by: Asma Uddin on July 14th, 2009 | Comments Off
Altmuslimah has officially launched its photographic campaign – aimed at providing an alternative to the dominant media image of oppressed Muslim women and angry Muslim men.
The purpose of Altmuslimah’s visual campaign is to present Muslim men and women multi-dimensionally, figuratively speaking. The collection highlights the literary contributions of empowered Muslim American women; telling portraits of tenacious Muslim females, young and old; warm, loving Muslim men; the purity of spiritual devotion; and the dynamics of positive gender interaction in Islam.
We’re now featuring slideshows/videos on our main page – check out the upper right hand corner of the Altmuslimah site. Every other week, we’ll feature a different video or slideshow that will include photos and artwork from artists across the world. Artists can make their own video using Animoto, or a slideshow using Slideshare. Please send us the embed link at asma.uddin(at)altmuslimah.com, and we’ll feature your work for 2 weeks. And if you have trouble making your slideshow or video, let us know and we’ll make it for you.
Altmuslimah would also like to help spread the message by offering the embed link to other sites interested in featuring our photos. If you are a blogger or run a web magazine or other website, and are interested in supporting this mission to change the dominant image of Muslim men and women, please contact us.
Many thanks to Paula Lerner, who contributed her photos for our very first video:
Altmuslimah’s Photographic Campaign
I joined the Tikkun blog yesterday and introduced my way of thinking through my initial posts – I hope you enjoyed them! They reflect my balance between traditionalism and measured, meaningful change.
I am both a lawyer and a writer, with most of my writings focused on either gender issues or religious freedom in the American, Muslim, or American-Muslim contexts. As it turns out, some of my legal work also has to do with these issues.
My latest initiative in the gender rights arena is Altmuslimah (www.altmuslimah.com), an online magazine I launched in March 2009. Altmuslimah is dedicated to compelling comment on gender-in-Islam from both male and female perspectives. Our work includes not just the online magazine, but also our recently launched photographic campaign (which you’ll hear more about here at Tikkun), and our on-the-ground activism in anti-domestic violence efforts (which you’ll also be hearing about).
I look forward to interacting with and learning from you!
The compatibility of Islam and pluralism is sometimes defended by referencing examples of Islamic “tolerance” of minorities in centuries past. Some Muslims’ interpretation of pluralism is colored by Islam’s political power in the past, and they define religious tolerance in terms of how religious minorities were treated in the Islamic Empire – that is, as groups that were free to practice their religion as long as they obeyed the Islamic political order and paid taxes in return for protection by the Islamic state. As some modern Islamic thinkers argue, however, this form of religious tolerance is inadequate in light of changing human rights standards. Whereas the Islamic Empire’s notion of religious tolerance may have been appropriate for that time, Muslims in the modern age must re-evaluate and realize that the historical approach to religious tolerance must be modified. Conditional and condescending “tolerance” must be redefined to include mutual respect, equal treatment, and robust pluralism.
Contemporary Muslims’ effort to grapple with pluralism and their political position in relation to the religious “other” is in some ways analogous to the challenge the American religious right has faced realizing that America is not a “Christian country” – at least not in the sense that allows conservative Christianity to hold a privileged position. In both cases, a religious group that once dominated a society is coming to terms with greater diversity and the demands of justice in a pluralistic context.
Last August, Marwa el-Sherbini, an Egyptian pharmacist living in Germany since 2003, was with her toddler son at a playground in the Dresden suburb of Johannstadt. A dispute transpired between her and a man now referred to by public records as “Axel W.” about whether it was her son’s or his niece’s turn to go on the swings. In the course of the argument, W. called el-Sherbini, who wore a headscarf, an “Islamist”, a “terrorist” and “slut”. Angered by the incident, el-Sherbini filed a formal complaint against W.
A local court fined Axel W. €780 (USD$1,100) for calling el-Sherbini a “terrorist”. During the trial, W. continued to insult el-Sherbini, telling her, “You don’t have the right to live here,” and afterwards, he appealed the fine. Last week, he and el-Sherbini appeared in court for his appeal.
As el-Sherbini prepared to testify, W. attacked her inside the courtroom, stabbing her 18 times. El-Sherbini’s husband, Eliv Ali Okaz, intervened during the attack, only to be stabbed by W. and shot by courtroom security, which unexplainably mistook him as the attacker. Okaz is in critical condition. El-Sherbini died on the courtroom floor. Their three-year-old son witnessed the entire episode.