The King Khalid Foundation created this ad as part of their No More Abuse campaign. Their objective is to “achieve justice for all women and children exposed to abuse.” The picture reads “SOME THINGS CAN’T BE COVERED: FIGHTING WOMEN’S ABUSE TOGETHER.”
As this picture continues to be circulated on various social media sites, it is necessary to recognize that Saudi Arabia has a very long way to go when it comes to gender equality. I’m not one to use the word “backward” in describing a country’s cultural or religious practices. After all, I believe every nation is entitled to free religious and cultural expression; however, this entitlement should never impede a citizen’s right to choose whether or not she or he would like to participate in these religious or cultural practices. When it comes to Saudi Arabia no word describes this country better than “backward,” and this is especially apparent in its treatment of women.
Saudi women are still prohibited from driving. Recently however, they were provided bicycle and motorbike “rights.” Of course, these new “rights” came with clear restrictions, including only being able to ride a bike in restricted areas like parks with the accompaniment of a male relative, and dressed in a head-to-toe abaya:
I am sure that you are familiar with all the anti-Semitic myths and libels that have been going around for centuries, and the excuses that anti-Semites make for themselves.
“The Talmud says that Jews are commanded to hate Goyim!”
“Circumcision is cruelty to little babies!”
“Jews make you pay a Kosher Tax on food!”
“Jewish ritual slaughter is cruelty to animals!”
“Mikvah is degrading to women!”
“A Jew was convicted of child molesting, so all Jews must be child molesters!”
“I don’t hate all Jews but those Ultra-Orthodox sure are scary!”
“We must ban those rabbinical courts that judge according to Halachah!”
You have heard them all.
You are probably also aware that some of the people who believe in these myths are active in movements to ban brit milah [circumcision] and shechitah [kosher slaughter], to prevent Jews from constructing eruvin [Sabbath boundaries] and have joined with neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. If they are not marginalized in society, they can do a lot of damage to our community.
Would you invite such a person into your shul, to address your congregation? Or would you say they can enjoy their right to free speech, somewhere far away from you?
Yet you invited Pamela Geller to speak at your shul, after she was turned away from another synagogue who realized that her message is identical to the myths and libels that I have listed above, yet substituting “Koran” for “Talmud,” “Halal” for “kosher” and “Sharia” for “Halachah.” Her accusations against Muslims are just as false and offensive as the same accusations that are made against us. She may have a right to free speech according to the law of the land, but that does not mean a right to any venue.
I am deeply disappointed as an Orthodox Jew, that you have offered a platform to someone who spreads hate speech and is affiliated with neo-Nazis.
We should not stand for the same hatred and intolerance towards others that we have endured for so many long centuries.
The Vicious Babushka
By Dara Kam
Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers are poised to pass a controversial law banning courts from using foreign law, after a split Senate committee signed off on the measure.
The bill (SB 58) would ban courts or other administrative authorities form using religious or foreign law in deciding matters related to family law, including divorce and child custody. The House approved a similar measure last year but it died on the Senate floor.
The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee approved the bill by a 5-4 vote, with one Republican voting against it and one Democrat voting in favor, surprising opponents of the bill, who expected it to fail.
Critics, including the Florida Bar, the Anti-Defamation League, the ACLU of Florida and the National Council of Jewish Women, contend the bill would have a negative impact on Jewish divorces, called “gets,” and could trouble the state’s relationship with Israel. Under Jewish law, only a man can grant a divorce to a woman.
That violates Florida and federal constitutional protections, David Barkey, religious freedom counsel for the Florida Anti-Defamation League told the panel. And it would bar courts from recognizing any divorce settlements granted under Israeli or Jewish law, he said.
“This legislation … could undermine Florida’s strong reputation and track record as a center for trade with Israel and other nations” and “serve as an incentive for them to take their business elsewhere,” Barkey said.
