible weakness--the Achilles heel--of Western Civilization. This unbelievably unconcerned and yes, immoral, attitude is what will lead to the disasters that await us.
I feel gloomy today after reading littlegreenfootballs and seeing yet more evidence that nuclear materials are floating around in unidentified and out-of-control circles.
John Anderson, RI USA | 2004-06-01 21:23 | Link
"Multiethnicity can not exist without freedom." Which includes freedom to accept/adopt from from other ethnic groups (I suspect the Piñata is almost as much in use by the US populace at large as in Mexican birthdays) or reject/change (there is presumably at least one, bit I can think of nonr, that advocates holding slaves as set out in Leviticus) from your own or other group(s). I do not consider it liberal or "multi-ethnic" to call Bill Cosby, a well-known black comedian, a white racist because he wants blacks in the inner cities to keep trying to get educated (and employed) rather than establish an illiterate (unemployable) sub-culture.
Kevin McDonnell, Bergen | 2004-06-02 02:10 | Link
Good Stuff Bjørn,
You do a helluva translation! Do you go the other direction so well? How much excess time have you got to kill?
The only comment I'm going to make on Shabana, is that I can absolutely understand how the sudden impetus to lift up the Mullah came over her; and for her courage and fortitude in overcoming the angst I'm sure she had to face down in order to do it, I applaud her. It was the right thing to do, and the unhinged reaction she got from the moral and intellectual wasteland that is the multicultist pundips, should be all the validation required.
I think.... that the type of vision that Shabana is drawing on in order to write so eloquently on freedom, diversity and tolerance... is not a new one... though its a real one indeed.
Its just that its been concealed behind the odious new clothing those words have been wearing for some years. I second Totoro's comment... "You go girl!"
Ali Dashti | 2004-06-03 16:22 | Link
Michael Farris: There is no such thing as "Islamophobia". Islam is a fascist movement disguised as a religion.
オンラインカジノ | 2004-07-20 01:00 | Link
Excellent, that was really well explained and helpful
Laurus Sutton | 2004-07-20 08:07 | Link
I want to marry this woman. She is brilliant, bold, beautiful, and brazen. With the skillful prose of Thomas Jefferson, the fanatical love of liberty of Patrick Henry, and the devotion of Susan B. Anthony, the world needs more people like her.
Arab, somewhere in the west | 2004-08-24 02:30 | Link
Why doesn't ms Shabana Rehman go to Pakistan and say that to the face of ANY muslim. As a matter of fact, why don't she go to the face on ANY muslim ANYWHERE in the world and try to make a joke about Islam? Instead of hiding behind her Norwegian pimps.
ShabanaLover | 2004-12-01 07:06 | Link
Shabana Rehman is awesome! Way to stand up for yourself! GO! GO! GO! GO!
kim sook-im | 2005-05-29 10:31 | Link
Arab, somewhere in the west | 2004-08-24 02:30 | Link
If Allah is God why is he scared of his enemies? Why does he need to recruit criminals, psychopaths and brainwashed adolescents to fight the Jihad for him? . If he wanted the unbelievers dead so badly, he could have done it himself. God does not need mercenaries and hit men. God is not a paranoid. He is not a narcissist. It would make no difference to Him whether you believe in Him or not, so why would he want to kill you and then burn you for E T E R N I T Y if you do not believe in Him?
Sister Ayesha Nyanaponika Kim
Nadeem Ahmad, Pakistan | 2005-06-01 00:24 | Link
Shabana Rehman’s lift-up – Has anyone tried to understand what this lift up was? In my opinion, it was a physical manifestation of what leftist, especially those who are influenced by Nietzsche and Frankfurt school, do in any conversation. The key word here is Deconstruction. These people are never interested in a dialogue. All they want is an interminable debate where they can speak loud. In 1981 when Derrida-Gadamer encounter took place in April 1981 at the Goethe Institute in Paris, Derrida produced nothing except blames. Commenting on the encounter Prof Dallamyr writes: “What occurred there was “disjointed” – in fact, a non-dialogue” The reason is clear the leftist say: If you ever come across Socrates, don’t engage yourself in a dialogue with him, mock him for his ugliness.”
Certainly, I am not going to draw a parallel between Socrates and mullah Krekar. What I want to say is that Krekar was invited in a meeting to have a dialogue with the other participants, including Shabana Rehman, an idea which perhaps leftists didn’t like much.
