And now for something completely different - a man with three buttocks!
Even more unlikely than a man with three buttocks is a lecture at Harvard that's critical of shariah law, and I believe that's on the agenda this week.
What: Islam, Human Rights and Activism: The Cases of Malaysia and Iran. The speakers are Zainah Anwar and Akbar Ganji.
When: Tuesday, April 1, 2008, 4 PM to 6 PM.
Where: Pound Hall 101, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA.
"Zainah Anwar is the recently retired Executive Director of Sisters in Islam. It is widely regarded as one of the most successful women’s advocacy groups in the Islamic world. A grassroots Malaysian organization formed in 1988, it promotes women’s rights and challenges discrimination against women. They run a legal clinic, legal literary programs, public awareness programs, and perform research in law reform. She is currently Board Member and Project Director for the Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family."
"Akbar Ganji is an Iranian human rights dissident and writer. He has won the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and the John Humphreys Freedom Award. He won the Middle East Studies Association of North America, Academic Freedom Prize (2006)."
I hope the Harvard Islamic Society (HIS) members attend this, it might give them a different side of shariah. Recently Shaykh Jihad Hashim-Brown spoke to HIS members about the goals of shariah, the "sacred and divine law" that purportedly comes from the Koran. People who live in countries were shariah is applied generally aren't so enthusiastic about it.
Great article about Zainah Anwar here. She sounds like an amazing woman, capable, high energy, strong-minded, a dynamo. Here's just a few interesting items from the article about Anwar:
- Sisters in Islam (SIS), the organization that Anwar has headed for many years, tackles such issues as polygamy, and domestic and sexual violence within marriage. The SIS maintains that the concerns of Muslim women are “not the monopoly of religious scholars. Everyone has the right to speak”.
- "SIS has been at the forefront of NGOs influencing amendments to Islamic Family Law. It has espoused equality and justice for women, discussed dress and modesty, the right to guardianship, women as judges, fundamental liberties in Islam, and apostasy and freedom of religion."
Ms. Anwar did graduate studies in the U.S., a masters at Boston University in 1978, and was at the Fletcher
School of Diplomacy, Tufts University until 1986. Note to former Sharon imam Muhammed Masood: that's what you're supposed to do when you come to the U.S. on an J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. It's an opportunity for people to come to the United States to study, and then take what they've learned and go back home to serve the interests of their fellow countrymen. Not stay here, bring over kids, have more kids, bring over more relatives, live large on a 52-acre estate, etc, etc.
On the headscarf, which apparently Zainah doesn't wear - Zainah attended Islamic religious schools from ages 10 to 14, but she says that "Even my cikgu agama (religious teacher) didn’t wear the tudung (headscarf). It was such a different world then.” What has caused the headscarf to assume such importance only in the last 30 years or so, and outside of the Middle East in a country like Malaysia which has no tradition of covering the hair?
I bet this will be a fascinating lecture!