And the bill could have a chilling effect on Israeli nationals and dual citizens already living in Florida, NCJW Vice President of Advocacy Linda Geller Schwartz, who lives in Boca Raton, said.
“The message being given to the Jewish population and other minorities is a very unwelcoming one,” she said.
Fuck you, Pam.
FREEDOM VICTORY: Anti-Sharia Legislation passed the Florida Senate Committee: SB58 by Senator Alan Hays, Ameri… bit.ly/12Ba9qE
— Pamela Geller (@pamelageller) April 9, 2013
FEMEN, the “sextremist” feminist group known for staging topless protests, declared yesterday “International Topless Jihad Day” in solidarity with Amina Tyler, a 19 year old Tunisian activist who had received death threats after posting topless pictures of herself to Femen’s Tunisian Facebook page. She had written “Fuck your morals” and “My body belongs to me is not the source of anyone’s honor” in Arabic on her chest, causing religious officials to call for her to be punished by 80 to 100 lashes or even, horrifyingly, by being stoned to death. Following reports that Amina had been admitted to a mental hospital, FEMEN called upon its supporters to protest the “lethal hatred of Islamists – inhuman beasts for whom killing a woman is more natural than recognising her right to do as she pleases with her own body” at Tunisian embassies around the world. Protests occurred in Sweden, Italy, Ukraine, France, and Belgium.
While it is unquestionably necessary, brave, and noble to stand with Amina (who is reportedly not free to move or speak safely), the protests were distressingly and distractingly Islamophobic. A photo from one of shows a white woman with crescent moons covering her nipples, wearing a fake beard, a unibrow penciled in with eyeliner, and a bath towel on her head. Another photo, highlighted on FEMEN’s Facebook page is of a topless woman protesting at a mosque in San Francisco (because, when you’re fighting the good fight of “TITS AGAINST ISLAMISM,” standing topless in front of any mosque anywhere will do) with the following caption:
TODAY IS AMINA TOPLESS JIHAD DAY. I was at the Islamic Mosque in San Francisco. Some Arab guy tried to grab my sign and pushed me in a violent way. My friend stopped him. MY BODY IS MY TEMPLE.
Further down is a cartoon of a woman crawling out from under her burqa to light on fire the beard of a caricature of a Muslim man (or should I say “some Arab guy”?). In the comments, a woman posted a link to an Al Jazeera article about Muslim women counter-protesting the protest, as they rightfully feel that it was condescending and imperialistic in both tone and intent. FEMEN fans responded to her link in the following ways:
“Stupid muslim women. Made brainless by Quran.”
You know that there’s something wrong with your protest when its ardent supporters find it appropriate to repeatedly call the women they are “saving” stupid and to affirm that they have no capacity for making decisions of their own.
It’s a sad reality that we can expect most Muslims to continue focusing on cartoons and YouTube videos whilst Islam’s cultural heritage is systemically wiped out
To put it mildly, many Muslims can be highly sensitive when it comes to matter of faith. Perceived attempts to attack, mock, insult or denigrate symbols of Islam are not viewed in favourable terms and can even be met with lethal force.
It is, therefore, quite shocking to observe stunned silence in the face of the systematic obliteration of Islam’s cultural heritage in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina by the Saudi regime.
A report by Jerome Taylor, that appeared in the Independent last Friday, stated:
The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone. Dozens of key historical sites dating back to the birth of Islam have already been lost and there is a scramble among archaeologists and academics to try and encourage the authorities to preserve what little remains.
The holy cities of Mecca and Medina are increasingly beginning to resemble Chicago and Las Vegas rather than quaint Arab towns in which one can envisage what life was like in the times of the Prophet of Islam. Cultural heritage sites are being bulldozed in order to make way for glitzy shopping centres, 5 star hotels, trendy apartment blocks and bland sky scrapers. In fact, when I was last in Medina, the place was starting to resemble Milton Keynes
The Saudi regime benefits enormously from the millions of Muslim pilgrims that descend upon the holy cities each year. Visitor numbers are increasing year on year and expected to rise to 20 million a year in 2020. From a business point of view this is a dream come true. Increasingly wealthy visitors from neighbouring Gulf States have the potential to transform the holy cities into a gold mine, but that is only half the good news.
