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Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

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Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Old 02-03-16, 05:07 PM
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Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Why doesn't Obama enforce the civil rights laws to stop discrimination against women in mosques? Isn't this kind of discrimination against women illegal?


http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womeninth...der-apartheid/

Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

By Asra Q. Nomani and Ify Okoye

This past weekend, dozens of girls and boys as young as about 8 years old ran up the stairwell to the main entrance of the musallah, or main prayer hall, of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, where President Obama visits Wednesday in his first presidential visit to a U.S. mosque. As the children rounded the corner, a stern mosque Sunday school teacher stood before them, shouting, “Girls, inside the gym! Boys in the musallah.”

The girls, shrouded in headscarves that, in some cases, draped half their bodies, slipped into a stark gymnasium and found seats on bare red carpet pieces laid out in a corner. They faced a tall industrial cement block wall, in the direction of the qibla, facing Mecca, a basketball hoop above them. Before them a long narrow window poured a small dash of sunlight into the dark gym.

On the other side of the wall, the boys clamored excitedly into the majestic musallah, their feet padded by thick, decorated carpet, the sunlight flooding into the room through spectacular windows engraved with the 99 names of Allah, or God, in Islam. Ornate Korans and Islamic books filled shelves that lined the front walls.


As President and Michelle Obama argued decades ago in the context of the U.S. civil rights movement, separate is indeed unequal. To Muslim women’s rights activists fighting for equal access to mosques as part of a broader campaign for reform — from equal education for women and girls to freedom from so-called “honor killings” — the president’s visit to a mosque that practices such blatant inequity represents a step backwards. While it may be meant to convey a message of religious inclusiveness to American Muslims, the visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of discrimination that amounts to gender apartheid. For that reason, we will be standing outside the mosque on Johnnycake Road, as close as the Secret Service allows, to protest the separate and unequal standards inside and advocate for equal rights.

We believe it is the role of government to protect women’s rights within religion, if a place of worship gets federal nonprofit benefits, just as it protects civil rights in the secular space. Places of worship in the U.S. would not be allowed tax-exempt status if, for example, they were to seat African Americans in segregated spaces. To condone the mosque’s gender segregation is particularly ironic coming days after the White House announced efforts to win equal pay for women and increased workplace benefits for women in the military.

President Obama should be aware that on any given day a woman or girl worshiping in the mosque would be dispatched away from the musallah where he will stand to speak out against “Islamophobia,” to the “prayer room for females,” as one worshipper described it. In much the same way that he wants to mitigate Americans seeing Muslims as the “other,” we have to challenge the Muslim systems that segregate women as the “other.”
He should know that promoting women’s rights in mosques is a key part of fighting the ideology of extremism — a fight that he asked American Muslims to help wage in an address to the nation in December. A theology of Islamic feminism is our best answer to the extremism of ISIS, al-Qaeda and other Muslim militant groups. Even the most conservative of Islamic scholars acknowledge that, in the 7th century, the sunnah, or tradition of the prophet Muhammad, was to allow women to pray in the main hall of his mosque in Medina without any barrier in front of them.

“While the free world awaits a Muslim reformation, the leader of the free world shows blatant disregard for gender equality by visiting a mosque that treats females like second-class citizens,” says Raheel Raza, a Pakistani-Canadian activist, author and cofounder of the Muslim Reform Movement, a new initiative that we support, advocating for peace, women’s rights and secular governance. “This makes our work as activists extremely difficult because equality is one of the main tenets of our reform movement.”

The president has an opportunity to shine light in a place once associated with the darkest extremes of Islam. His motorcade will re-trace the path of al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki: FBI surveillance notes document that al-Awlaki, then a local imam, drove down Johnnycake Road to enter the Islamic Society of Baltimore at 5:56 p.m. on the evening of November 11, 2001. (A copy of the notes was released under the Freedom of Information Act).

Today, in an estimated two-thirds of mosques around the United States, women and girls are segregated in dark basements, sparse balconies, separate rooms and even behind shower curtains in the “sisters’ section,” listening to Friday sermons piped in through shaky sound systems and watching them, if we are lucky, via TV screens. It’s too often only on “interfaith” occasions like the president’s visit that women and girls get to step forward into the “brothers’ section.”

Muslim Americans, like us, are not alone in pushing back against such discrimination. A movement of women and men within orthodox Judaism, Open Orthodoxy, is seeking to create greater equality in prayer space, religious leadership and educational roles. Synagogues, such as the National Synagogue in Washington, D.C., are begining to hire female religious leaders. (Reform movements within Catholicism, like the Women’s Ordination Conference, also question discriminatory practices).

