December 19, 2007

Ayan Hirsi Ali - A Controversial Voice for the Women of Islam?

Women of Islam, you have nothing to lose but your silence, and a world to enlighten!

I read Ayan Hirsi Ali's write up in the New York Times a couple of days ago, and much to my chagrin, I agreed with her on many points. Here is a woman who has lost credibility with the public because of her contradictory statements regarding her past. Despite being an ex member of parliament in Netherlands, and now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, for most Ayan still remains under doubt. Having read her book The Infidel and knowing that she is now a part of a conservative think tank make us even more wary of her stances and her writings. Those of us in academia feel she lacks credence, as there is very little to document or prove what she says to be true. The ordinary man feels she is just a vocal minority making her claim to a few moments of fame, worried she may not get another chance. Those with Anti American feelings see her as a mouth piece for the USA, venting hatred against Islam. This list could be endless as there is so much flak against the controversial Ms Ali.

However, there is one thing that stands steadfast in her favor: that she is the one Muslim woman to have a view point about how she and other women in her community be treated. Credible or otherwise, she certainly speaks up when need be, even if it's under immense duress and fearful threats !

There have been the likes of Benazir Bhutto, Wafa Sultan, Laleh Sadigh, Shirin Ebadi, and Taslima, Nasreen, whose opinions get heard. But how is it that we only hear the voices of these few female celebrities out of our Islamic world. Where are the voices of the ordinary Islamic women? Mukhtaran Bibi's was perhaps one ordinary female voice we heard; a saddened and soulful Mukhtaran Bibi who apparently is not heard as often any more. There are some collective voices heard protesting out of Iran , but by and large the female world and its voices are unidentifiable and unheard! Are they even there, and if so why are they forever quiet? Are they mute, or muted? Do they want a voice or have they resigned to being spoken for?

We may not agree with, or believe what Ms Hirsi Ali says, but at least we know she has a voice that she makes heard when she pleases. But as for the rest of them, can we hear what they have to say? Will they please speak up for themselves. Why must we always hear them through our male counterparts? It's not that our women lack the ability or the expertise to articulate their thought; afterall, they come from the gene pool of Ai'shas, and Nurjahans! Why then the silence?


Abu Daoud said...

I have a great deal of respect for Ali, though she is a secular ex-Muslim, and I am a Christian.

I wanted to refer you to this sermon on Islam and Christianity. Very insightful and I think you will enjoy it.


D said...

I think we all are suffering from some kind of Islamophobia...reason being, whatever someone has to say of little or no consequence, we tend to hype that, especially the media.
I agree with III on that we yet not have heard from other less prominent or unheard of, females from the Islamic world. This doesn't comes as a surprise to me, also this situation is not peculiar to Islam.
I think, I still don't know what an aeverage american women living in the hinterlands of US of A has to say on abortion or other suc issues which directly confront them.
I'll give you an example, also on which III, once wrote...Sania Mirza..she was yet agin in news not beacuse she won a tournament but because there was an ad-shoot in some mosque. She promptly apologised to the Mullhas!
My point is it's not only the Women of Islam, the Razia Sultan's, Noorjahans, Ai'shas or Sardari Begums...who've to speak out, we need the Mayawatis, the Clintons (not of Arkansas) and precisely every one to speak so to enlighten the whole world.

P.S - Sorry for a long comment, also your blog is facing some problem, can't go beyond a post.

Deb said...

I agree with d in that there is this Islamaphobia abounding in the US. Sad, really.

Wanted to also wish you a wonderful holiday and New Year.


Eshuneutics said...

Best wishes to you. Hope you are well. Another insightful post.

txandi said...

i want to read / comment -- it has been a while.

post formatting is all wrong: cannot read comment.~t~

Saadia said...

Id, a compassionate post, but why do you think this silence is?

Like D said, I don't associate it with Islam. Women are under-represented across the world! So naturally, in developing countries (wherein much of the Islamic world falls), where illiteracy reigns, patriarchal systems ensure that boys get the first green signal for education. The rest of the blocks for my argument fall in space.

Id it is said...

The silence 'is' because it's in keeping with the path of least resistance. Much after I wrote this post another female voice out of pakistan was silenced for ever- Benazir! I wrote a poem about that 'silence' as well.

Id it is said...

Here's the poem on 'silence'

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