Posts filed under ‘Islam’

Resources for Ex-Muslims & Their Friends

Between being part of the Pagan, GLBT, disability and feminist communities, I hear a lot of stories about people leaving the faith traditions they were raised in (though I know many GLBT, disabled folks and feminists that find welcoming religious or non-religious communities- just not always the same ones they started out in!) Oftentimes the stories of people leaving Christianity predominate, to the point that we forgot that some folks come from other backgrounds- Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, secular, “red diaper baby” etc. Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims is coming up, and this is often a difficult time for people who are not “out” to their families about their non-observance. There’s also a range of potential scenarios involved depending on what country a person lives in, their family, particular sect and culture. To people from a non-Muslim background reading this- please keep in mind there is a huge range of diversity of levels of tolerance, religious freedom, and observance and practices both in predominantly Muslim countries and in countries with small or sizeable Muslim communities.

Here is a video with suggestions for how to deal with Ramadan for ex-Muslims who are not “out” to their families.

Another great video, useful for both Pagans/polytheists, liberal/moderate religious folks as well as non-theists is about Criticizing Religion Intersectionally The video is from the perspective of a ex-Muslim woman from India who now lives in Britain- she explains how to criticize the claims or ideas of a religion without attacking the people holding it, especially when they are from a minority background.

We Need More Liberals Willing to Criticize Islam, says Ex-Muslim Leader– While ex-Muslims can typically rely on both religious liberals and atheist activists to oppose the Christian Right, they often encounter racist insults and other unfair accusations from many directions when they critique Islam, policies in mostly Muslim countries and so forth.

Check out the orgs- Ex-Muslims of North America and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

One thing I’m wondering about is why these groups seem to only include non-theists, I imagine ex-Muslims who join other religions may still be looking for support and community. If any ex-Muslims who practice another religion have had good or bad results in getting in touch with these groups, please let me know. There are probably groups for Muslims that have become Christian (especially ones that try to convert Muslims) but I’m especially wondering about people who don’t fit into any of those categories. Here’s one personal account by a Muslim woman who become Unitarian Universalist-

From Islam to Unitarian Universalism

To be frank, I think a lot of ex-Christians in Western countries should examine how really oppressed and marginalized they are in their families and communities compared to the things ex-Muslims have to deal with! Yes, we do have problems, but listening to these stories really puts things into perspective!

June 19, 2015 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

More Discussion of Ethics & Sacrifice

Info about animal sacrifice/ritual slaughter in various religions:

Do Neo-Pagans practice blood sacrifice?

What is Voodoo? Understanding a Misunderstood Religion, Pt 1, Part 2 by Saumya Arya Haas

Putting the Blood Back into Blot: The Revival of Animal Sacrifice in Modern Nordic Paganism by Michael Strmiska (link to paper)

The Split Horn- Hmong Rituals

Kosher Slaughtering: An Introduction by Rabbi Gersion Appel

What is Halal? (Islamic dietary laws)

Discussion on Pagan and Polytheist Blogs– if not obvious, religions are noted in parentheses

The Wild Hunt: Perspectives: Blood Sacrifice in Modern Paganisms

(Magna Graecian Bacchic Orphism) Sannion/House of Vines: The red thread of our tradition

(Heathen/Northern Tradition shaman) Galina Krasskova: On the Nature of Sacrifice

(Hellenic) Of Thespiae: A story about the power of sacrifice

Thracian Exodus: Let us find a better way

(Druid) John Beckett: A Modern Pagan View of Sacrifice (from 2013) Sacrifice & Fear of the Real Gods (recent)

(Hellenic) Gargarean- Animal Sacrifice

Northeast Heathen: On Blood Sacrifice

Writings of a Pagan Witch: Making Sacrifices to the Gods

Church of Asphodel: Towards a Better Understanding:Animal Sacrifice & the Community

October 28, 2014 at 1:26 am 2 comments

Muslim Feminist/GLBTQ+ Blog Round-up

From my previous post, so far I’ve gotten a comment from Rose F and a like from this blog, which confuzzled me slightly- it’s a verry rambly one about the End Times or something? The second comment just “The answer to your question is Jesus!” and so I blocked his (or her?) comment as spam. Then I gave the post a different title which I felt was more reflective of my intent- the original was “Where Do We Draw the Line With Muslims?” and upon some more thought I realized that had too much of an Us vs. Them connotation. I have no problem with Muslims, I was just discussing how Muslim practices can be integrated into a pre-dominantly non-Muslim culture and how far that can go while being fair to all parties involved. Clearly they didn’t read my post! Well I’ll confuzzle them right back- with a list of Muslim feminists and GLBT/Queer activist bloggers! And some articles. I am quoting their own descriptions.

Blogs:

Muslimah Media Watch is a forum where we, as Muslim women, can critique how our images appear in the media and popular culture. Although we are of different nationalities, sects, races, etc., we have something important in common: we’re tired of seeing ourselves portrayed by the media in ways that are one-dimensional and misleading. This is a space where, from a Muslim feminist perspective, we can speak up for ourselves.”

Ace Muslim- “My name is Laura. I’m a 41 year old woman and live in the U.S. I’m asexual and celibate,queer, and a European-American convert to Islam. This blog is a place for me to share information of interest on asexuality, LGBTQ issues, queer Muslim topics, feminism, and other subjects I think are worthwhile.”