Fourteen years ago, in the fall of 2003, Asra started challenging the rules at her hometown mosque in Morgantown, W.V., writing an opinion piece, “Going Where I Know I Belong.” Over the years, many women — and men — have come forward to challenge the inequities, arguing that they are not “Islamic,” but rather vestiges of cultural sexism. In Canada, film director Zarqa Nawaz produced a 2005 film, Me and the Mosque, exposing the injustices.

In early 2010, Fatima Thompson, then a member of the Islamic Society of Baltimore, dared to pray in the “men’s section” there, ignoring a man who tried to shoo her away. “I was never welcomed in that community,” she says.

That year, she started a movement that we, with other local women and men, joined to end gender segregation in mosques. We staged protests in the main prayer areas of mosques behind the men. Taking a page from the civil rights movement’s sit-in protests, we called ourselves “Pray In Protest.”

We dared to pray in the main halls of the Islamic Center of Washington, a flagship mosque on Massachusetts Avenue in D.C. largely run by the government of Saudi Arabia, and Dar-al Hijra, a mosque in Falls Church, Va., where al-Awlaki, the future al-Qaeda leader, preached and 9/11 hijackers prayed. Mosque officials called the police and had us evicted.

In late April 2010, Ify published photos from the Islamic Society of Baltimore, documenting the second-class conditions women endure in spaces akin to a “penalty box.” She showed women behind barriers and called her site, “A photoblog for change, in sha Allah,” or “God willing.” Later, Chicago activist Hind Makki published a blog, “Side Entrance,” with the squalid images of mosques from a woman’s perspective.

Last year, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) launched a campaign on “the inclusion of women in masjids,” or “mosques,” with other organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), but, after over a decade of our protests, these organizations have failed to protect women’s access to prayer halls. In a tour Asra has taken of mosques in the Washington, D.C., area over the last several weeks, she has found herself, like other women and girls, relegated to subpar conditions.

“Go upstairs!” a man barked at her when she went into the main hall of Madina Islamic Center, a mosque in Springfield, Va. At Springfield’s Darul Huda mosque, in the separate “sisters’ room,” packed with the school’s children, a woman arbitrarily turned the TV screen off in the middle of the imam’s prayer. At the Islamic Circle of North America mosque in Alexandria, Va., Asra couldn’t even see the imam, or prayer leader, behind the strung-up curtain. At the Islamic Center of Washington, a staffer picked up the phone to call the police when Asra and other women prayed in the main hall. The staffer reconsidered at the last minute.

ISNA and the mosques didn’t return queries seeking comment. Corey Saylor, a spokesman for CAIR, said, “CAIR continues to advocate for women to have equal access in mosques. Until that goal is achieved, the initiative is not complete,” and he said that officials at the Islamic Society of Baltimore told CAIR there is “no policy in place preventing women from having access to the main area of the mosque.”

Of course, what we have experienced is very different. Why does this activism matter? Presence means voice. This week, in India, where women are typically denied access to mosques, a brave group of women have rightly filed a petition with the Supreme Court of India to reject clear policies of “discrimination” and allow women entry into all of the country’s government-funded mosques.

At the Islamic Society of Baltimore this past Sunday, the air was filled with the scent of Sherwin-Williams paint that workers were rolling onto the walls of the run-down balcony section where women and girls are usually segregated, unable to see the imam unless they peek over the balcony’s edge. A sign outside the door to the balcony said, “STOP Please. No Shoes. No Strollers. No Diaper Change. Beyond this point.”

Asra slipped into the mosque’s main hall to join the “halaqa,” or study circle. There, the study circle leader, teaching a half dozen men gathered around him, talked about the virtues of the first Muslim community in Medina, saying that a society isn’t “civilized” just because it’s technological.

Then, a young man, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “Who Do You Love?” piped up, “So that means the West isn’t civilized.”

“That’s right,” the study circle leader said.

Another man railed against the West and its “atheists.”

Asra took a deep breath, listening to the sound of the crew white-washing the mosque for the president’s visit. “That’s a very unfair conclusion,” she said. “You are sitting in the West and railing against the West as not being civilized? It is not fair to make the assumption that the West ‘isn’t civilized.’”