It’s always good to see people doing it right, stretching out their hands to help each other instead of trying to smack each other down.
The BBC has an excellent short video that shows how beautiful the synagogue is and provides some comments from the people working together to save it (unfortunately, they don’t provide a way to embed their videos, so I’ll just link to it): Bradford’s last synagogue gets financial lifeline
From the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency):
(JTA) — A Muslim organization in northern England announced it would raise funds and lobby for the preservation of the last remaining synagogue in Bradford.
“…it was a challenge which didn’t take us long to decide on.” —Zulfi KarimThe Bradford Council for Mosques recently began working together with the local municipality to raise funds for the Bradford synagogue to ensure the building remains a sacred space for future generations, the Telegraph reported. The building was founded in 1880 and uses Moorish Victorian architecture.
“When the chair of the Bradford synagogue approached the Muslim community for help and assistance towards the maintenance of this building, it was a challenge which didn’t take us long to decide on,” said Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council for Mosques. […]
From Bradford’s local paper, Telegraph and Argus:
Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council for Mosques said: “In Bradford we are working hard to bring people of different faiths together, and to support one another as good neighbours.
“We are delighted by the way people have rallied to save the Bradford Synagogue, which is not only a work of art in itself, but represents so much in the way of Bradford’s heritage, faith and culture.” […]
Chair of the Bradford Synagogue, Rudi Leavor, said: “The contribution of immigrants to this region has been outstanding, and the current wave has followed in that tradition of mutual help, communal involvement and harmony. […]
- An article from 2009 describing the plight of the Bradford Reform Synagogue
MPs are told of synagogue plight
- Additional information about the history of the synagogue, from their website
About the Synagogue
- An very interesting piece on the history of Judaism in Bradford by the BBC
The Jewish connection!
The Muslim population in England and Wales has increased by 80 percent since 2001 according to a British government census. With 2.7 million known adherents — 40 percent living in and around London — Islam has emerged as Britain’s second-largest religion after Christianity. Immigration accounts for most of the increase but conversions are on the rise making Islam the UK’s fastest-growing faith. Data from mosques indicates there may be more than 100,000 converts in Britain of various ethnicities. There were 5,000 conversions in 2012 of which three quarters were young females. What’s fueling this trend?
“Make me a Muslim,” a documentary that recently aired on BBC World, begins with “growing numbers of white British women are converting to Islam and asks but why would they want to give up all the freedoms their Western life allows?” It seeks to discover the challenges they face following the precepts of their new faith within a society known for its liberal, freewheeling lifestyle.
Islamic clothing is getting a bit more hip in Southern California.
Home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the nation, the Southland has become fertile ground for a new generation of designers crafting clothes for women who are limited by faith and conviction from flashing too much skin.
Although Muslim women have been dressing fashionably for years, many in the U.S. say they still face tricky challenges when getting dressed — and especially dressed up.
“We are Muslim and we can still express ourselves, be fashionable, as long as we do it in a halal way” or in keeping with Islamic law, said LaTanya Maassarani, 30, a postal carrier from Long Beach. “But unless you have lots of money or lots of time to shop, it’s been hard for years to find clothes in America that aren’t dowdy.”
Filling that void now are designers such as Afra Said-Ahmed and her sister Eiman Ahmed, both Muslims, who launched Irvine clothing company Mohajababes. The name is a mash up of the words “babe” and “Muhajiba,” or one who wears a hijab scarf.
“Trying to conform to Muslim dress codes, you get stuck in a rut of black, black, black all the time,” said Ahmed, 26. “It’s definitely very difficult, especially in the U.S. You want to fit in, but still be appropriately dressed.”
