Robert Spencer’s Deception and Denial
by Sheila Musaji
Robert Spencer has discovered yet another ridiculous Muslim “stealth jihad” plot. This one so concerned him that “exposing” these “deceitful” Muslims required two of his “scholarly” refutations. Deception and Denial Are Not Reform and Wife-beating: “My husband said it’s okay, he told me the Koran says it’s okay”.
What has provoked Robert Spencer to feel the need to warn his readers twice about this particular danger?
“The Change This” campaign by Muslim women's charity Amina encourages people to report any violence they have seen or experienced.
A Scottish Muslim women’s group has begun an anti-domestic violence campaign called “Change This”. The campaign was initiated by a Muslim women’s charity called Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Center to tackle misconceptions and manipulations of Islamic teachings. The campaign will call on members of the Muslim community to become “change makers” and oppose and report all violence against women and girls. Their slogan is “together we can end male violence against women”.
They say about “Change This”: “We are asking you to help break the silence by taking action to raise awareness and spread the word that violence against women is wrong and will not be tolerated in our community. We are asking you to be the change you want to see in your community by making the change-maker promise and joining our change-makers of Scotland.”
This joins many other Muslim education campaigns elsewhere.
A FEW MUSLIM COMMUNITY EFFORTS AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND “HONOR” CRIMES
Twenty Canadian Muslim Organizations Urge ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Domestic Violence after the tragic murder of Aqsa Parvez. 12/2007
Imam Zaid Shakir has practical suggestions for attempting to root out this barbaric practice from the Muslim community (7/2008):
Practical steps include the following: 1. Emphasize that such killings have no sanction in the Qur’an, the Prophetic practice, or in Islamic law. 2. Declare anyone guilty of involvement in honor killings to be a cold-blooded murderer. 3. Encourage judicial authorities to enact the harshest penalties possible for anyone accused of involvement in such killings. 4. Educate our Muslim communities, especially in the West, about the un-Islamic nature of honor killings, and the pressures, nuances, challenges and complications facing young Muslims, male and female in the West. 5. Work to eliminate the double standards, and to expose the hypocrisy that exist in our communities, generally, concerning attitudes and standards relating to the indiscretions of males as opposed to females.
The Islamic Society of North America ISNA has published a statement The Islamic Response to Domestic Violence 10/2009
Wajahat Ali has published an important article (2/2010) February 12-”Remembering Aasiya Zubair and Confronting Domestic Violence”
Last year the tragic beheading of Aasiya Zubair jolted a dormant Muslim American community to finally acknowledge and proactively confront the hidden scourge of domestic violence in its midst.
On 12 February 2009, Aasiya Zubair, a Muslim Pakistani American MBA student and co-founder of Bridges TV, was murdered by her estranged husband, Muhammad Hassan, after she officially filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against him. Hassan’s previous two wives left him due to domestic abuse, and Asma Firfirey, the sister of the deceased, stated Aasiya had previously sustained physical injuries requiring nearly $3,000 of medical bills. Hassan, who was ostensibly and regrettably considered a community leader despite his history of abuse – a shameful oversight and failure of the Muslim leadership community – is now charged with the murder. Remarkably, he recently invoked the “battered” spouse defence combined with psychiatric elements claiming that it was in fact he who suffered verbal abuse and humiliation by his wife.
Hassan’s defence takes away from the very real statistics that show the sobering reality of domestic violence in America. Approximately 1.3 million women in America are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually and nearly 25% of women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Contrary to some spurious reporting and ignorant, reactionary stereotyping in the wake of Aasiya’s murder, abhorrent violence against women is neither culturally innate nor exclusive to Muslim, South Asian, or immigrant males. Sadly, domestic violence is universally endemic in “women of all races [who] are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner”.
Commendably, the Muslim American community refused to plead victimhood and make media-friendly, defensive rationalisations following Aasiya’s murder. Instead, they universally condemned the murder, acknowledged the existence of domestic violence as a silent but prevalent reality deliberately hidden due to shame, and decided to finally clean their own house.
