Don’t let the fanatics win.

Islamic scholar Amina Wadud’s lecture has been cancelled in India.

Amina Wadud is called Islamic feminist. I personally do not think any devout Muslim can be a feminist. The reason for my doubt is, all religions including islam are anti-Women.

Amina Wadud is a veiled Muslim. She has been fighting for the right of Muslim women to become Imams. She made her dreams come true, she led some mixed-gender prayers.


It is not easy to do because Islam as one of the misogynistic religions is against female leadership. Amina Wadud has so far managed to play the role of Imam in some prayers though, but obviously fanatics haven’t appreciated it. They do not want to stand behind a woman. Why should they? Allah himself placed men above women. Accepting female leadership means ignoring Allah the almighty.

Islam says:

It is preferable for women to pray in congregation, led by another woman, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, told Umm Waraqah to lead the women of her household in Prayer. There is some difference among scholars on this matter. (See Al-Mughni, 2/202 and Al-Majmu`, 4/84-85) The woman leading the Prayer should read aloud as long as no non-mahram man can hear her. It is permissible for women to go out and pray in the mosque with men, although their Prayer at home is better, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Do not prevent the women from going out to the mosques, even though their homes are better for them.”

Imam An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “Women differ from men in congregational Prayer in some ways:

a) Congregational Prayer is not required of them in the same way as it is of men.

b) In case a woman leads a group of women in Prayer, she stands in the middle of the (first) row.

c) If one woman led by a man, she should stand behind him, not next to him.

d) If women are praying in rows behind men, the back rows are better for them than the front rows.” (Al-Majmu`, 3/455)

Nothing fails like prayers. If women lead Muslim prayers, Islam will not turn from misogynistic to egalitarian religion, or the fiction will not be facts. It will remain as unscientific, unequal, unethical, inhuman as it is today. But still Amina Wadud’s right to express her opinions on female leading Islamic prayers should not be violated. But her right has been violated only because some Muslim fanatics who believe in the acts of violence and no free speech do not want her speak.

Amina Wadud is not alone. Other freethinkers are also not allowed to speak their mind. I have been prevented to live in West Bengal only because some fanatics might get unhappy if I do. Once the authority fulfills their weird wishes to shut one’s mouth, they believe they have now the right to continue shutting others’ mouths. And it becomes a trend.

If you love your country and people, please don’t let the religious fanatics to go unopposed. If you want well-being of humanity, you will not let the fanatics win.

Islam celebrates insanity

We live in a world where we get punished for being liberal. Raef Badawi, the Saudi rights activist is now sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes for setting up a liberal network and for ‘insulting Islam’. The Liberal Network is now banned. Anything ‘liberal’ or progressive or secular or scientific is anti-Islam. Isn’t it?

Saudi Arabia is part of our world. I don’t know how many people and how many states would sincerely condemn Saudi authority for its insanity? It is very alarming that Muslim countries are increasing influenced by Saudi Arabia. Non Arabic Muslims are often forced to follow Saudi culture. Free thinkers are getting executed, prisoned, exiled by almost all Islamic states. Violating freedom of expression has now become a synonym of Islamic culture.

For the sake of humanity, please stop the authorities from becoming completely insane. Islam may celebrate insanity, but most inhabitants of today’s earth do not.

‘Smart’ Islamists!

Some Islamists are quite smart.
Tariq Ramadan is.
Mehdi Hasan is.
Mehdi Hasan looks smart, he sounds smart. He knows smart street-magician-tricks. He studied at smart universities. He is smart when he debates, he argues, he attacks. But his smartness ends here. Like any moron, he sincerely believes all the Islamic fictions as facts. For example, he believes Muhammad went to heaven on a winged horse. He can not be truly sharp and smart. He foolishly tried to be smart by revealing his beliefs in Islamic fairy tales and superstitions while interviewing Richard Dawkins.

I am surprised how the same Mehdi Hasan, the Islamist, the believers of buraq, the winged horse, won the oxford union debate on Islam is not a peaceful religion.

