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29 Mar That kind of view is becoming common among Muslims, according to Esposito, as more people try to separate what's in the Quran from cultural traditions. “They say if we don't see anything clear in our scripture, then that trumps tradition. And people are applying that to women's issues and gay issues.”. 25 Apr Nahed Eltantawy accused the piece of representing Arab women "as the Oriental Other, weak, helpless and submissive, oppressed by Islam and the Muslim male, this ugly, barbaric monster." Samia Errazzouki fumed at "the monolithic representation of women in the region." Roqayah Chamseddine wrote. u~men, members of ah ethn/c group conW~ed of Chr/st/ans and Mus//ms. A popular stereory~ of. Arab-Amer/can hand, Arab cultural and religious customs reinforce traditional gender roles, especially those regarding women, this study examines the impact of Muslim affiliation, Arab ethnicity, and religiosity on women's.

At first, the devout Muslims who gathered in a Washington, D. There were women in headscarves and bearded men who quoted the Quran.

Catholic and Iranian Shi'i Women. Ra'uf argues that the advancement of women's causes in Arab and Muslim societies requires a reworking of Islamic thought. Some scholars [ who? The Sydney Morning Herald.

But something was different. While mingling over hors d'oeuvres, they discussed how to change Islam's future. A woman spoke about fighting terrorism; she had married outside the Islamic faith, which is forbidden for a Muslim woman.

A Pakistani man mentioned his plans to meet friends for drinks, despite the faith's ban on alcohol. In a corner of the room, an imam in a long gray tunic counseled a young Muslim with a vexing spiritual conflict: The imam, also gay and in a relationship, could easily sympathize with the youth's difficulties. On this brisk Monday night in late October, members of Muslims for Progressive Values, a nascent American reformist organization, had more info from around the country to celebrate a milestone: In four years, the group had grown from a few friends to a thousand members and spawned a string of small mosques and spiritual groups that stretched from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Today, as America's Muslim leaders debate controversial topics like political radicalism inside mosques and states' attempts to ban Shariah lawthis growing network of alternative mosques and Islamic groups is quietly forging a new spiritual movement. They're taking bold steps, reinterpreting Islamic norms and re-examining taboos.

While far from accepted by mainstream clerics, these worshippers feel that the future of the religion lies not solely with tradition but with them. Women are leading congregations in prayer, gay imams are performing Islamic marriages, and men and women are praying side by side.

This is not the norm for most of the 2. A year-old singer-songwriter who lives in Los Angeles, she leads prayers for men and women together and tells gay Muslims, often shunned in other mosques, that their religion welcomes them.

This soft-spoken Malaysian-American who sports a crop cut with blond streaks is one of a small but burgeoning cadre of Islamic reformers in the United States, both within her group and outside it. Their causes range from fighting radicalization and educating young people to building interfaith bridges and protecting women's rights. Over the years, leaders in the Muslim community have addressed changing needs, from building new mosques to defending civil rights Arab Women Va Muslim Culture And Traditions For Men unfamiliar spiritual practices resulted in discrimination.

But this new movement is a radical departure. A few denominations within Judaism and Christianity have openly welcomed gay people and women, Read more points out.

Some Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Jewish communities are led by gay and women rabbis. The United Methodist Church ordains women.

Mosques in America, however, usually are Sunni or Shiite; they differ in how they interpret Islamic law. Still other mosques combine Sunnis and Shiites here one roof.

But as far as the open participation of gay people or leadership by women imams, most mosques are much the same: Some Sufi mosques, which follow mystical traditions, welcome gay Muslims, though their numbers are sparse in the United States.

Most Muslims rarely attend mosques outside of major holidays although the Quran commands men to pray in a group every week. In a Pew survey last year of 1, American Muslims, just under one-half said they attend a mosque once a week.

The veil then became a relic of past. In an Arabic nod to tradition, the congregation recited Surat Al-Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Quran. Grand Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi urges compulsory [hijab][http: Quranic rights for women were not always followed, depending on the strength of local patriarchal customs. Center for Near Eastern Studies:

Many said they worship on their own or seldom. A majority of Muslims surveyed think the religion is flexible, with only about a third saying there is but one true way to interpret it. That kind of view is becoming common among Muslims, according to Esposito, as more people try to separate what's in the Quran from cultural traditions.

And people are applying that to women's issues and gay issues. It's among this segment of believers that the progressives are trying to make their mark. With regular prayer meetings in several cities, salons on theology, a children's Islamic educational camp and a series of printed adaptations of Quranic scholarship on issues such as homosexuality, Muslims for Progressive Values aims to fashion a new version of the ancient faith, one that members assert is truer to Islam's origins.

There's a long road ahead. While the total number of mosques in America has climbed 74 percent over the past decadeto more than 2, Muslims for Progressive Values has a significant presence in only a dozen cities, including Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.

The progressives' mosques are borrowed spaces: There's a mosque in Toronto Arab Women Va Muslim Culture And Traditions For Men a prayer group in Ottawa. The group keeps a directory of unaffiliated like-minded worship centers in smaller cities. Her stay-at-home mom taught Zonneveld and her five siblings the basics of Islam. The family read the Quran together in Arabic and fasted from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. Mosques were scarce in Please click for source, so her parents invited other Muslims to pray in their home.