A sudden grassroots effort emerged within two days of her death – mobilised primarily by websites such as Facebook – that campaigned for a “pledge to end domestic violence”. A nationwide, unified effort entitled Imams Speak Out: Domestic Violence Will Not Be Tolerated in Our Communities, directly called on imams and religious leaders to use their Friday sermon to decisively denounce abuse against women in Muslim communities. The call was heard and answered loudly. Shaikh Hamza Yusuf, one of the most influential and popular Muslim American clerics, used the Qur’an, sharia and life of the Prophet Muhammad to categorically condemn such behaviour as un-Islamic and forbidden. Moreover, he admonished domestic abusers who rationalise such criminal acts by perversely misusing their religion to justify their violence.
Meanwhile, a Facebook group, In Memory of Aasiya Zubair: A Pledge to End Domestic Violence, was created as a unified, multicultural, globalised effort to combat domestic violence.
Immediately following the tragedy, a few Muslim Americans started the Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence website, where they issued a global pledge “to never to engage in, support, or remain silent about the physical, psychological, and emotional abuse of Muslim and non-Muslim women and children”. To commemorate the anniversary of Aasiya’s death, they have released a “call to action” asking religious imams to reserve their Friday 12 February sermon to speak out against domestic abuse.
Also, the tragedy highlighted the resources and remarkable work of existing anti-domestic violence organisations and shelters that were sadly not fully utilised by many mosques and Muslim community centres during Aasiya’s life.
For example, Peaceful Families Project, which has existed since 2000, collaborated with the Muslim Women’s League last year to compile an online directory of “domestic violence programmes for Muslim communities”. They are now spearheading a video campaign called Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence, featuring pledges from Muslims all over the world.
An organised, global initiative, International Wear a Purple Hijab Day is asking Muslim women to wear a purple headscarf to remember Aasiya Zubair on 13 February and unite as a community to speak out against domestic abuse. Project Sakinah: Stop Family Violence Now is being developed by Dar al Islam, a New Mexico non-profit organisation, to stimulate awareness and decisive action within Muslim communities.
Furthermore, several domestic violence shelters, non-profit organisations, and Muslim community centres are hosting speeches and panels this weekend to commemorate Aasiya’s memory. Specifically, Domestic Harmony Foundation and Turning Point for Women and Families is hosting a joint panel to clear misconceptions of Islam’s treatment of women and to condemn the domestic violence and murder of Aasiya.
Although the journey remains long and arduous, it is bittersweet yet ultimately encouraging that the anniversary of Aasiya Zubair’s death inspires many Muslim Americans, who were previously either apathetic or ignorant, to draw upon their faith and religious traditions to end domestic violence in honour of her memory.
The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council IN 2010 issued a statement that: We, members of the Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council, declare gender equality to be an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith. As Muslims, we affirm our conviction that the Muslim woman is worthy of respect and dignity, that as a legal individual, spiritual being, social person, responsible agent, free citizen, and servant of God, she holds fundamentally equal rights to exercise her abilities and talents in all areas of human activity. Furthermore, we insist that these rights are embedded within the Qur’an and six objectives of Shari’a—the protection and promotion of religion (al-din), life (al-nafs), mind (al-‘aql), family (al-nasl), wealth (al-mal), and dignity (al-‘ird). As the Shura Council, we embrace our collective and individual responsibility to work towards building a unified change movement of Muslim women – driven by compassion and justice – that will enable Muslim women to realize their full potential as individuals and in relationship to family, community, nation, and globe.
They have begun a number of educational programs, and initiated a JIHAD AGAINST VIOLENCE. A great deal more information is available on their site. Here are some of the key points about this effort
Violence is a human phenomenon that exists across diverse cultures and faith communities. It remains an ever-present reality in the lives of millions of Muslims, preventing entire societies from flouishing in religious, cultural, political, and economic spheres. Throughout the world, violence destroys the ability of Muslim women to thrive within their families, communities, and nations. Violent extremism and domestic violence, in particular, continue to devastate individual lives, families and societies. This is a clear injustice to those who suffer such indignities, as well as a violation of the teachings of Islam, whose mantle is wrongly used to justify such violence.