The men tried to backtrack. They spoke with more nuance, before the study leader digressed again into the idea that those who aren’t Muslim act out of “self-interest,” while Muslims act out of an “order from God to do righteousness,” a point that Asra also politely refuted as motivated by “self-interest” and as an unfair representation of the many good people who aren’t Muslim.

As women and girls, we should be supported by policies that allow us to be part of such conversations. The president can support this urgent cause by speaking out against gender segregation in American mosques. In the spirit of the civil rights moment when whites stood with blacks, we hope men and women will refuse the privilege that “interfaith” events give them, and, in act of solidarity, stand outside with us on Johnnycake Road and the other pathways leading to the mosques in our world, advocating for equal rights for all.
Old 02-03-16, 05:14 PM
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*sigh* for the same reason the government can't force the Catholic church to ordain women priests. The government can't interfere in church/mosque internal religious doctrine. That's pretty fucking basic.
Old 02-03-16, 05:22 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Find article that criticizes Obama
Don't read it
Copy and paste
Run and hide
Old 02-03-16, 05:24 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

“While the free world awaits a Muslim reformation, the leader of the free world shows blatant disregard for gender equality by visiting a mosque that treats females like second-class citizens,” says Raheel Raza, a Pakistani-Canadian activist, author and cofounder of the Muslim Reform Movement, a new initiative that we support, advocating for peace, women’s rights and secular governance. “This makes our work as activists extremely difficult because equality is one of the main tenets of our reform movement.”
And this is the dilemma. The reality is that genuine Muslim reformers are a tiny minority within Islam, so Western leaders must choose between supporting the Muslim majority, or supporting genuine liberal Muslims. Obama, like almost every other Western leader, has chosen the former. And this is why sincere Muslim reformers get no support and thus have almost no chance of succeeding, exactly as this guy said.
Old 02-03-16, 05:25 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
*sigh* for the same reason the government can't force the Catholic church to ordain women priests. The government can't interfere in church/mosque internal religious doctrine. That's pretty fucking basic.
Okay. What about this point?

Places of worship in the U.S. would not be allowed tax-exempt status if, for example, they were to seat African Americans in segregated spaces.
Old 02-03-16, 05:31 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Old 02-03-16, 05:38 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
Find article that criticizes Obama
Don't read it
Copy and paste
Run and hide
Maybe there is more fun in that than getting laid
Old 02-03-16, 06:11 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Yo, check this out.



A Yiddish sign, one of more than 16 bolted onto trees in South Williamsburg (NYC), implores Jewish women to move aside when a man is walking on the sidewalk.
Old 02-03-16, 09:16 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
Why doesn't Obama enforce the civil rights laws to stop discrimination against women in mosques? Isn't this kind of discrimination against women illegal?
Why didn't George W Bush? He also visited a mosque during his presidency.
Old 02-03-16, 10:19 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by TheMadMonk View Post
Why didn't George W Bush? He also visited a mosque during his presidency.
Bush thought it was a Chuck E Cheese.
Old 02-03-16, 10:44 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
Find article that criticizes Obama
Don't read it
Copy and paste
Run and hide
You forgot:
???
Profit
Old 02-03-16, 11:15 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by TheMadMonk View Post
Why didn't George W Bush? He also visited a mosque during his presidency.
Because George W. Bush wasn't a secret Muslim born in Kenya.
Old 02-03-16, 11:22 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by dork View Post
Okay. What about this point?
I'm not sure that's true. I don't believe churches have to be open to everyone. They definitely don't have to ordain people they don't want to. And I assume that's how they can get away with refusing to perform interracial or interfaith marriages.

Got a source?
Old 02-03-16, 11:31 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
I'm not sure that's true. I don't believe churches have to be open to everyone. They definitely don't have to ordain people they don't want to. And I assume that's how they can get away with refusing to perform interracial or interfaith marriages.

Got a source?
A source for what? It was a genuine question for the lawyers. The only analogous case I could think of was the BSA decision, which wasn't exactly comparable, and the Mormon reversal on blacks, which the government did not get involved in, as far as I know.
Old 02-03-16, 11:44 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by stvn1974 View Post
Bush thought it was a Chuck E Cheese.
I always put mosqer'allah cheese on my pizza.
Old 02-04-16, 08:15 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by dork View Post
A source for what? It was a genuine question for the lawyers. The only analogous case I could think of was the BSA decision, which wasn't exactly comparable, and the Mormon reversal on blacks, which the government did not get involved in, as far as I know.
Sorry, I thought you were saying that point was settled. I'd never heard that and wondered about another source for it.
Old 02-04-16, 08:41 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

