Closing the week 21

Most popular on this site during the last week:

  1. Een impressie van het Nationaal Islam Congres
  2. Islamizing Europe: Muslim Demographics

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International (English)

The virginity fetish | Salon Life

The virginity fetish

Why is our culture so obsessed with girls’ chastity? Author Jessica Valenti talks about how purity balls and “barely legal” porn both feed the same idea: That a woman’s worth is between her legs.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Ghodsee, K.: Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria.

Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe examines how gender identities were reconfigured in a Bulgarian Muslim community following the demise of Communism and an influx of international aid from the Islamic world. Kristen Ghodsee conducted extensive ethnographic research among a small population of Pomaks, Slavic Muslims living in the remote mountains of southern Bulgaria. After Communism fell in 1989, Muslim minorities in Bulgaria sought to rediscover their faith after decades of state-imposed atheism. But instead of returning to their traditionally heterodox roots, isolated groups of Pomaks embraced a distinctly foreign type of Islam, which swept into their communities on the back of Saudi-financed international aid to Balkan Muslims, and which these Pomaks believe to be a more correct interpretation of their religion.

Ghodsee explores how gender relations among the Pomaks had to be renegotiated after the collapse of both Communism and the region’s state-subsidized lead and zinc mines. She shows how mosques have replaced the mines as the primary site for jobless and underemployed men to express their masculinity, and how Muslim women have encouraged this as a way to combat alcoholism and domestic violence. Ghodsee demonstrates how women’s embrace of this new form of Islam has led them to adopt more conservative family roles, and how the Pomaks’ new religion remains deeply influenced by Bulgaria’s Marxist-Leninist legacy, with its calls for morality, social justice, and human solidarity.

Kristen Ghodsee is associate professor of gender and women’s studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism, and Postsocialism on the Black Sea. You can listen to her public lecture Headscarves and Hotpants: Islam, Secularism and Women’s Fashion in Southeastern Europe HERE.

Springer Science+Business Media : News

Children’s moral behavior and attitudes in the real world largely carry over to the virtual world of computers, the Internet, video games and cell phones. Interestingly, there are marked gender and race differences in the way children rate morally questionable virtual behaviors, according to Professor Linda Jackson and her team from Michigan State University in the US. Their research1 is the first systematic investigation of the effects of gender and race on children’s beliefs about moral behavior, both in the virtual world and the real world, and the relationship between the two. The study was published online in Springer’s journal, Sex Roles.

Orientalism, Culture and Appropriation: Part 3 « Nuseiba

So consumer capitalism has adapted the most challenging propositions of the Other’s culture and reconstituted it as an empty, fashion shell. But since Dick Hebdidge in Subculture, the Meaning of Style in 1979 it was clear that contemporary audiences use and can subvert mass culture for their ends. Representations can be excorporated into the marginal. The oppressed have always resisted, have ‘poached’ on the domains of the powerful and reworked the dominant culture for their own ends. Popular culture (rather than mass) is always a culture of conflict, it always involves the struggle to make social meanings that are in the interests of the subordinate and that are not those preferred by the dominant ideology. Popular culture is the culture of the subordinate who resent their subordination.

Rethinking Jihad 2009 Conference

The Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW), led by Dr Elisabeth Kendall, is holding an international conference to unravel and re-construct the concept of jihad in all its aspects. The conference will seek to improve our understanding of ‘jihad’ through the work of highly qualified academics and intellectuals who aim to free ‘jihad’ from the stereotyping currently exploited to serve violence, oppression and media sensationalism. In addition to securing the agreement of several leading international intellectuals to give keynote addresses during the course of the three day conference, well over 100 academics and intellectuals, keen to explore the thorny issue of ‘jihad’, responded to our call for papers. This scale of response indicates both the need and the will to discuss jihad in all its aspects as a crucial yet misunderstood concept in today’s society.

Conference Rationale and Description

Much like ‘fatwa’ the term ‘jihad’ has come to be used as a byword for fanaticism and Islam’s implacable hostility toward the West. But like other religious and political concepts, jihad has multiple resonances and associations, its meaning shifting over time and varying from place to place. Jihad has referred to movements of internal reform, spiritual struggle, and self-defence as much as, if not more than, to ‘holy war’. Jihad, moreover, reflects principles and concerns by no means unique to Islam. Among Muslim intellectuals, as well as others concerned with the Arab and Islamic worlds, the meaning and significance of jihad remains subject to debate and controversy. Too often the diversity and sophistication of debate in the region, as well as scholarship on the religion, politics and history of the Arab and Islamic worlds stands in stark contrast to the crude generalisations found in the media.

