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Politicians, Prophets, and Pathetic Excuses

written by Stephanie Siam 

Recently, the internet was set ablaze (again) when US Vice President Mike Pence declared that he doesn’t eat alone with women other than his wife.

Many people spoke up in defense of women’s rights. How dare this man in such a privileged, public position require all of his personal assistants be male?

What did he mean when he said he wouldn’t attend events where alcohol was served if his wife couldn’t be there to chaperone him?

How could such a sexist, misogynistic, clueless individual attain such an important political position?

Oh, that’s right … Well, I suppose we should be thankful Pence doesn’t want to be alone with women. It could be worse. He could want to grab them wherever, whenever he gets a chance.

But I digress.

Truly, at first, it does seem a bit offensive – as a woman – to hear that I won’t be eligible for a one-on-one session with the Veep. Am I not good enough? Are my ideas, education, and theories not valid enough for this man?
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Religious Manipulation in One Word: Fitna

Written by Theresa Corbin and originally posted on Aljumuah.com

You are fitna If you’re a Muslim woman, it’s likely that you have heard this a thousand times. You might have even been convinced that your own existence is somehow bad or the cause of evil or misguidance (which is essentially what fitna means).

“Women are Fitna” has unfortunately turned into a blanket statement and a kind of religious manipulation to keep women from participating in, well, pretty much everything including their own lives.

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Much of what Muslim women face in terms of oppression is because many misunderstand the meaning of one particular adîth (a saying of the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH]):

I have not left behind me any fitna more harmful to men than women. (Bukhâri)

And this misinterpretation plays out in very real and destructive ways in Muslim women’s lives.

Fitna in Driving?

Maha Salman recalls a trip to her husband’s country, where she was unaware of cultural standards. She ended up feeling traumatized after being told she had caused fitna. Salman says, “While I was visiting with my family, I needed to get something out of the car.

I put on my outer garments, grabbed the keys, and went to the parking garage. As I approached the car with car keys in hand, one of the [morality police] started running toward me yelling fitna and something else in Arabic that I didn’t understand.”

While disallowing women to drive is seen in few countries, it is still based on the “religious” assumption that women driving, in their particular local context, will lead to fitna, or a door to sin, in many ways.  Yet we know that in the Prophet’s time his wives rode camels, the modern equivalent to driving. The Prophet œ said:

The best women among the camel riders are the righteous women of the Quraysh. (Bukhâri)

Fitna in the Mosque?

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