Monday, November 20, 2006
  WISE Conference
The WISE conference that I attended this weekend was a tremendous experience. It was humbling to be siting next to women who had done so much, spoken out so fearlessly, put up with so much. It was inspiring and uplifting as well, and motivating. There is so much to be done for women's rights.

I will, God willing, be posting over the next few days about the conference, but one thing that sruck me was the breadth of people invited. There were conservatives, even people I might call hyper-conservative, the moderates, the liberals, the progressives, the sufis, the sunnis, the shiis, immigrant Muslims, convert Muslims (from the african american, white american and latino communities), and so on.

One thing became evident to me over the weekend -- there was a lot of tension between these groups. Duh. Right? Everyone knows there is tension between progressives and conservatives, with the former being labeled as lesser Muslims or even apostates by conservatives, and the latter feeling that progressives feed all too easily into Islamophobic stereotypes of them. Everyone knows there is tension between immigrant Muslims and the indigenous Muslim community. Everyone knows that the Sufis are often slighted as not being real Muslims at all, or at least as being a bit flaky and heterodox.

But I've never felt those tensions quite so palapably as I did in that room. It was clear that the women were not totally comfortable with each other. The most notable was that the conservative women were obviously feeling pressure, censure even. Other discussions made it clear that some groups worried about being marginalized -- progessives, or sufis, or african americans.

It struck me that the Muslim commmunity has put a lot of effort into interfaith dialogue in the past twenty years, maybe we need to start putting a similar effort into intra-faith dialogue.

When the Christians started interfaith dialogue, it meant Baptists sitting down with Methodists. Or Protestants sitting down with Catholics. I think the Muslim community really needs similar dialogue.

It's such a simple and obvious idea, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't thought of it before. Sad thing is, no one else seems to have thought of it either.

Islam, Feminism
 
Comments:
Hope something workable and practical can result from this conference..
 
more info on the conference please!
 
Thanks for the update.

We have an expression in one Muslim community I am part of:

Sau Bismillah!

[which roughly translates to: A hundred times Bismillah--meaning that I can't say say enough times that please you should say a Bismillah and start this! Or something like that.]
 
I'm so glad you were able to attend!
 
I think you are absolutely right, we need intra faith dialogue. I would like to read more about the cpnference as well.
 
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Name: Pamela Taylor
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm a stay-at-home mom/freelance writer/author. While I make a living at journalism and op-ed, my first love is fiction, particularly science fiction. I also write poetry, mostly of a religious bent.


What I'm reading now



SuperMom Saves the World
By Melanie Lynne Houser. The sequel to Confessions of Supermom. I've just started reading it, but before the end of the first page I was laughing out loud. A fun, fast-paced, light read that is perfect for the plane or that lazy day on the beach.

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.
MoveOn.org. 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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