To address the problems of simplification and essentialisation that characterise much current discourse on Islam and the Arab world, particularly when it comes to conceptions of jihad as evidence of a peculiarly Islamic predilection for violence and warfare, the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) is convening a major international conference on ‘re-thinking’ jihad. The conference brings together academics from around the world to shed light on some of jihad’s manifold dimensions, enactments and interpretations. It will include keynote addresses from leading experts on Middle Eastern and Islamic history, politics, theology and society. These accomplished speakers will address, and put into context, broad issues pertinent to the subject of jihad. The keynote addresses will be interspersed with panel discussions that will examine specific themes in more detail. The panels will showcase cutting-edge research on the topic of jihad by scholars from across five continents.

Western feminists don’t understand Muslim Women

Historically, calls for liberation have often created circumstances that are worse for women. Oxfam released a study earlier this year reporting that Iraqi women’s conditions have qualitatively deteriorated since the U.S. invasion. While I’m sure this wasn’t in the grand feminist plan for Iraqi women, the reality is that sweeping numbers of them are widowed, unemployed, and subject to brutalities at the hands of sectarian gangs and occupying forces.

Non-Muslim feminist misunderstandings don’t just affect women in predominately Muslim countries. They affect Muslim women living in the West, too. When France proposed a ban on religious symbols in schools, specifically targeting the hijab, French feminists were completely onboard, dismissing the hijab as a symbol of oppression that no Muslim girl would wear willingly. But the ban has systematically denied schooling to girls who wear hijab. Demanding a girl choose between her school and her traditions is a surefire way to keep her down. Many girls choose the latter.

The truth is, many feminist Muslim organizations are already hard at work.

Gender & Religion
Maghreb Arabe Presse: Mourchidates, pioneering experience in the region

Mourchidates, pioneering experience in the region
Washington – Participants in a meeting on “Our Families, Our Faiths, & Our Futures,” held, here Wednesday, hailed the experience of Moroccan women religious councilors, known as Mourchidates, describing the initiative as a unique and pioneering experience in the region.

Folio » Cup of tea?

Yes, and as I remembered that our blessed Prophet, peace be upon him, mended his own clothes, a habit that even the most enlightened Westerner would still consider women’s work. A poor husband feels oppressed because a wife will not respond with a cup of tea when he asks for one. For crying out loud, man, do it yourself. And while you’re at it, offer to make her one too.

Rotterdam to prevent forced marriage < | Expatica The Netherlands

Girls who are concerned they may be forced into an arranged marriage can express their concerns with the school. Before they go away, the girls can sign a contract stating they do not want to marry.

If the girls fail to return at the end of the summer, the Dutch police will be notified immediately.

Religion & Politics
World Bulletin [ Myanmar-expelled Rohingya Muslims move to Bangladesh ]

Myanmar-expelled Rohingya Muslims move to Bangladesh
Local residents said about 1,000 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh in just the past three days, saying increased persecution by Myanmar’s military junta.

German Muslim community split over co-ed swimming classes | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 21.05.2009

A court in the western city of Muenster has ruled that Muslim girls at elementary schools in Germany must attend mixed swimming classes with boys, rejecting a request from the parents of a nine-year-old girl for her to be excused from the lessons.

The parents from the industrial city of Gelsenkirchen told the school authorities that they lived strictly to the teachings of the Koran, adding that they found mixed swimming “immoral”.

“Protective” suit

The administrative court said, however, that the girl could protect her modesty by wearing a full-length bathing suit dubbed a “burkini.”

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Legal limbo for Tajik Islamic brides

[…]he is not obliged to pay her any alimony or child support because her marriage, like many in Tajikistan, was conducted according to Islamic rites and was never officially registered.

It is estimated that up to 30% of all marriages in Tajikistan are unregistered.

You hardly ever see one, but the veil debate is back

You hardly ever see one, but the veil debate is back
Quebecers harbour strong emotions about women who wear the veil

In fact, a person in Canada, Australia, Britain and the United States could go an entire lifetime without seeing a Muslim woman whose face is covered with a veil. Yet the right to wear a veil – or not – this year alone has been the subject of court cases in Canada and the U.S. and heated controversy elsewhere.

