Saturday, July 11, 2009
  Time for Change
I've often written about how tired I am -- and many in the Muslim community are -- of feeling constantly on the defensive. We are tired of the continual calls to condemn acts of violence by Muslim militants, tired of having to explain the misogyny is not inherent to Islam, despite Iran, the Taliban and Saudi style oppression of women, of having to refute claims that Islam calls for the slaughter or conversion of all non-Muslims, that it is backward and hidebound, that our Prophet was either hedonistic or puritanical, bloodthirsty, malevolent, and an all around despicable character.

All too often we retreat into that defensiveness. We talk about Islamophobia (a real problem, as we can see by the recent murder of a hijab-wearing woman in a German courthouse, and a similar situation in the US where a Muslim woman and her child were threatened by a knife wielding man at her doctor's office.) We engage in interfaith activities to help others understand the beautiful aspects of Islam and the true character of our Prophet.

But we need to go a step further. We need to advocate for real change in the Muslim community, cause there are real problems in our community, both in America and globally. We need to return to the fundamental values of mercy and compassion that are so prevalent in the Qur'an, to turn away from extremism and militarism. We need to embrace the liberating and affirming aspects of the Qur'an that leave no place for racism, classism, misogyny, homophobia, and religous bigotry. This is one of the goals of MPV and other progressive Muslim organizations -- to pull the Muslim community in more humane directions.

I just hope more Muslims jump on the bandwagon and do the hard work of countering negative trends within our community. I hope more people work on changing our community for the better than on changing perceptions of our community for the better. By doing the former, the latter will naturally occur, and the world will be a better place. Doing the latter, only opinions, not facts on the ground, will change.
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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