I cannot contain my excitement about next Thursday’s discussion with I’m Muslim, Now What?. The topic of choice goes straight for the throat so to speak in tackling male entitlement, in its myriad forms, in Muslim communities domestically and abroad. While I have thought about this topic before, witnessed examples firsthand, and heard anecdotes from friends, I believe that collectively airing experiences and extrapolating insights from them is something new for me. Sure, I have had poignant dialogues with my jaan, who straddles American and Pakistani cultural norms surrounding gender, about the divergence between the two at times and similarities. There were also numerous dialogues during my graduate program at American University discussing this topic.
With the foundations laid by these experiences I feel more aware of male entitlement in the Muslim community, notably in the mosque (why no female imams? men get to sit up front but women behind a barrier?), in certain translations of the Qur’an (why is God always referred to as “He?”), in dress (why the insistence on women covering and men not?), etc. Questions like these are just the ones that come readily to my mind but are by no means the only ones needed to be asked in order to unpack male entitlement. Thus, because of my limited capacity to relate as a male (I cannot ever fully say I can understand what a female experiences on a daily basis) I hope this group’s meeting will allow female participants to share without worrying that males will shut them down. I am also thinking that by addressing something seen as contentious right off the drop will help build trust among the group and ultimately a safe space to talk more deeply (read: honestly).
Hope you can join!
Salaams for now.