He says Islam is a peaceful religion because not all Muslims believe in violence, and once upon a time some Muslims were mathematicians. Nobody denies the facts that most Muslims do not commit violence and once upon a time some Muslims were mathematicians. We do not deny that Islam was a powerful force for change, expanding throughout the world and winning the hearts of the multitudes. Islamic civilization was the richest and most advanced civilization in the world during the early Middle Ages, particularly in the mid-eighth through the mid-eleventh centuries, and perhaps reached its peak during the ninth century. In comparison, the culture of Europe crept far behind. But it does not prove that Islam is a religion of peace. It does not delete the pages of the Quran that asks to kill infidels and non-Muslims. Now, even if 99.99% Muslims do not terrorize the world and o not kill infidels and non-Muslims, it is still not a proof of Islam being peaceful. The truth is, there is no difference between the Islam of the 7th century and the Islam the terrorists use today.

Mehdi Hasan said that some Muslim philosophers helped Europe to be enlightened. But he did not say why those philosophers did not help Muslim countries to be enlightened! The Bible teaches that the children of adulterous women should be killed ( (Revelation 2:22-23 ). But the truth is, the vast majority of Christians do not kill the children of adulterous women. It doesn’t mean that the Bible doesn’t teach that adulterous women’s children should be killed. It means that the vast majority of Christians do not think it is a good idea to kill the children of adulterous women. Similarly most Muslims do not think it is a good idea to terrorize the world and kill people. Most people of all religions just want to live their life comfortably and peacefully. Their wishes of not being involved in terrorist activities are not related to the teachings of the Quran and the Hadiths. The credit for most Muslims being non-evil, should not go to religions, but should go to the people who have been influenced by the golden rule and a century-long human rights movements, the credit should go to the people who have learned to restrain themselves from doing religious crimes.

Mehdi Hasan, the followers of a charlatan’s religion, does not deserve to win the Oxford Union debate. But we all know that shit happens.

‘Burka Avenger’

Bina Shah is a Pakistani feminist writer. She expressed her opinions on Burka Avenger. Burka Avenger is a new TV cartoon series for children. The main character of Burka Avenger is a woman, mild-mannered schoolteacher by day, superhero by night, who wears a burka in order to fight villains in her village. The villains try to shut down the girls’ schools. Let’s read what Bina Shah wrote:

‘I’m especially pleased that the superhero is a woman, not a man. Pakistani society is hypermasculinized: children are used to seeing men in positions of power and authority, as leaders, military men, policemen, et cetera. They absorb this as the natural order of things from such early ages that it’s almost impossible to undo this conditioning later in life. Whereas the women of Pakistan are the silent heroes on the frontlines of the war we’ve got ourselves involved in today: schoolteachers, health workers and human rights activists are targeted by extremists and attacked and killed for going out and doing their ordinary jobs. It’s wonderful to see a woman being feted for something so true to life, and also to see that when her job is threatened, she doesn’t succumb to the aggression but instead fights back and triumphs. The children of Pakistan need this lesson as well.’

‘The superhero’s costume is such an integral part of his or her identity that it’s hard to escape from the question of whether or not the burka is an appropriate choice for Pakistan’s first female superhero. Yes, the burka is oppressive… the burka provides women with a modicum of agency. Women who would be confined to their houses are allowed to go out if they are wearing a burka.

I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Should we perpetuate the idea that women are strong when they put on the burka? Definitely not. Pakistani girls and women need to know that their natural state of being is not hidden away, shrouded by yards of black cloth to make their presence in society acceptable, safe, or halal. They need to learn that modesty can be interpreted in many different ways, and that a simple shalwar kameez and dupatta are good enough for us, because we’re Pakistanis, not Arabs. It will horrify me if little girls start wearing burkas in imitation of their hero, because that would be indoctrination of the worst kind.

My perfect ending to the Burka Avenger series would be that after the villains are vanquished, Jiya hangs up her burka in the closet and never needs to wear it again.’

But the question is why should Jiya, the superhero, hang up her burka in the closet if she never needs to wear it? Isn’t it better if she just throw the burka in the garbage?

An Excellent Response to Stupidity

I just love this excellent letter written by Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Such a wonderful response to those ‘educated’ women who are proud of being veiled Muslims and who foolishly defend Islam, the anti-women religion. The author of this letter is a man. I am proud of men like Kunwar Khuldune, who believe in women’s rights.

A letter of gratitude to #MuslimahPride social media jihadis!

