"Muslim Women Raise Voices Worldwide" by Raheel Raza

March 29, 2006

Source: Muslim Wake Up!


On March 29, 2006 Muslim Wake Up! ran an opinion piece by Raheel Raza, author of 'Their Jihad..Not my Jihad' and Interfaith director for The Muslim Canadian Congress, on growing Muslim women's leadership. Raza writes, "During the height of the Danish cartoon controversy, Canadian media interviewed male Muslim leaders exclusively, without bothering to seek out leaders among Muslim women. It’s a given that Muslim leaders are men, preferably with beards. Haideh Moghissi, Professor of Sociology, York University, says that rigid, unforgiving and sexist voices are considered voice of authentic Muslims by Western media. When a Muslim woman speaks out or assumes a leadership role, she’s called militant. Yet the struggle for sexual equality and leadership among Muslim women is gaining strength around the world. Harvard University recently held a seminar titled 'Emerging Forms of Muslim Women’s Leadership.' Among the panellists was Sarah Eltantawi, a young Muslim doctoral candidate at the university and a media commentator on American-Muslim Affairs and Middle East policy who writes on counterterrorism for Upfront and New York Times. She spoke about the importance of a dialogue of civilizations as someone who has been part of U.S.-Islam dialogue in Qatar. The dialogue continued at The Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University in New York where a diverse panel of Muslim women to spoke about leadership. Among them were Aisha al-Adawiya, an African American Muslim who founded the advocacy organization Women in Islam Inc., and Shqipe Malushi, a Sufi poet and writer from Kosovo and Nureen Qureshi, a young TV anchor and head hunter for IT from Mississauga. These women are movers and shakers working at the grassroots level, creating dialogue and safe spaces for other Muslim women. They believe that if men won't allow Muslim women their rights, then Islam will; all they have to do is reclaim what was originally given to them by the Prophet Muhammad."