“Jihad Against Violence: Muslim Women’s Struggle for Peace” is the first statement of the global Muslim women’s Shura Council, an all women’s advisory council that promotes women’s rights within an Islamic framework. A combined study and condemnation of violent extremism and domestic violence, “Jihad against Violence” addresses two critical issues that are typically assumed to be separate. Thus, the Shura Council is studying violence in its larger context, offering connections and links rarely made, and taking a stand against all types and manifestations of violence. Because of the tremendous import of violent extremism and its prominence within public discourses surrounding Islam, studying this topic – in tandem with domestic violence – will register a strong statement that women can pronounce on all societal issues, not merely those traditionally limited to them.
- Shura Council Letter to the Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (in English).
- Shura Council Letter to the Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates (in Arabic).
- The “Jihad Against Violence” Digest (In English)
- The “Jihad Against Violence” Digest (In Arabic)
- The “Jihad Against Violence” Digest (In Tamil)
- The “Jihad Against Violence” - Resource
- The “Jihad Against Violence” poster
Shura Council StatementsTop
Drawing upon its members’ expertise in both Islamic jurisprudence and fields like history, political science, theology, sociology, and the arts, the Shura Council issues informed and religiously-grounded opinions on controversial issues of particular relevance to Muslim women in their personal, familial and societal lives. By advocating a constructive conception of women’s status, rights and responsibilities, these opinions function as legitimate alternatives to oppressive religious arguments. Thus, the Council is providing members of the WISE community, as well as Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide, with comprehensive information and vital analysis from Islamic law and other fields of scholarship, in addition to proposing strategies for affecting positive and sound change.
Issues are selected yearly through a Council vote, with consideration of the worldwide WISE community and activists on the ground. Some of the selected issues include “Female Genital Cutting,” “Adoption and the Care of Orphans,” “Women’s Religious Leadership,” “Honor Crimes and Killings,” “Stigmatization and Criminalization of Rape Victims,” “Child Marriages,” and “Education.” Shura Council statements are constructed through a consultative process, including input from organizational and individual allies and several cycles of edits. All statements culminate in a Council vote and are disseminated through the WISE portal, where the WISE community can weigh in via polls, comments, and suggestions.
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Domestic Violence Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Domestic Violence Handout
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Violent Extremism Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Violent Extremism 3-Page Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Female Genital Cutting Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council FGC 2-Page Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council FGC Handout
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Adoption Digest
- The The Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council Adoption Brochure
Muftiyyah Program Top
The Muftiyyah Program is a world-class graduate program, which will train contemporary Muslim women jurists and religious scholars. Currently being developed by WISE and the Shura Council, it is intended to be collaborative project with institutional and educational partners worldwide. Targeting the best and brightest Muslim women globally, the program will unite classical fiqh study with top-notch secular, interfaith, and women’s studies education, matriculating leaders empowered with full Islamic legal authority and an exceptional ability to address the most critical issues of our time. The Muftiyyahs will eventually form the first-ever global, all-women’s “Ifta Council,” acting as forces for change locally and globally.
The Muslim Consultative Network prepared a pledge 10,000 Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence 10/2010
Project Sakinah has published an article Domestic Violence in Muslim Families: Aasiya Zubair to Nazish Noorani by Zerqa Abid which notes After initial research, intensive brainstorming with several Muslim and non-Muslim DV advocates and several sessions with professional consultants, we have now launched a 6-point action plan for our community. We call upon all concerned community members to join hands with us and help us making it a success. Starting this October, we are offering training workshops for community organizers against domestic violence. These workshops are not for professionals. These are for regular people. We call upon you to help us organize these workshops in your city, at your mosques and community centers. 8/2011
Canadian Muslims are joining an international campaign to fight domestic violence in their country (1/2012).
“We are hoping the raise awareness about domestic violence in Canada with the White Ribbon Days,” Afaun Mandol, a spokesperson for Muslim Presence Toronto, told OnIslam.net. “The White Ribbon Campaign is a means to start the conversation in our community to challenge everyone to speak out, and think about their own personal beliefs, language and actions.” The WRC aims to empower men and boys to speak out against all forms of violence against women.