Now I return to some of the views on this forum.
Asad – calling her as kanjeri who provide “services for benefit of man-kind such as sexual massage with both vaginal and anal....along with hands....”.
Don’t blame Pakistanis. We are the nation with least interest in getting anal services from women. For this we mostly choose young men. Anyway, you don’t need to be so much angry. Let her make money. Is there any other better business in Norway than insulting Muslims. No, ask Aasne Sierstad who wrote “Bookkeeper in Kabul”. Besides, you don’t know her family background. Don’t blame her family what she is doing.
Indeed, we Muslims do practice such customs that we are unable to justify even from our own set of beliefs, honor killings is one thing. But I assure you that we are working hard to eliminate this evil custom from our culture. As far as the allegation of hiding behind women and children is concerned, it is more like and American excuse to kill our women and children. Why Talaq, talaq, and talaq is not good. When two people cannot live together, they need to get immediate separation and find a new partner. For your information, women can also pronounce all these three words together and get rid of undesired partner. Mutta, yes it is “kind of a neat way to avoid adultery to slake their androgynous lust”. Lust is good but has to be satisfied in a legitimate way. About sex Muslims have always been pretty much liberal. Who has harem now? In these days, it is really hard to feed one wife, how the hell shall we keep one hundred women.
Nadeem Ahmad | 2005-06-03 00:19 | Link
A reply to Shabana’s reply to her critics: (By paragraphs)
As a Pakistani my reply is determined by my prejudices and biases that are mainly rooted in my culture and religion. I make no claim to neutrality or freethinking.
1. So, Shabana, you present yourself as a Muslim woman. It means that you believe in One God, Holy Book Quran, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as the Last Prophet of God, Angles, and other Holy books and Prophets. That is good, really good. We hope that you are not among the HYPOCRATES.
Free thinking: Tell me Shabana what is this thing you call as “free-thinking”? Can you show me by some rationally plausible arguments that it is possible for us to think freely? Furthermore, do you really believe that you are thinking freely in this “reply?
As far as the first two questions are concerned, I assure you that you cannot find any reasonable answer to them because no one in the last 350 years of modern philosophy has been able to give a convincing answer. If you don’t believe me dial the number of any senior philosophy professor of any university of around world.
The members of two different traditions seemingly interpret the same data in two different ways, for there can be at least two different ways of identifying, classifying, organizing, conceptualizing, and characterizing the same data. It means that our understanding is already determined by a conceptual scheme, which constitutes our prejudices and biases. An example of this is already found in your opening paragraph of the “reply”. When you make an appeal to “free-thinking” you refer, though unknowingly, to the Cartesian ideas of freeing yourself from authority, tradition and prejudices. But this is Descartes’ idea and not yours, and yet this very idea defines the nature of your project. Are you then exercising “free-thinking”? Are you not biased then? You know that the answer cannot be a No. I understand that it can be awfully shocking for you, for in all your 12 years’ education you have been assured by the text book writers and teachers that “free-thinking” is possible. But, my dear, what you have been told so far is more likely just a myth, just rhetoric.
Even your statement that “I hope it reaches the madrasas, and all other dark corners where people are held as slaves by authorities who by their titles, religious or not, rule with the aid of superstition, fear and prejudice”, is itself not free from prejudices. And these prejudices have come from one/many particular theory/theories which define what places are to be called as “dark” and what places as “enlightened”.
2. Indeed, most of the critics have to be “found where feminism meets anti-racism”. On one side there is feminism that aims at the elimination of suppression and oppression of Muslim women in certain areas at the hands of Muslim men. While there is a certain kind of psychological inclinations among the westerns that manifests themselves in various forms – from pure racist ideas to anti-Muslim and anti-immigrants behavior. The intellectuals of your society take the first aim as legitimate but they want this noble cause not be hijacked by the people who need an excuse, any excuse to vomit out whatever poison they are bearing inside them. Therefore, they have to deal the matter with delicacy. You are being criticized, not always justifiably, because like me you are so careless. When you have to criticize one strand of tendencies in Islam, you criticize the whole Islam. When you have to reject the ideas of, let us say, 10,000 Muslims, you express hate for all around two billion Muslims. I may not agree with Unni Wikan on some other issues but I am grateful to her that she makes some important distinctions. After all, she is a professor, much more educated than both of us.
