Okay, I startedreading this today, and i have to say that so far, I'm not too impressed. The very first page has a statement that offends me to my core. Ranya writes, "I did not feel comfortable at the mosque in our neighborhood, where women prayed separately from men. I wanted to feel respected."
I get not feeling comfortable at the mosque --- it's happened to me. It happened to me at the churches that I attended too, before I chose Islam....but it happened because of the little cliques that are inevitably formed where a group of people gather. In the church, it was the "homemakers," the "group leaders", or the "bible study" cliques. I didn't fit into any of them. I felt an outsider. Now, at my mosque there are the "Arabs" and the "Converts" -- I'm too Arab to fit in with the converts, but not Arab enough to fit with the Arabs. I get the feeling uncomfortable thing (and, much to my surprise, I learned that there's a gathering outside of the mosque for those who feel....uh...shall we say "shunned" -- yay for that!) Anyhow -- to say that you don't enter a mosque on equal footing as a man is wrong. Flat out WRONG.
Yes, we pray separately from the men. I like that. I can go upstairs and listen to the sermon, watch the Imam deliver his speech and stand up to pray with the other ladies. If my baby is hungry, I can nurse him. If I'm hot, I can remove my headscarf -- I call it freeing and wouldn't want to be with the men.
If this silly statement were said by someone who was not a Muslim, I wouldn't be offended at all, it can seem as if it's unfair and lacking respect if you don't know the reasons behind it. I think that there are a lot of things that non-Muslims view of my faith as unequal or lacking respect for women, but the truth is, once you learn about them -- you see it's the exact opposite. Islam gave women a voice more than 1400 years ago that was unheard of, they were able to vote, ask and receive divorces, own property, refuse a marriage....and so many more. People think "yeah...big deal" but think about this. Women in America were not allowed to vote until the 1920's (but if you were an African American Woman, you didn't get that right until 1968). So sad.
Anyhow back to the book -- I understand Ranya's fear of post 9/11 America. I was afraid too. But I don't understand what she's afraid of. She is a Muslim woman who doesn't wear a headscarf, who's children have "normal" names, who drinks alcohol, doesn't go to a mosque to pray and celebrates Christmas. What kind of Islam is this?? I see it Islam of convenience. That's how she felt, it's how she felt -- but I wonder, how did the Muslim woman who adhered to those articles of faith feel?? I know that some women removed their Hijab (headscarf) in fear. I know that they removed Islamic art and Quranic scrolls from their places of adornment in their home...in fear. I know that they feared going to the mosque to pray...that they had no place where they could gather and feel safe -- they became the enemy in their own land.
I'm 8 pages into the book and I already have a bit of loathing for Ranya...who claims my faith by name and not in spirit. I don't like that....not at all.
I wonder if I'm the only one to feel this way. I know that I only have a few followers on here who are Muslim -- what about you Jewish followers? How do you feel about Priscilla, who I see as very much the same as Ranya -- a woman who talks about faith, but doesn't really seem to have it. On page 8, Priscilla says "...despite the fact that I prayed along with others to God that night, I wasn't sure whether I really believed God existed."
I find it odd -- a book called The Faith Club has 2 of the 3 authors who don't really practice their faith. Go figure.
3 days ago