The campaign gained momentum among Canadian Muslims following a call by Muslim groups and leaders to end domestic violence in the country. “Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to “restore family honour” violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles, and so we categorically condemn all forms of domestic violence,” the Muslim groups said in a statement titled “Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence”. ... As part of the campaign, imams across Canada gave sermons on December 9 condemning domestic violence and honour-based killings. The following day, the White Ribbon campaign, in which men undertook a pledge against domestic violence, was launched in Toronto’s Muslim community.
The campaign was also taken to the “Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention”, which ran from December 23 to December 25 in Toronto. Professor Tariq Ramadan, one of the world’s leading Muslim intellectuals, added his voice to the campaign during his speech at the convention with strong and forceful words condemning domestic violence. “Domestic violence is unacceptable; stop it,” said Ramadan. “You who are beating women and listening to these talks, if you don’t stop it, then this is all for nothing.” Attendees at the convention were also asked to take a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls and wear a white ribbon to signal their commitment to the campaign. “We were particularly interested in reaching out to men and boys during the convention,” Mandol told OnIslam.net.
The campaign is also planned to be launched among the Muslim communities in the cities of Ottawa and Montreal to coincide with the International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8. Other Islamic organizations are planning educational programs on family issues.
A Toronto-based web portal, TorontoMuslim.com, has also partnered with the Muslim Presence Network to launch a site that will list resources and links to local agencies and centres that provide support to victims of domestic violence in the Greater Toronto Area. “Our mission is to raise awareness, to educate, to advocate and to take action to end domestic violence, as part of our pledge to the Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence statement,” stated TorontoMuslims.com.
Here is the Call to Action statement
Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence. As October, the Domestic Violence Awareness month, has ended and we now approach December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Muslim Canadians reflect on the reality of domestic violence within our own communities, compounded by abhorrent and yet persistent pre-Islamic practices rooted in the misguided notion of restoring family honour.
As Muslims, we base our ethics and behaviour on the teachings of the Quran and the authenticated example of the Prophet Muhammad, who never hit a woman and taught the men that “the best amongst you is he who treats women the best”. The Quran unequivocally emphasizes the sanctity of all life, forbids all forms of coercion in matters of religion, and reminds us all that each of us is accountable for our actions directly to God, the only Judge.
There is no room within these teachings for any person, by virtue of gender or position within the family, to seize control over the life and bodily security of another. Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to “restore family honour” violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles, and so we categorically condemn all forms of domestic violence.
We the undersigned declare our commitment to intensify our efforts to eradicate domestic violence from our communities through:
1. Working within our community and with other communities to raise awareness of harmful (and sometimes lethal) attitudes that lead to this violence.
2. Working within our communities to raise awareness about the serious psychological, judicial, social and religious consequences of such practices, through Friday sermons, public lectures, workshops, and other means.
3. Morally opposing the use of the word “honour” when describing such killings to ensure no positive connotation is implied directly or indirectly in connection to such heinous crimes.
4. Working with community leaders and Imams in order to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary resources and training so that they can offer mediation, conflict resolution, and domestic violence counselling in a manner that reflects professional standards, contemporary research, and religious scholarship.
5. Educating parents and youth about existing resources that can help them deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist leanings far before it gets to the point of violent confrontation.
6. Teaching parents and youth how to deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist leanings.
As a first step, starting immediately and specifically on December 9, we commit ourselves to addressing this issue at all levels, including and especially within our Friday sermons, which must highlight Islamic perspectives on domestic abuse, perspectives that condemn all forms of violence against women and children, most especially threatening, abusing, and killing women in the name of protecting the family’s honour. As Muslims and as Canadians, we stand with all Canadians and pledge to combat domestic violence in all its manifestations, wherever and whenever they arise.