Metis’ Blog on Muslim Feminists (she is a non-Muslim scholar of Islamic feminism from what I can tell) Great blog with links to Muslim feminists’ blogs, books articles etc.

I am Not Haraam tumblr “Haraam is an Arabic word used in Islam to mean “forbidden”. This project has been started as a way for LGBTQ Muslims to stand up and proclaim that we will not allow our existence as LGBTQ Muslims to be erased any longer.”

Articles:

The Rise of the Islamic Feminists from the Nation by Elizabeth Seagran

The Challenge of Defining Muslim Feminism by Erika L. Sanchez

British Muslim don’t need the West’s version of feminism, OK? by Shelina Jonmohamed A British Muslim woman shares her concerns about Western feminist movement’s secular bias and lack of understanding for issues that working class women face.

Huffington Post– LGBT Muslim tag

Meet America’s first openly gay imam– from Al Jazeera America

Orgs/General Websites:

Islam & Feminism: “This website looks at what feminism in Islam can mean to different people and how it might challenge stereotypes both in Islam and feminism, as well as the perceived clash between the two.”

Sisters in Islam– international advocacy

Chay Magazine– A positive look at Sex/sexuality issues in Pakistan (not necessarily specifically Muslim, but it’s a predominantly Muslim country)

Imaan– LBTQI Muslim support group in Britain

Muslims for Progressive Values “Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) is the only American movement that advocates for egalitarian expressions of Islam, for women, and for LGBTQI rights. MPV does this by creating inclusive spaces for religious discourse, the arts and social activism.”

 Queer Muslim Resources Masterpost

June 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm 2 comments

Integrating Muslims

I am oddly enough, a polytheist that frequently ends up defending monotheists- Christians, Muslims and sometimes Jews. I do this mainly when others make broad unfair generalizations against groups of people. However, I don’t necessarily defend their religions, as I don’t consider it my job to do so. Judaism is a tribal religion that follows one God, and because of this Jews don’t proselytize (though they may try get non-observant Jews to become more religious) Christians and Muslims traditionally have a duty to spread the worship of their God. Islam ascribes rights to Christians and Jews to keep their religions (including if a Muslim man marries a Christian or Jewish woman but not the reverse) . Some liberal Christians and some Muslims (Sufis in particular) view all Gods as ultimately being the same being, and so  I still consider that view a little arrogant, but I’ll take it if it means they’ll leave me alone.

Anyway, as part of my Irish culture tour in St. Paul, I give a tour of the St. Paul Cathedral, then we go to O’Gara’s pub for fish and chips and sing Irish and Scottish songs. Somehow the conversation while we were eating awkwardly drifted towards several people claiming that while Christianity had been taken out of public schools, Muslim students were getting “special treatment”. I wasn’t sure how accurate all of their claims were, and I strongly suppressed a desire for a flat-out rant. I ended up saying, well separation of church and state means we need to treat different religions equally, and not giving Christianity special status doesn’t mean Christians are being oppressed. I noted that I have a lot of Muslim co-workers at my other job, I don’t care about how they dress so long as they do their job. I also noted though that while I’m fine with people holding on to their religious beliefs and traditions when they come here, our culture can only accommodate them so much. Hijabs (head coverings) are no big deal, but in American culture, people will not trust you if they cannot see your face, so we can’t really make room for covering one’s entire face in job interviews, customer service jobs etc. That said, even with the large Muslim population in the Twin Cities, I rarely see a woman in a full burqa. I suspect most women who dress that way would not work outside the home based on their beliefs. That seemed to cool people down, and we switched gears by starting in on a new Irish song.

Anyway, I have been doing some research on how and in what ways Muslims are being accommodated in schools and workplaces. I still am rather careful of what I read, because there are a lot of people who do have an “all Muslims are part of a giant terrorist conspiracy” mentality. That said there are some instances where I do think some people have been going out of their way more than I think appropriate. I found this clip from a Canadian news show (if this was an American show, there would’ve been assertions about how “this is Christian country damnit!) in response to Qatar’s dress code policies it has issued to foreign tourists, and changes within Canadian culture to include Muslims. For the most part, I agree with what Anthony Furey said, the segment with Tarek Fatah gets into some issues that I am not sure about (such as the Bergdahl prisoner swap) so I’ll leave that aside.

Poking around a bit more, I found an article about how Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis, wore a hijab while meeting with Somali-American leaders. I had to go look for a different article however, because it was misrepresenting Islam! I wasn’t sure what to think of it- I was not offended the way the conservative commentators were. It was obviously intended as a diplomatic gesture on her part, a gesture of respect. Did it come off as obsequious or weak? Or insincere and over-the-top to the Muslims? I’m not sure. Muslims do not expect us to dress like them. Wearing a head covering may be expected while inside a mosque (just as a kipa may be in a synagogue for men), but that is different- it’s a sacred space. When I’m in someone’s else’s home or sacred space, I respect their customs. She was meeting in a Somali mall, not a mosque. You can read her closing speech of her campaign here.

“I have worn hijab, and it changed me.

I have run and danced my way through the gay pride parade.”- This is just a very odd juxtaposition of statements. Now, what I’d love to see would be a group of Muslim women marching in the parade in hijab!

June 17, 2014 at 11:44 pm 4 comments


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