4. We should be expecting such reactions as in Sweden from men for the simple reason that they are losing their absolute powers over their women’s lives, which Islam didn’t give them but they got because they reasoned and thought in an erroneous way. They have been used to these powers for centuries and things that go against the habits look so strange and frightening that you resist so harshly against them. They are just frightened but slowly they will be OK, give them some time. You used the word “liberated”. I don’t know what do you mean by that. If you mean “liberated” in the same manner as you are yourself liberated, I can have more sympathy with them. But if you mean “liberated” in a way as most of the Muslim Norwegians are – getting education, doing jobs, choosing their life partners or leaving this choice to their parents with their own will – then they are just afraid of the unfamiliar. In England I am sure you have never been. Otherwise how could you miss out the diversity so clearly perceptible in English Muslim culture? Next time when you go there with open eyes and hear, you will hopefully see extremism being marginalized by the moderate Muslims.
5. The night I watched your “lift-up” on TV and also mullah’s reaction, I was also deceived initially. I though it was just a joke, but it was more than a joke. You also have admitted this in the following line:” It was the right time and place to demonstrate the strength of a woman who owns her own freedom.” So joke-talk was a pretension. Dear Shabana, you had not come to “Smuget” to play wrestling, even if wrestling had to be played there, it should have been women’s wrestling. You were expected to have a dialogue and that was the most reasonable way to show your strength. To be frank, on purely biological basis women cannot demand equality with men. Besides, just imagine, you are walking down a street and a man, betraying all your expectations, lifts you up from behind, how would you react? Perhaps it might be all right for you, but not for billions of women around the world. You need to understand this.
6. No, Dear, you do not live in both cultures (Pakistani and Norwegian). Only a couple of weeks ago around 500 feminists gathered in ILO building in Islamabad, to remember their late comrade Shehla Zia. I was there to hear them criticizing mulla, Pakistani male tendency for manipulation, honor killing, hadood ordinance, and much more. Among them were female university professors, lawyers, parliament members, judges, journalists, and even advisor to Prime Minister. What they said made sense to me, even though I went there with critical mind so that I could discern western influence in their arguments. But they employed premises from my culture, from my language, together with premises from the western tradition. They were inconsistent at many points but they managed to overpower me by the force of their emotions as well as arguments. They were understandable but you are never. In order to understand you I have to switch over to the western tradition. From within my culture I can see your lips moving but I can’t hear you. You can wear Pakistani clothes well and you move my heart then, but it doesn’t make you Pakistani exactly as wearing a jeans and a T-shirt right now has not made me a Norwegian. Yesterday, I met a western woman in an old books store, in Jinnah Super Islamabad. She was wearing very fashionable Pakistani cotton shalwar kameez together with a duppetta and looked great. But when we spoke she was no way a Pakistani. I don’t say that she couldn’t be ever, but she has to learn.
7. By your definition Pakistan shouldn’t not be a free society, however, multiethnicity exists down here, though admittedly not always without small problems. Three Christian families live in my neighborhood and we live together in harmony. Only two days ago my brother’s Christian friend visited him and we ate our meal together right in this house, and did gup shup for a couple of hours. In Pakistan we have Christian parliament members and even ministers. We have dozens of Christian schools and colleges. We have temples, mosques and churches, existing side by side, where people go and worship God in their own ways. Among our national heroes are two members of our National cricket team, Danish Kenenria and Yousof (Josef) Yohna. The former is a Hindu and the latter a Christian. And yet our country is not a free country? We have freedom of our kind, though we want more in our own way, but the kind of freedom you have in your mind is not acceptable neither suitable for us.
8. So you got problem with the leftist-populist arrogance. May be you are right in complaining, but just think about it how is what you do to Muslims and Pakistanis different from what these people are doing to you. The only thing you are good at is the use of Norwegian language skillfully, and you whip every one with these skills. Shabana, you don’t know that you have borrowed your style from them, so why complain now when it turns on you. By the way, the leftist intellectuals have been very very merciful to you. I can imagine what they could do to you, if they really wanted. Don’t forget that without their support in various ways, you couldn’t be what you are now, a famous and well-off lady. They just remind you in between that you have certain bounds. They also remind you that they are the ones who created you. Just don’t forget this and everything will be OK.
kim sook-im | 2005-06-03 07:17 | Link
hereis a link to something that will make you eschew the idea of fanatical dress-code.