ISCC affiliated Imams Issue Important Fatwa on Honour Killings Misogyny and Domestic Violence. 34 Imams from Canada and the U.S. initiated this fatwa, and are encouraging others to also sign on. 2/4/2012
Baitul Salaam International and the Muslima Writers Alliance is holding it’s 25th International Orange day to unite to end violence against women ad girls. They are asking Muslim women to wear orange on the 25th of every month in an effort to raise community awareness of the issue of violence against women. They are carrying out this effort under the auspices of Say no to violence of the U.N. They evan have a FaceBook page. Muslim leaders along with leaders of other faith communities signed the National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women.
How does Robert Spencer feel about this?
Spencer says: “I am all for a campaign to persuade Muslim men not to beat their wives. But here we come up to the perennial problem: denying that the texts of the Koran and Hadith regarding wife-beating say what they clearly say is not reform; it is just deception. It may play well with non-Muslims who don’t know what those texts say, but it won’t convince any wife-beating Muslim husband to stop beating his wife: he knows that “the Koran says it’s okay.”
He goes on to list hand picked existing opinions and translations of the Qur’an verse 4:34 to prove his contention that the only reasonable way to understand this is that Muslims are justified in beating their wives.
He gives a “Spencer fatwa” about how others have translated this verse into English, how some have interpreted it, etc. and why only those interpretations can be the correct ones. He then says: “Laleh Bakhtiar, in a recent translation that has received wide publicity, translates it as “go away from them.” In light of this unanimity among the translators, both Muslim and non-Muslim, this seems difficult to sustain – all of these authorities got the passage wrong until Bakhtiar? But her impulse is understandable, as many Muslims today regard this verse with acute embarrassment. Muhammad Asad adduces numerous traditions in which Muhammad “forbade the beating of any woman,” concluding that wife-beating is“barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided.” Unfortunately, however, this is not a unanimous view. The Koran commentary Ruhul Ma’ani reflects mainstream Muslim understandings of this verse when it gives four reasons that a man may beat his wife: “if she refuses to beautify herself for him,” if she refuses sex when he asks for it, if she refuses to pray or perform ritual ablutions, and “if she goes out of the house without a valid excuse.”
Perhaps because he is Catholic he is expecting some Papal edict that will require a “unanimous consensus” of all Muslims on one agreed upon meaning on pain of being excommunicated. No such possibility exists. There is not now and never will be a unanimous view of all Muslim scholars on very many issues. And, actually, Bakhtiar was not the first to raise this issue. She has given her opinion on the meaning of this verse. Some agree, and some disagree.
Within the Muslim community there is debate going on about the interpretations and meaning of this verse.
Neil MacFarquhar wrote about this debate within the Muslim community over Bakhtiar’s translation in the NYT. He included quotes by a few Muslim scholars:
- “This verse became an issue of debate and controversy because of the ethics of the modern age, the universal notions of human rights,” said Khaled Abou El Fadl.
- Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, said he had been questioned about the verse in places around the world where women were struggling for greater rights, but most of all by Westerners. Women want to be free “from some of the extreme ideology of some Muslims,” the Sheik said, after delivering a sermon on the verse recently in Oakland, Calif.
- Sheik Ali Gomaa, the Islamic scholar who serves as Egypt’s grand mufti, said Koranic verses must be viewed through the prism of the era. The advice “is always broad in order to be relevant to different cultures and in different times,” he said through a spokesman in an e-mail message. “In our modern context, hitting one’s wife is totally inappropriate as society deems it hateful and it will only serve to sow more discord.”
And, after some objected to Laleh Bakhtiar’s translation of this verse, Dr. Ingrid Mattson (then President of ISNA) issued a statement:
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has asked ISNA Canada Secretary General to retract his statement that he would consider “banning” Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar’s translation of the meaning of the Qur’an and his questioning of Dr. Bakhtiar’s authority to undertake such a translation.
ISNA is an umbrella organization that strives to represent the diversity of North American Islam. ISNA has long recognized the validity of different schools of Islamic thought, theology and doctrine. We have affirmed this recognition as an original signatory of the “Amman Message” (http://ammanmessage.com/) and by offering the platform of our conferences and conventions open to representatives of our diverse community. We do not recognize any particular scholar, school of thought or institution as necessarily authoritative for all Muslims. Further, we support the right of scholarly inquiry and intellectual discussion on issues related to Islam.
