The UK Sunday Times has an interesting piece posted that features the story of Dr. Wafa Sultan, the courageous lady who recently made headlines thanks to this interview on Al-Jazeera in which she blasted the oppressive and destructive nature of radical Islamists. The article also mentions other Muslim women who have chosen to go on the offensive regarding Islamofascism:
Sitting in the airy living room of the spacious modern home where Sultan and her husband live, it is hard to believe this small, neatly dressed woman could be at the centre of an international firestorm. Just as improbable is that the most important and controversial critics of Islamic fundamentalism, violence and intolerance are, like Sultan, women, mostly from Islamic countries.
They include Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch politician, who has strongly criticised Islamic attitudes towards women and the widespread practice of female circumcision in Muslim north Africa; Irshad Manji, a Canadian lesbian of Pakistani descent, whose book The Trouble with Islam Today chastises Islam for its aggression towards women and for its anti-semitism; Amina Wadud, an African-American convert to Islam and Muslim academic and author, who has infuriated traditional Muslims by leading Friday prayer for Muslims in New York, a role traditionally taken only by male imams.
Other Muslim women in the front lines of the clash with Islamic governments are as diverse as Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani village woman who was brutally gang-raped in 2002 as reprisal for an alleged transgression by her 14-year-old brother, and Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2003 for her defence of the rights of women and children in fundamentalist Muslim Iran.
Death threats against these women are commonplace. Irshad Manji has had to install bullet-proof windows in her home. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has to travel everywhere with bodyguards after the threats against her and the death the film maker Theo van Gogh, her friend and collaborator.
All to which bring to mind the following thought: will it be Muslim women who bring about the most profound changes to the face of Islam?
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