So she and her sister scraped together $2,000 and began selling caftans and rhinestone accessories for head scarves at the end of 2011. The line is modest — caftans sweep the floor and hang loosely on the body. Yet the jewel-colored clothing comes with feminine frills such as silky fabrics and metallic embroidery.
Said-Ahmed said their goal was to dress fashion-conscious shoppers who are faithful to Islamic mandates but want nothing to do with traditional black coverings such as abayas and burkas, which are too hot for the California sun.
“There is a huge market here for Muslims who can’t access clothing like this,” she said. “People were saying, ‘Oh my God, that’s amazing. I have been looking everywhere for this.’”
Local designers in Irvine, Long Beach, San Diego, Newport Beach and Los Angeles are opening stores, showing off wares at conventions and sending models down runways in the Southland.
Is Pamela seething and shrieking about this yet?
There is a cute little boutique in Dearborn that I used to drive past last year, called “Hija Bee.” It’s not on my way any more, but I thought about going in there and buying something when Terry Jones and his gang of fascists were in town.
The subcontinent of South Asia has inexorably been developing into a cauldron of violence ever since the origins of Islam in Arabia and its steady expansion to the east. Here it clashed with Hinduism a religion that was an antithesis of Islam and over the centuries this unhappy mix has been smoldering and has now reached a point where there is likely to be a furious conflagration. During the course of the history of this subcontinent there have been many watersheds, ever since the advent of Islam into this region. The first serious clashes took place in the hot plains of North India when the Muslim armies clashed with the Hindu Rajput rulers. After some fierce battles, the Hindu peoples settled under the kings of the Muslim Sultanates of the earlier dynasties of the Slave kings, until the Mughals stabilized a Caliphate in North India. The Mughals after Aurangzeb declined and the dynasty petered out.
When the British East India Company was ruling the country, there was a second watershed between Hindu and Muslim cultures. This was the Sepoy Mutiny, when the rigid Wahabi philosophy was brought to India by Muslims who went for the annual Haj pilgrimage. While Hindu and Muslim sepoys were involved in the Mutiny against the British, the Sikhs and the Gurkhas did not side with the mutineers. The revolt was crushed and the British Government then took over the reins of the Government. The medium of administration was Urdu during the reign of the Mughals. After the British Government took over the reins of government after the Sepoy Mutiny, they changed the medium of administration to English. This had a major impact on the domination of the Muslims in administration. It was the Hindus who took to English education and who also took advantage of the hundreds of Catholic Convents and Protestant Mission schools that were set up by the Proselytising Christian missionaries both Protestant and Catholic. In a couple of years, the Muslim community had declined in Government.
The third flashpoint in this story took place when the British had to divide India between a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan.
I wonder what it says if you play it backwards.
Some concerned parents have contacted the Mattel toy company with allegations that one of its dolls utters words which promote Islam. The Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo dolls are manufactured by Fisher-Price, which is part of the Mattel toy empire. However, a number of parents contacted the company when they heard the doll say these words: “Islam is the light.” While the doll appears to utter “Islam is the light,” the company denies that is actually what it is programmed to say. Mattel insists that Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo features realistic baby sounds, including cooing, giggling, and baby babble, with no real sentence structure. The toy company claims the only scripted word the doll says is “mama.”
Mattel also contends that because the original sound track is compressed into a file that can be played through an inexpensive toy speaker, actual sounds may be imprecise or distorted. Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, is skeptical about Mattel’s explanation. “It does seem to be saying, ‘Islam is the light.’ I don’t think too many people would argue with that, so I think they’re being a little disingenuous,” Markell points out. “And this is not a healthy thing to be putting out in the marketplace when we’re in a war on terror, and little children are so susceptible to the messages they hear — even from a doll — then to take them into the school and talk about them. So yeah, this is a serious thing.” Mattel admits the doll makes a sound that may resemble the words “night,” right,” or “light.” To avoid any potential misinterpretation, they have eliminated that segment of the sound file from future production.