Religion & Popular Culture | World | Islamic Idol lets pop fans keep the faith

Flames burst from the stage for a grand entrance, and fake fog swirls around a young man in a white robe. He clutches the microphone, gazes seriously into the camera and then, accompanied only by drums, he sings.

“I accept Allah as my God, His religion as my religion, and His messenger as my messenger,” he intones, as the audience, divided into men’s and women’s sections, claps along with the rhythm.

The singer is a contestant on a new Islamic version of American Idol, launched to promote and drum up talent for the Arab world’s first Islamic pop music video channel.

The Carnival is Here: White Privilege and The Ummah « Rolling Ruminations

My intention behind this carnival, for the sake of Allah of course, was to initiate some dialogue about race related issues within the Ummah focusing specifically on white Muslim privilege. Problems stemming from racism, nationalism and privilege within the Ummah are not a secret, except maybe to new converts or newly transplanted Muslims, but in my experience I have only seen very, very little talk about these problems coming from white Muslims–and mostly is has revolved around implicating others. So, inshAllah, I hope that this carnival may be a starting point for white Muslims to begin self-critical affirmative efforts to better ourselves–because that is what we are supposed to do, for the sake of Allah.

Saudi Arabia to Regulate Kingdom-Based Websites Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja revealed Saudi Arabia’s intention to enact laws, regulation, and legislation for newspapers and internet websites. The most important of the proposed legislation is for websites to require official licenses to be granted by a special agency under the purview of the Ministry of Information.

Wolfram|Alpha Blog : Wolfram|Alpha Is In Production!

Stephen Wolfram reminded us of his vision:

Fifty years ago, when computers were young, people assumed that they’d be able to ask a computer any factual question, and have it compute the answer. I’m happy to say that we’ve successfully built a system that delivers knowledge from a simple input field, giving access to a huge system, with trillions of pieces of curated data and millions of lines of algorithms. Wolfram|Alpha signals a new paradigm for using computers and the Web.

Dutch – Binnenland – Bos roept Wilders op tot debat

Bos roept Wilders op tot debat
HILVERSUM – PvdA-leider Wouter Bos wil graag met PVV-leider Geert Wilders in debat. Volgens Bos ontwijkt Wilders het debat. – Rotterdam – ‘Allochtonen: ga massaal stemmen!’

‘Allochtonen: ga massaal stemmen!’
ROTTERDAM – De deelname van Geert Wilders aan de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen in Rotterdam zal tot een recordopkomst onder allochtone kiezers leiden.

Dat is de verwachting van verschillende migrantenorganisaties, die een grote campagne voorbereiden om zoveel mogelijk gekleurde Rotterdammers naar de stembus te lokken.

Nederlands Dagblad – Bolkestein: moslims geen recht op eigen scholen

,,Wij leven in een gelijkheidscultuur. Maar mensen zijn ongelijk. En godsdiensten ook.” Dat zegt VVD-prominent Frits Bolkestein zaterdag in een interview met het Nederlands Dagblad.

Volgens de liberaal is de vrijheid van onderwijs door jarenlange schoolstrijd nauw verweven met de Nederlandse samenleving. ,,Er is geen enkele reden om dat recht ook aan andere scholen zoals islamitische te gunnen.”

Regelzucht » Onze trotse moslims

Logisch dus, dat vooral migranten trots zijn op Groot-Brittannië, Duitsland en Nederland. Ze hebben er gewoon meer redenen voor. Het is even wennen voor Verdonk, maar daarna wil ze vast niets anders meer. Het verschil met de PVV is voor altijd duidelijk! Deze blije multiculti-praat wordt echter door twee uitkomsten van het Gallup-onderzoek pijnlijk doorkruist: negentig procent van de Britse moslims voelt zich niet geïntegreerd (Daily mail 8 mei) – je kunt blijkbaar wel trots maar toch niet thuis zijn. Daarnaast vindt niemand van de ondervraagde Britse Moslims homoseksualiteit moreel toelaatbaar. Dat laatst is koren op de molen van Wilders. Onmogelijk voor Verdonk om moslims in haar armen te sluiten.