.....you know don't you that the majority/average pakistani males entertain similar ideology - courtesy of confluence of sexism, tribal culture, and Isssslam.
....and furthermore if this Ysssshlam is so edifying , one has to ask the question why centuries have passed and still the religion did not uplift the populace, but instead further increase misogyny and slavery ( as in the case of Niger)
Sister Ayesha Nyanyaponika Kim
kim sook-im | 2005-06-03 14:09 | Link
سالام و كيف خالك
Now you are showing your true color LOL....I quote:
"..........As a Pakistani my reply is determined by my prejudices and biases that are mainly rooted in my culture and religion. I make no claim to neutrality or freethinking. ..."
Well nadeem, just because it is tradition does not make it right, just because it is a culture does not make it beautiful, ....just because a few million brain-washed folks call it a religion does not make it divine!......thus says the Buddha ! Congratulations you still have a long ways to go ....try absorbing the best from every culture, tradition, and religions in that way you will be edified !.......misogyny , religious bigotry and superstition inherent in a tradition/religion leads to perdition.
Sister Ayesha Nyanyaponika Kim
Namo Thasa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sam-Buddhasa
Nadeem Ahmad | 2005-06-04 08:36 | Link
Ref: kim sook-im | 2005-06-03 07:17
That’s how I am, a traditionalist, but of progressive sort. I accept the authority of tradition but it doesn’t prevent me from challenging what is already suggested by it, but when I challenge I make an appeal to the rational standards of my tradition. It is also possible that I may be able to show some inconsistencies within what is prevalent, and this will lead to something new in my tradition. This is progress, isn’t it? And this is not conservativism. For example, I have an opinion that Islam doesn’t permit the production, possession or use of nuclear weapon. But in order to justify this opinion I make an appeal to the rational standards of Islam, Quran and Hadith. This opinion is different from that of millions of Pakistanis who are so much proud of Pakistani nuclear weapons.
Where are prejudices and biases here? They are always our starting point – that is, they are what I have learned while being educated in one tradition. But when I move further, question my prevalent prejudices and beliefs I move to the next level. But even at that level I will have certain other beliefs. In short, at each level my view of the world will be determined by some prejudices. At each level I will be within my tradition, developing it further.
In this process, I take what is best from other traditions. But, in doing so I preserve the essence of my own tradition. Whatever I take from other traditions is incorporated into my tradition in such a way that it conforms to my tradition. Islam has enriched itself with whatever tradition it came across, including Buddhism, Greek philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, Judaism, Christianity and even modern thought, for truth is found in varying degrees in every tradition. Islam is not a static religion. A continuous intellectual development takes place all the time. It is in decline but its decline is more of geographical and economic nature. It can address the most important social issues at higher intellectual level and give answer. Much is being done regarding raising the social status of Muslim women in the light of injunctions of Islam. Dr Syyed Nasr, the most prominent philosopher in Islamic world today, has produced works on environmental crisis. He has articulated theory that aims at defending all classical traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism. (See his Knowledge and Sacred).
I am not a formal representative of Muslims but what I wrote here is based on my personal experience of being a member of Muslim community, but as a bit attentive member. Majority of the Muslims are moderates, mainly concentrating on bread and milk for their children, worshipping their God with varying degrees of perfection, and still being a Muslim. Diversity is a reality though Islam still defines their lives. As far as Islamists are concerned, they represent a political reaction to imperialism, old and new. New is perceived as coming from USA. Even these people do not represent the majority which is traditionalist – perhaps not as progressive as me but certainly they accommodate themselves to the new social realities. This majority moves only when things go to extremes. Iranian Islamic Revolution was just such reaction, which was a protest to the extremely liberalization of Iranian society. Iranians wished then to return to the normal state of affairs, a moderate one. But what they got was an over-exaggerated conservativism of the theocracy. As a protest to it Iranians are now ready for another attempt to find a medium between two extremes. Unfortunately, the moderates in a Muslim society don’t get your attention. You look out either liberals who you (the western man, perhaps you are not as you refer all the time to Buddhism) can use for the promotion of your own agenda, or islamists who can be your enemies, ignoring what constitute the majority and thus missing any real opportunity of a productive communication with Muslim community.