After attending college in Illinois, Zonneveld moved to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a musician. That's where she met her husband, a Dutch-born agnostic who now runs a grocery delivery company.

Arab Women Va Muslim Culture And Traditions For Men

They are raising their daughter Jasmine, 14, as a Muslim. For 20 years, Zonneveld worked behind the scenes in the music industry, writing and composing songs.

She kept source faith hidden at work, though, out of fear that it would hurt her career. But everything changed after Sept. The attacks by terrorists invoking Islam for a war against the West had nothing to do with the religion Zonneveld knew. Imams appeared on television with politicians to condemn violence. They echoed her views, but she was put off. She had little in common with the bearded middle-aged men on screen.


For the first time, Zonneveld put religion at the forefront of her music. Two years after the attacks, she released an album, "Ummah, Wake Up! In the opening track, she called for a new jihad. To her, that meant striving to be more merciful, not taking up arms. Another track, "Bury Me," lamented what she saw as the marginalized state of women in Islamic communities.

Her album didn't go over well. When Zonneveld applied to perform at an Islamic music festival in Toronto, the event's organizers told her that men are forbidden to hear women sing.

Islamic retailers banned the album. Prominent Muslims said Zonneveld was focusing too much on the bad in Islam and not enough on the good. Frustrated with the Arab Women Va Muslim Culture And Traditions For Men of outlets for her critiques, Zonneveld helped found a group called the Progressive Muslim Union of North America.

The broad alliance of dozens of activists and academics struggled and bickered over political beliefs and whether members wanted to reform Islamic doctrine or simply alter social practices. The two-year effort, largely academic, collapsed bynever having founded a mosque. A year later, Zonneveld cofounded Muslims for Progressive Values, which has enjoyed more tangible success.

Its spiritual work has drawn endorsements from well-known Muslim activists, scholars and politicians. Most scholars agree that the Quran, which Muslims believe is the written word of God, does not explicitly prohibit women from leading prayers or gay people from taking leadership roles in Islam.

The holy book also does not forbid men and women to pray together. Yet, centuries of scholarship on the Quran and the sunnah the way the prophet lived his life have resulted in the prevailing view among Muslims worldwide that prayer leaders should be male and that homosexual activity is a sin.

To answer the question of whether women should lead prayers, records of the prophet's life -- whose authenticity remains under dispute -- are seized upon by people on all sides of the debate. Progressive scholars say the prophet permitted women to lead see more at any time. In three-quarters of American mosques, women gather in separate rooms or behind partitions or curtains, according to the most recent mosque study by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The practice stems from Quran, which says that men and women should maintain modest relations.

Arab Women Va Muslim Culture And Traditions For Men

The Quran does not explicitly say the sexes must keep separate. People like Zonneveld say they take their cue from the early years of Islam, when it was common for men and women to pray together. They point to Mecca, the holy Islamic city where Muslims go on pilgrimage every year and where men and women pray side by side. There are parts of the Quran that condemn homosexual acts but their interpretation is debated.

Gender roles in Islam

Today, in at least seven majority-Muslim countries, gay sex is punishable by death. Most opposition to homosexuality in Islam stems from the Quran's story of Lot, which follows the Old Testament story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Conservative clerics say Allah destroyed these cities because men were having sex with men. Like liberal Christians, progressive Muslims interpret this story to be one about condemnation of rapenot homosexuality. The idea of welcoming gay and lesbian Muslims as part of the Islamic community is more recent, says Kecia Ali, an Islamic studies professor at Boston University who researches sexuality and gender in the Quran.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Zonneveld and other spiritual activists gathered for one of Muslims for Progressive Values' Arab Women Va Muslim Culture And Traditions For Men salons in Los Angeles around a living room table strewn with pamphlets and books on Islamic law. Among those present were a Shiite from Iran, a Sunni originally from Iowa who dabbles in Sufism, a Muslim convert and an agnostic Palestinian.

They were united by a question and a this web page. As Muslims trying to establish a radically different Islam, they asked, How could Shariah be used to their benefit?

What Islam really says about women

Their differing takes were emblematic of that often unspoken conflict within this community: Are the progressives practicing religion? Or do they resemble secular, cultural Muslims? Yasir Qadhi, a popular conservative cleric and dean of academic affairs at Houston-based AlMaghrib Institute, holds the latter view. A lecture on progressives that he has given at Islamic conferences has garnered thousands of views on YouTube. Dalia Mogahed, director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, also takes a critical view of the progressives.

Muslims for Progressive Values "are little more than a footnote or a special interest," she writes in an email. What a Billion Muslims Really Think. As the imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a 5,member cluster of mosques in Northern Virginia, he welcomes a "marketplace of ideas" competing within Islam.

Men, however, always lead prayers at his mosque, and Magid doesn't believe Islam condones homosexuality. Across the globe, the rise of the women's and gay rights movements has not left Islam untouched. For more link two decades, Muslims scattered around the world have been re-examining gender roles within Islam.