Hoewel: het is maar waar je het mee vergelijkt. De Britse bevolking als geheel is ook erg homofoob. Meer dan de helft van de Britten vindt homoseksualiteit moreel ontoelaatbaar. In Nederland ligt dit heel anders. Slechts 11 procent van onze bevolking staat negatief tegenover homoseksualiteit (SCP 2006), tegenover de helft van de Nederlandse Moslims. Onze Moslims zijn ook in dit opzicht behoorlijk Nederlands: ze zijn positiever over homoseksualiteit dan de autochtone Britten.

Niet te snel juichen: nog steeds kunnen veel docenten tegenover Nederlandse moslims niet voor hun homoseksualiteit uitkomen. Maar toch is dit een opsteker voor al die politici, docenten, homo-organisaties, kunstenaars en wie niet al die de afgelopen jaren hun nek uitgestoken hebben om dit onderwerp onder de aandacht te brengen: zie hier hun succes.

‘Trots op Nederland?’, zou ik als nieuwe Nederlander zeggen: ‘Dat kunnen wij beter! Als we soms een inburgeringcursus moeten geven?’

Plan godslastering van tafel –

Het kabinet heeft zich vanochtend opnieuw gebogen over de verboden op godslastering en groepsbelediging. Volgens twee bronnen rond het kabinet zou minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin van Justitie (CDA) vanochtend voorstellen om godslastering toch strafbaar te laten. Hij zou dan geen uitbreiding van het beledigingsverbod meer willen.

Joods Actueel » Franse auteur “ontmaskert” Tariq Ramadan in nieuw boek

Ik ben inderdaad gay en feministe maar ook antiracist, ecologist… Vooral die twee laatste hebben mij gedreven om negen maanden lang te werken op die voordrachten en cassettes om eens en voor goed uit te maken of hij nu inderdaad een dubbel discours hanteert.

Tijdens deze enquêtes heb ik dikwijls zitten twijfelen, maar vandaag is mijn intieme overtuiging gevestigd en gestaafd door bewijzen: Tariq Ramadan is geen modernist maar een predikant die een modern en intellectueel discours gebruikt om een retrograde en onverdraagzame politieke islam te promoten.

Voor al wat dienen kan wil ik nog even preciseren dat ik naast mijn job van journaliste ook nog les geef bij Sciene-Po Paris, en dat de retoriek van Ramadan mij boeit omwille van haar complexiteit en ontzagwekkende handigheid.

Opzet van mijn boek is daarom het ontrafelen en niet het vereenvoudigen van die complexiteit. Wie het gelezen heeft zal daarvan oprecht kunnen getuigen. Het boek is nu beschikbaar in het Engels zodat iedereen er zich een opinie kan over vormen. Ik wel enkel nog preciseren dat in tegenstelling met wat Ramadan beweert, alle citaten uiteraard volledig juist zijn en steeds hun bron vermelden. Hij heeft mij trouwens nooit een proces aangedaan noch kunnen bewijzen dat één enkele van de aangehaalde citaten al was het maar verdraaid zou zijn.

Zijn belangrijkste tactiek bestaat uit een abstracte kritiek op mijn boek om daarna over te gaan tot algemeenheden waarbij hij valse citaten aanhaalt (die niet uit mijn boek of van mij komen) om ze schijnbaar te kunnen weerleggen. Zodoende kan hij wat tijd winnen, vooraleer de waarheid, zoals altijd, hem achterhaald.

De auteur is een Franse schrijfster, journaliste en redactrice van het tijdschrift Prochoix. Ze publiceerde in 2004 een grondige studie van de opvattingen van Tariq Ramadan onder de titel ‘Frère Tariq’ (Grasset) en in 2005 het boek ‘La tentation obscurantiste’ (Grasset).

Gouda zwijgt over agressie – Binnenland – [24 uur actueel, ook mobiel] [binnenland]

Goudse beleidsmakers zwijgen over agressie
door Jenny van der Zijden
GOUDA, dinsdag – Goudse politieke partijen, politie, gemeente en andere instanties duiken massaal weg wanneer hen wordt gevraagd naar een mening over de Marokkanenproblematiek in deze stad. Jan Stikvoort, korpschef van politie Hollands Midden was gisteren zelfs helemaal niet bereikbaar voor commentaar omdat hij op werkbezoek is bij de politie in Polen.

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