ISNA supports and encourages honest debate and scholarship on issues affecting the Muslim community. In particular, we have long been concerned with the misuse of Islam to justify injustice towards women. ISNA held its first domestic violence conference over ten years ago, and has since that time, has held numerous training and education seminars to promote domestic harmony and prevent violence against women.
It should be noted, in fact, that Dr. Bakhtiar’s interpretation of Qur’anic verse 4:34 is not new, although we do not deny that she arrived at her position independently. A similar interpretation was offered by Dr Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, Rector of the International Islamic University of Malaysia, in a 2003 special edition of “Islamic Horizons,” ISNA’s flagship publication. It is unfortunate that many Muslims are unaware of the depth and sophistication of Qur’anic exegesis. ISNA is committed to rectifying this lack of knowledge and expects our administrators to promote ISNA’s values and mission.
This excerpt was taken from Dimensions of the Qur’an, Volume 1; by Sa’dullah Khan. Sheikh Sa’dullah Khan, Director of the Islamic Center of Irvine. in which he discusses the meaning of terms and concepts in this and other verses at length. Specifically regarding “Daraba” he says:
” The problem of abuse comes from the word “Idribuhunne” which is usually translated as “beat them”. The root of this word is “Daraba”. If one consults an Arabic dictionary you would find a long list of meanings ascribed to this word! The list is one of the longest lists in the whole Arabic dictionaries and has so many different meanings. In the Qur’an, depending on the context, one can ascribe different meanings to it, i.e: To travel to get out: 3:156; 4:101; 38:44; 73:20; 1:273 To strike: 2:60; 7:160; 8:12; 20:77; 24:31; 26:63; 37:93; 47:04 To beat: 8:50; 47:27 To set up: 43:58; 57:13 To give (examples): 14:24-45; 16:75,76,112; 18:32,45; 24:35; 30:2858; 36:78; 39:27,29; 43:17; 59:21; 66:10-11 To take away, to ignore: 43:5 To condemn: 2:61 To seal, to draw over: 18:11 To cover: 24:31 To explain: 13:17
Thus, in the Qu’ran alone we witness the verb “Daraba” having at least ten different meanings. “Daraba” has also other meanings which are not mentioned in the Qur’an. For example in the Arabic language, you do not print money—you “Daraba” money, you do not multiply numbers—you “Daraba” numbers, you do not cease the work—you “Daraba” the work-
Webster’s Dictionary gives fourteen meanings to the verb “strike”: hit (against); ignite; (of snake) bite; (of plants) (cause to) take root; attack; hook (fish); sound (time) as bell in clock; affect; arrive at, come upon; enter mind of; discover (gold, oil etc.); dismantle; remove; make (coin); cease work as protest or to make demands. The same dictionary gives eight meanings to the verb “beat”: strike repeatedly; overcome; surpass; stir vigorously with striking action; flag (wings); make, wear (path); throb; sail against wind.
When we encounter a multi-meaning word, we select the proper meaning according to the context, form and common sense. Why the “Daraba”? Why has the Qur’an included the method of a “strike”? The Qu’ran always emphasizes doing good and abstaining from evil. If the Qur’an is looked at as an integrated and cohesive text, situations can be identified where the Qur’an calls for the prohibition of certain things in stages. For example, whereas early revelations discourage the use of intoxicants (2:219, 4:43), the final revelation on this matter clearly condemns and prohibits them (5:93-94).
This is where there is a need to understand the historical context in which the Qur’an was revealed. It is known that in the pre-Islamic period known as the Age of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah), there were gross practices of physical and emotional abuse of females such as female infanticide (killing of babies) and the custom of inheriting the wives of deceased relatives against the will of the women. Verse 4:34, which refers to a strike/tap, was revealed early in the Medinan period at a time when cruelty and violence against women were still rampant. Seen within this context the strike is a restriction on existing practice, and not a recommendation. As Muslim society in Madinah developed towards an ideal state, the final verse in the Qur’an on male – female relationship (9:71) regards women and men as being each other’s protecting friends and guardians (‘awliyya) which emphasizes their cooperation in living together as partners.