One of the major strategy for attacking Islam is based on what one calls in logic as Straw-Man-Fallacy. For example, by using the violent activities of the far-left (anarchists) during 60’s and 70s, you give an impression that the leftist politics promotes violence, which is not right. Anarchists are just a small group in the left and by defeating them you cannot claim for having defeated the whole left. This sort of argumentation is fallacious and is employed by Shabana Rehman and many her likes. From a reference to the brutality and violence of al-Qaida they move to “you see, Islam encourages violence”. Logically such argumentation is invalid. So, by studying some islamist doctrines try not to make judgements about the majority of the Muslim population.
The main reason for the conflict between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, which occasionally turns into a blood bath, is the small numbers of extremists on both sides. Much of the blame has to be given to Hindu Rahtria Sevik Singh and even Bhartia Janta Party. Urdu is not merely a variant of Hindi. The word “urdu” means army. Urdu language was developed around 850 years ago as the language of Muslim army that conquered India. In fact, a common language was required because the soldiers spoke different languages- from Arabic and Persian to Turkish and central Asian languages. In many ways Hindi is a variant of Urdu.
I have heard this talk of what Hindus call Akhand Bharat. It is one of those dreams that have perverted the world politics. It is like the dream of Hitler who wanted one strong, united Europe. It is the dream of Israelis who want Great Israel, including Jordan and Egypt and even parts of Africa. It is just a longing for the great past. I didn’t read this article but I know that the writer would try to convince us that the solution of all the problems is One Great Bharat. Sorry it is too late. Pakistanis have no intention to join the Great Bharat.
kim sook-im | 2005-06-04 16:55 | Link
What has this to do with Islam and Islamic code of dress? You can judge one woman as immodest for wearing sleeveless shirt but you are not encouraged to kidnap and rape her
If a person rapes someone because of her dress then thousands would have been raped every single day in Pakistan.
,,,for you to write and pretend as if there is all this pretty diversity and liberality in pakistani society regarding womens rights etc, as if it is a haven for woman's rights galore is ingenous at the least and hypocriticall at the most.)
For example, I have an opinion that Islam doesn’t permit the production, possession or use of nuclear weapon
sister Ayesha Nyanyaponika Kim
p.s. but all may not yet be lost...in india many muslims worship at hindu shrines and likewise hindus flock to sufi shrines---->
interestingly many muslims and hindus rever the sufi Fakir Sai Baba of Shirdi who had many devotees among muslims, hindus, parsees, christians, buddhists, jains , etc.
--->An article on the remarkably simple spiritual principles of ...
kim sook-im | 2005-06-04 17:04 | Link
p.s. i was in india recently, was in bangalore did not get to puttaparthy or shirddi to see the shrine of Sri Sai Baba of Shirddi. Although i was able to attend a celebration in the US honoring Sri Sri Karunamayi - incarnation of sri sri Mahadeva Saraswati. Many indian muslim friends were there too LOL.
Sister Aishah Nianiaponika Kim
kim sook-im | 2005-06-04 17:16 | Link
p.s. a couple of yrs ago , i was in india at bangalore, but did not get to puttaparthi or shirddi to see saibaba of shirdi's tomb. Back at the US i attended a celebration for Sri Karunamayi - incarnation of Sri Mahadeva Saraswati...many indian muslim friends went with me also :)
Nadeem Ahmad | 2005-06-04 22:00 | Link
Ref: kim sook-im | 2005-06-04 16:55 |
Of course, you will find not only a rapist but also a lawyer saying that the victim was responsible for incitement. Go to some Norwegian lawyer’s firm and ask if any Norwegian lawyer has ever argued in the likewise manner. The answer will be in affirmation, I am sure. I didn’t deny that thousands of rapes take place in Pakistan every year but not because the victims were sleeveless. I have never heard a rapist justifying his crime this way. But we say that these occur because these people don’t properly observe Islamic moral norms. Otherwise, how a Muslim can rape anyone when he knows very well that a rape is forbidden and punishable act. If a person is really obsessed with Islam he can never rape someone. You are also right in referring to the way some Muslim scholars have dehumanized women by using the phrases quite similar to yours. But even a move from this to a rape would be illegitimate in Islamic practical reasoning. Sister Kim, you have to do more to establish your desired link.
