On Islam and Women

Over the past month I have been participating in a group in which the issue of the nature of Islam particularly in regard to its relationship to women has come up. Many members of this Christo-Pagan group believe as do many  other people within the United States that Islam within its inter core is a violent and misogynist faith. For example many members believe that Islam commands husbands  to beat their wives and that the general effect of Islam even at its origins has been to support the domination of men over women. Even though these persons dislike Christian fundamentalism intensely they will often cite the writings  of Christian fundamentalists who supposedly have some expertize on Islam in support of their ideas. This attitude of negativism toward Islam is in marked contrast to the attitude of many Christo-Pagans regarding Christian origins.  Christo-Pagans often believe that the “real teachings” of Jesus was a message of love and that Jesus was a radical supporter of the rights of women. Only latter was this message corrupted by the forces of patriarchy. In contrast many Christo-Pagans believe that the Koran and Mohammed himself had misogynist views toward women from the beginning. Thus in contrast to Christianity, Islam has no redeeming positive core. That I believe is a profound error.
While my own theological beliefs are incompatible in many ways with those of Islam, I tend to want to argue in favor of  those  religions which I believe are being defamed. In past discussions on the internet I have argued against Christian fundamentalists in favor of Islam. I have also argued in defence of Christianity against  bigoted members of the Islamic community  who have argued for example that  St. Paul was a gay  pediphile or that Christianity has been guilty of hundreds of millions of deaths through out its history. All demonization of  the religions of others should be opposed. In the case of Islam which polls  http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2006/03/american-attitudes-toward-islam-and-muslims
show  is very unpopular in American society, I think that it is particularly important to point out the myths  that are often spread. In the next few posts I want to point out first that a world wide Islamic feminist movement exists which interprets the Koran and the life of Mohammed as in fact helping to liberate women from traditional male patriarchal structures. I also want to post some articles by one of the founders of the modern Islamic feminist movement Amina Wadud in which she shares her own thoughts and attitudes regarding the Koran and life of the Mohammed. Finally I want share a writing regarding the issue of whether the Koran encourages the beating of wives by husbands.

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