"I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president's done," Rubio said at a Wednesday campaign stop in Dover, New Hampshire. "Always pitting people against each other. Always! Look at today: He gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims."
Marco is seriously fucked up if he believes actions like this by the President are meant to "divide" the country. The only people it is cleaving are those that do not accept Muslim Americans as their fellow countrymen. Sad.
Old 02-04-16, 08:46 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Marco "Pro Cuban Embargo" Rubio said that about Obama?
Old 02-04-16, 08:46 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Even if a church lost their tax-exempt status, that is not the government interfering with church doctrine. It's only taking away the tax-exempt perk because the church ignored the requirements that allow for keeping that status. Requirements they don't enforce often enough.
Old 02-04-16, 10:01 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

This is Obama's first visit to a US mosque since becoming president. What a shitty Muslim.
Old 02-04-16, 10:13 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
This is Obama's first visit to a US mosque since becoming president. What a shitty Muslim.
<img width = 800 src = "http://i.imgur.com/t9Gr2rG.jpg"></img>

I disagree.
Old 02-04-16, 10:42 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

I would post a laughing emoticon, but it's really not that funny.


Mosque Obama Visiting Graduated Terrorist Who Targeted Federal Building

IBD has learned that the FBI had been conducting surveillance at the Islamic Society of Baltimore since at least 2010 when it collared one of its members for plotting to bomb an Army recruiting center not far from the mosque in Catonsville, Md.

Agents secretly recorded a number of conversations with a 25-year-old Muslim convert — Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain — and other Muslims who worshipped there. According to the criminal complaint, Martinez said he knew “brothers” who could supply him weapons and propane tanks.

“He indicated that if the military continued to kill their Muslim brothers and sisters, they would need to expand their operation by killing U.S. Army personnel where they live,” FBI special agent Keith Bender wrote. Martinez said that in studying the Quran he learned that Islam counsels Muslims to “fight those who fight against you.”

Sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012, Martinez also stated in a social media posting that he wanted to join the ranks of the “mujahideen” in “Pakistan or Afghanistan (a country that struggle[sic] for the sake of allah).” Most of ISB’s board members are from Pakistan.

To help disrupt the plot, the FBI reportedly put an undercover agent in the mosque, which upset the leadership there. After protests, the FBI sent an official to ISB to take questions and mollify concerns the bureau was spying on Muslims.

Members of the mosque complained that the FBI tried to “entrap” Martinez and other Muslim terrorism suspects by sending “spies with Muslim names” into the mosque.

“If I was the president of the mosque, I would not let you come here without strip(-searching) you,” one member angrily told the FBI official, “because you might drop something (like a bug) to hear what’s going on here.” “The Muslim Link” newspaper described the questioner as Pakistani.

This is the mosque that will be honored with a visit from Obama on Wednesday, the first U.S. mosque visit of his presidency.

It’s now abundantly clear the White House failed to properly vet the venue. Reportedly, it let the Council on American-Islamic Relations choose the site, even though the FBI has banned CAIR from outreach because of known ties to the Hamas terrorist group.

“For a number of years we’ve been encouraging the president to go to an American mosque,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said. “With the tremendous rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in our country, we believe that it will send a message of inclusion and mutual respect.”

As we reported Tuesday, ISB is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America — which federal prosecutors in 2007 named a radical Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front and an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in a scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers — and ISB has helped organize the terror-tied ISNA’s conferences.

The Shariah-compliant mosque was led for 15 years by a radical cleric — Imam Mohamad Adam el-Sheikh — who once represented a federally designated al-Qaida front group. El-Sheikh also has argued for the legitimacy of suicide bombings, according to the Washington Post.

[...]
http://www.investors.com/politics/ed...eral-building/
Old 02-04-16, 10:55 AM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
<img width = 800 src = "http://i.imgur.com/t9Gr2rG.jpg"></img>

I disagree.
Old 02-04-16, 02:50 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by wishbone View Post


Makes me want to play Civ 1 or 2 again.

Civ 4/5 took out a lot of the fun stuff (palace/throne room building, historical blurbs in your face, etc). Still fun but not quite the same.
Old 02-04-16, 04:54 PM
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Re: Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid

Originally Posted by TheMadMonk View Post
Why didn't George W Bush? He also visited a mosque during his presidency.
Because Bush graduated from Yale & not Harvard.

And neither went to Florida.

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