I live in Pakistan so I don’t need any evidence. You are also right in saying that many rapes are not reported. To add to this, the policemen in fact have raped some victims again who went to the police station for reporting a rape. Quite recently a college girl named Shahnaz was abducted by a couple of guys and raped repeatedly for a week or so. After her release she went to the police station with her medical report, she was the one who was arrested and then raped by two policemen. Though the culprits have been arrested but this was a case that came in the light because of media intervention and how many others take place, we do not really know. None of this I have denied. All I am saying that Islam condemns rather than encourage such evil acts. Our parliament and government are working on this. More laws are being proposed and police reforms are being introduced.
I talked about the general diversity so visible in our society, but I made no mention of LIBERALITY of my society regarding women’s rights. Theoretically, women have right to vote since 1947, right to get education, right for driving cars, right for doing business or job and so on. But practically, those who get all these rights are more in big cities. But as education spreads, and female education is government’s first priority in these days, things will change radically. Optimism prevails because in our present parliament around 37 percent representatives are women, who take keen interest in feminine issues. In a recent bill, all the national and provincial departments and organizations are made bound to send annual report to the Ministry for Women’s Development about the new employments so that the ministry could make sure that women are properly being represented in every field of life. So Pakistan may not be heaven for women now but we hope that it will be one day, Inshallah.
Give Imams confidence to say in Swedish what they say in Arabic. Create for them such friendly social environment where they find themselves no more in Dar ul Hareb (House of War). Besides, is it not wise of them to say those Islamic things in Swedish that you like and those in Arabic that you dislike? Is it not a reconciliatory attitude? Difference of opinion can be expressed in a society where tolerance is the dominant value. If it was the case in Sweden Imams would have to discover the Swedish-Arabic dichotomy.
Again MEMING Akhand Bharat philosophy. Don’t give me that crap, please. Why can’t you accept the difference and diversity? Why do you want one universal religions, perhaps Buddhism, for every human being? On my belief, Buddha was also a prophet but Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is the last prophet. By rule, the, the essence of Buddhism should already be contained within the doctrine of Islam, and it is so. This is why one of the meanings of the word “Islam” is peace.
I like to say things the way reason and logic shows me. Reason says that Islam doesn’t permit nuclear weapon. To say this doesn’t mean that I am presenting some pacifist face of Islam. Pacifism is naivety. You cannot be expect be being pacifist when a person is raping a woman right in front of me, can you? But in every struggle against the injustice Muslims are asked to make a distinction between wrongdoers and the innocent. Nuclear weapon when used minimizes the possibility of such a distinction and therefore should not be produces, possessed or used. Now, I must admit that the great majority of the Muslims, including Pakistanis, may not agree with me. But I am sure that there will be some who have the same opinion and this opinion is going to win one day over its misrepresented alternatives, Inshallah.
This Siri Sai baba must be preaching some version of pantheism – Everything is God and God is everything kind of philosophy. We read in our childhood many various versions of pantheism and Islamic response to it. We believe in monotheism, Islamic principle of tawheed. We say everything is the sign of God. Anyway, I shall see this article as soon as I get finish with this crape - my proposal for a thesis.
Raheel, London | 2005-08-16 04:36 | Link
just saw the article on Shabana Rehman. It evident from the facts that this poor girl from a very weak family and cultural background is craving for attention. I pity the poor girl and her exploitation by the media.
kim sook-im | 2006-01-13 15:04 | Link
...this poor girl from a weak family and cultural background ( Raheel,London)
Oh great! So just because Shabana has taken up acting and wants to become a comic and is using her ethnicity and religion as punchlines that makes her a poor girl from a WEAK FAMILY and CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
Girl do you see the stupidity of your statement. Shabana is an adult - in norway, an open society - she can pick any topic for her comic act that she sees fit and you should not try to link her comic act to her family or her culture. Exactly what do you mean by weak family and weak culture...is it one which does not overly control her or threaten her with death if she does not conform to the dictates of the mullahs of her society.
Could it be that you are the one that is closed minded and weak and comes from a retrograde feudal theocratic culture? LOL ;)
Sister Ayesha Kim
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