In addition, this spirit can be used in viewing the Hadith and classical commentaries by Muslim jurists on the strike or daraba. Ahadith on striking in such a way as not to cause pain (ghayr mubarrih) are reported by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud, Nasa’ie and Ibn Majah. The authorities stress that if a strike is resorted to, it should be merely symbolic such as a strike with a toothbrush or folded handkerchief (Tabari and Razi). Imam Shaf’ie is of the opinion that striking should preferably be avoided completely.”
No one in the American Muslim community cares what Robert Spencer thinks about this. We have our own scholars to help us analyze, interpret, re-interpret, and make decisions on what we believe. Spencer can put down his “white man’s burden” as we don’t need him to guide us.
The fact that he is making such a big deal and attempting to undermine such positive efforts as “Change This” is proof that his only agenda is to demonize Islam and Muslims. He is the only one engaged in deception and denial.
Laleh Bakhtiar’s Qur’an Translation Controversy Over Verse 4:34, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/laheh_bakhtiars_quran_translation_controversy_over_verse_434
Decoding the “DNA of Patriarchy” in Muslim family laws, Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Zainah Anwar http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/decoding-the-dna-of-patriarchy-in-muslim-family-laws
Domestic Violence: A Violation of Islam, Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/domestic-violence-a-violation-of-islam
The Dynamics of Male-Female Relationships: A Contemporary Analysis (Qur’an 4:34), Amina Wadud-Muhsin
Qur’an 4:34: Chastising Women: A Means to Resolve Marital Problems?, AbdulHamid A. Abu Sulayman
Qur’an 4:34 Commentary, Pakistan Tribune
Beating Women, or Beating Around the Bush, Or ... Edip Yuksel
Does Qur’anic verse 4:34 “allow a superior husband to beat his inferior, disobedient wife?” , Linda Boegert
Domestic Violence: A Violation of Islam, Global Muslim Women’s Shura Council http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/domestic-violence-a-violation-of-islam
Domestic Violence and abuse in the Muslim community - Resource collection, compiled by Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/violence_and_abuse_in_the_family
The Dynamics of Male-Female Relationships: A Contemporary Analysis (Qur’an 4:34), Amina Wadud http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_dynamics_of_male_female_relationships_a_contemporary_analysis_quran_434
Interview with Laleh Bakhtiar on The First English Translation of the Qur’an by an American Woman, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/interview_with_laleh_bakhtiar_on_the_first_english_translation_of_the_quran
Leave the Qur’an Out of This, Please!, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa
New Translation Prompts Debate on Islamic Verse, Neil MacFarquhar
Open Quran discourse
Beyond Islamic enlightenment, Ali Eteraz
Furor over a five letter word, Leslie Scrivener
Does the Qur’an Tolerate Domestic Abuse?, Andrea Useem
The Dynamics of Male-Female Relationships: A Contemporary Analysis (Qur’an 4:34), Dr. Amina Wadud http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_dynamics_of_male_female_relationships_a_contemporary_analysis_quran_434
VIDEO: Interview with Laleh Bakhtiar
Grandma’s Qur’an translation raises hackles, Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah
Corporal punishment (beating, or scourging) rebellious women, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Leave the Qur’an Out of This, Please!, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/leave_the_quran_out_of_this_please
Translation in sync with teachings, Asma Barlas http://theithacan.org/am/publish/letters/200704_Translation_in_sync_with_teachings.shtml
Wife beaters set the tone as backward Imams threaten to overwhelm 21st Century Muslims, Mona Eltahawy http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/wife_beaters_set_the_tone_as_backward_imams_threaten_to_overwhelm_21st
Ali Thanvi’s Book “A Gift for the Muslim Couple”?, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/ali-thanvi
Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE) http://www.wisemuslimwomen.org/
RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.). Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan. Biography You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )