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Hijab is Not About Oppression or Seduction, It’s About Trust

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Living Islam vs. Using Islam Against Others

Living Islam means living, modeling, guiding, teaching, and counseling with loving care and concern. It is a life of trust, struggle, and noble effort. Using Islam often takes the form of holier-than-thou judgmentalism that is used to oppress and keep others in line. It often shows its ugly side through allegations that others are not “Islamic” or “obedient” enough. In actuality, the obedience that is demanded is not obedience as a result of taqwa, that is obedience to Allah, but rather obedience to the tyrant and his own fear-based self. When Islam becomes objectified in such a manner, the state of inner unity (that leads to outer unity, i.e. peace and where ‘it’, i.e. Islam, is ‘used’ to achieve an objective other than its divinely inherent goal of bringing peace and goodness to people’s lives.”

–Steven Krauss

Hijab, which in its essence means “to conceal,” is usually associated with Muslim women. Although other faith traditions promote modest dress, and Muslim men are also asked to dress modestly, most of the noise around this world is directed at Muslim women.

There are two unhealthy views around women wearing hijab. First, that a woman who wears hijab is always oppressed. Second, that women must wear hijab because they are necessarily seductresses, and men cannot follow their own consciences unless women are covered.

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No path to the watering place remains; join BDS

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“He said: ‘Here is a she-camel: she has a right of watering, and ye have a right of watering, (severally) on a day appointed.’” (Qur’an 26:155)

fedwa wazwaz
I enjoy the Qu’ran passage above, because it helps us know what to look for when we’re examining oppression.

There are many dangerous forms of oppression that come from physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional forms of abuse. At times, when we’re trying to resolve a conflict, we look only at who is committing the violence in the last five cases that stirred our interest.

As we know, numbers and statistics can be used to lie, and an underinformed mass or crowd can be used as a tool to excite and rationalize all sorts of violence and oppression against the violent other.

I have argued in the past that peace is defined by the presence of healthy boundaries. What do I mean by healthy boundaries? Healthy boundaries allow people a path to the watering place: to live, to grow, to build, to dream, and to nurture.

Do these boundaries exist in Gaza or in the Occupied Territories? Let us stop asking who is committing the violence and ask a more fundamental question: Do Palestinians have a right and a path to the watering place?

Let us first shine a light on Gaza and visit and share this page:  Gaza BlackOut

Below is a past article, edited slightly. The obstacles mentioned have not only continued but the numbers of settlements and means to inhibit the growth of Palestinians has increased, including the threatening Palestinians with a ‘Shoah’ or Holocaust if they resist apartheid.

I share this piece to answer one question that I began this piece with – which is do Palestinians have a path to the watering place?

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What Does Our Faith Say About Power and Oppression?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

In 2013, the Minnesota Council of Churches and the Islamic Center of Minnesota began a dialogue series called “Prophets, Patriarchs, & People of Promise!”

Over several dialogues we brought in speakers who helped us to explore and share with each other their faith tradition and perspectives on Abraham, the Angels, Adam and Eve, Jesus, Moses, David, and Prophet Muhammad, upon them peace and blessings.  For Muslims, all prophets are spiritual brothers, with Prophet Muhammad being the last and final messenger of God in this long chain of prophets.  The discussions were quite interesting and the series helped to throw a pebble, creating a tiny ripple of understanding between the faith traditions.

This Sunday, December 21st, we are moving past this series to a new dialogue:  Faithful Response:  What does our faith say about how we respond to issues of power and oppression?

I will share my perspective with another speaker, Dr. Cameron B. R. Howard, assistant professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Continue reading here…

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