This past week, Malaysia banned an Islamic sex manual put out by the controversial group Obedient Wives Club, whose statements have caused a stir. The Obedient Wives Club maintains that wives meet only 10% of their husbands’ needs and thus this manual instructs Muslim women to be subservient and obedient to their husbands sexually. Furthermore, they maintain that it is the wife’s job to prevent her husband from being adulterous by acting like a prostitute. Finally, they encourage polygamy. Although the manual does not contain any pictures, it is very descriptive. Moreover, the manual suggests that it is acceptable for polygamous men to have sex with all their wives at the same time. Continue reading
This month a new reality show will start airing in Malaysia. Solehah, which means “pious one,” is a reality show where women compete to be named the best preacher. Contestants will be judged on their religious knowledge, personality, and oratory abilities.
What makes this show unusual is the fact that women are competing in a field usually reserved for men. There is already a hit reality show called Imam Muda in Malaysia where men compete to be the best imam. Women can give dawah (call to Islam) but men are often at the forefront. This show, however, demonstrates the role that women play in communicating the faith. Continue reading
“Imam Muda” (Young Imam), a Malaysian Islamic reality show searching for the next young imam, just began its second season this week. The show, based on “American Idol” and “The X Factor,” first aired in 2010. The show now has a bigger following and has drawn over 1,000 possible contestants from around Southeast Asia.
Last month, three women were caned in Malaysia for extramarital sex. The Malaysian government said that these canings were carried out under sharia, Islamic law. These women were the first to receive this kind of punishment. Many in Malaysia and in human rights groups have condemned these canings and have called for Malaysia to stop using this kind of corporal punishment.
This story for me raises a number of issues related to Islamic law. First, it raises the question of what exactly Islamic law means for people nowadays. If these women were in fact receiving a punishment in accordance with religious law, is it really possible that all the conditions were met?According to Asifa Quraishi, a law professor at UW-Madison, who was on the Inside Islam radio show Women and Shariah, there are specific conditions that must be met in order for an individual to receive corporal punishment for extramarital sex that include having four people testify that they witnessed the actual act. They also have to concur on all the details. How likely is it that these three women were seen in this situation? Continue reading
Dave Wood, a listener of the Inside Islam radio series on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, writes:
I wish I was writing with typical accolades but unfortunately I’m sending a note about my disappointment in your Inside Islam series. I think it not only lacks objective reporting but, even worse, it whitewashes Islam leaving your listener less prepared to identify radical Islam’s threat to our freedom and culture. Perhaps most important, your program does not challenge Muslims to face the profound human rights issues their religion faces.
Next on the Inside Islam radio series: Love and Dating in the Muslim World: True Stories of Finding Love. Do Muslims date? If they don’t date, how do they decide whom to marry? To investigate the changing nature of Muslim courtship, Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders is collecting love stories from Muslims living in Madison, Wisconsin. You’ll be hearing them in the Valentine’s Day edition of Inside Islam on Thursday, February 18 (rescheduled from February 12) when we talk with the BBC’s Navid Akhtar, producer of the series “Modern Muslim Marriage.” Akhtar talked to young people in Britain, Malaysia, and Iran about their hopes, frustrations, and expectations about finding a mate, Muslim women who marry outside their faith, Muslim women who initiate divorce and Muslim divorcees looking for love again. But don’t call it dating. Dating is what non-Muslims do and it almost always leads to something sinful. Do you have a great story to tell? Give your opinion! Share your views! Tell your story! Make your comments below!
Update: February 10, 2009: The show has been moved to Wednesday, February 18, 2009. Also, you can listen to a radio promo posted on the radio show page for this show (link in the update below).
Update: February 6, 2009: The radio show page for “Love and Dating in the Muslim World” is now live. Find out how to listen to the show online, on the radio, or subscribe to our podcast. Also, check back for updated information on the show and additional resources on related topics leading up to the broadcast.
President Obama and the Muslim World Reading List
- Haroon Moghul thinks that President Obama’s interview with Al-Arabiya would have been a stronger statement if it had been given on the Al Jazeera network in Muslim World: “Americans Are Not Your Enemy” (Avari).
- Andrew Sullivan from The Atlantic says respect is the key impression that “The Al-Arabiya Move” made. He also features a personal perspective from a reader about his Muslim family’s reaction.
- Jordanian blogger for The Black Iris is “realistic” about real change happening in the Arab world.
- Nas, another blogger from The Black Iris, points out how hard it is to reconcile US armed forces in the Arab world with Obama’s statement that “the Americans are not your enemy” in “Obama on the Muslim World.”
- International columnist for The Moderate Voice Swaraaj Chaunhan asks “Barack Obama in the White House: What Next?“
- Watandost offers potential answers to the question “How can Obama Administration Deal with Iran?” and outlines the administration’s agenda in Pakistan.
- Blogger Tariq Nelson says so far so good.
- Obama Tells Muslims That ‘Americans Are Not Your Enemy’ (Radio Free Europe).
- Xaalen from Ijtema highlights the article “Barack Obama and the African American as World Citizen“
- Blogger Umar Lee writes “Obama The New President, America Far From Post-Racial: A Drive Down MLK.”
- Muslimmatters published a letter from the former prime minister of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir to Barack Obama on Inauguration Day.
- Muslimah Media Watch blogger Krista discusses Ingrid Mattson’s invite to lead a prayer at the National Prayer Service.
Do you have a blog post or article you think should be added to this? Send us an email with the link or comment below and we’ll update the post. What do you think about the Obama presidency and its relations with the Muslim World so far? Is it too soon to tell? Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below.
In my conversation yesterday with Norhayati Kaprawi, the program manager of Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian women’s rights advocacy group, I got a feeling of déjà vu. So much of what she told me about the group’s efforts to educate and empower women about their rights reminded me of what American women went through in the sixties when we begat a social revolution just by talking with one another around our kitchen tables.