Dear Muslimaat,
I don’t have words to express my gratitude and appreciation for your noble battle against evil. Your #MuslimahPride movement against #Femen was a slap on the collective face of Western imperialists who believe that Muslim women can’t fight for a cause. It was also a resounding reminder for the rest of the world that you have what it takes to spark a revolution. What the ignorant world does not realise is that once you have the permission of your husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, the approval of your neighbours, in-laws, their relatives and the consent of your spiritual guardians, their God and their scriptures, you can be quite the rebels.

It takes a lot of courage to ridicule something that is already taboo where you live. It takes volumes of bravery and valour to bow down to the status quo, and toe the lines that have been forced upon you. It takes unbelievable amounts of gallantry to act out a script that someone else has written for you. And it must take guts and the proverbial cojones to take a stand against cruelty and the personification of tyranny that a horde of topless women is.

Who on earth are those damn Europeans to try to steal your voice? Do they not realise that your lives were defined a million-and-a-half ago by the Arabs, who protected your rights and guarded your modesty by ensuring that you don’t have much of a say in most things? Who are those unabashed infidels to protest on your behalf? Do they not realise that you are not allowed to express, let alone clamour in favour of, anything that contradicts the ostensibly divine scriptures? Who are those shameless activists to try and liberate you? Do they not realise that you can’t be liberated without the permission of your mehrams?

I can’t thank you enough for choosing to be more offended by naked bodies than dead bodies. And since there are so many different kinds of you to thank, I’ll try to address you one by one.

Dear ‘guardians of modesty’ Muslimaat, thank you for letting patriarchal societies define ‘modesty’ for you. Thank you for accepting contrasting definitions of modesty for men and women, and for not being a source of strength for your sisters and daughters, vindicating the men’s claim of you being the weaker sex. Thank you for teaching your daughters about the sin that having sex is, throughout their lives, and then compelling them to do it immediately with a man they first met a couple of hours ago, after signing a few papers and getting the clergy’s approval. Also, thank you for blaming your fellow women when they are raped, since men have the divine license to refuse to keep their emotions in the right place. And thank you very very much for being more misogynistic than any male chauvinist can ever possibly be.

Dear ‘feminist’ Muslimaat, thank you for being a ray of hope for bacon-eating vegetarians, god-fearing atheists and peace-loving terrorists. Thank you for reiterating the fact that your mehrams choose to overlook the divine orders and allow you to think freely and take your own decisions. Thank you for citing your personal example to highlight how you wear the hijab by your own choice, ignoring the fact that an overwhelming majority of Muslim women are coerced into doing so. Thank you very much for making the whole debate about you, when it was always about the torment and suffering that most of the Muslim women are going through.

Dear ‘liberal’ Muslimaat, thank you for defying the orders of your deity by choosing to not cover your heads. Thank you for disregarding other restrictions that your religion commands, and then having the audacity to condemn someone who is critical of these very commands. Thank you for cherry picking the commandments and making your ideology sound compatible with the 21st century, only to castigate those that take the same ideological orders literally and implement them. Thanks a lot for elucidating that you don’t need liberation and for paying no heed to the fact that the most of the women in your country do. And thank you very much for clinging on to those very shackles that have enchained the prospect of women empowerment in your country.

Dear ‘revolutionary’ Muslimaat, thank you for ignoring the life threats that Amina Tyler and many others like her are facing, after choosing to protest against the harassment that they have to bear on a daily basis. Thank you for overlooking other lesser issues like terrorists attacking a 15-year-old schoolgirl; female genital mutilation; women being raped with judicial approval just so they don’t die virgins; two-year-old girls being forced to wear veils because the disgusting men in your country have no self-control; and fathers legally getting away with raping their daughters by paying a few riyals. Thank you very much for screaming bloody murder over half-naked women’s claim of representing you, but accepting rapists, pedophiles and sorry excuses for human beings as your state leaders and role models.

#MuslimahPride is not just a hashtag, it’s a symbol of integrity and pride. It’s about taking pride in inequality, in half testimonies, in blaming rape victims and in gender discrimination. It’s about taking pride in chauvinism, where men have divine permission to beat and rape their wives, marry multiple times and possess slave girls. It’s about taking pride in patriarchal societies where husbands are categorically told in detail how they should punish their “disobedient” wives, while not a single text exclusively tells women what they should do with unfaithful husbands. It’s about taking pride in not being allowed to vote, let alone lead your nations, and about finally being allowed to ride a goddamn bicycle – under a mehram’s supervision – in the year 2013 AD.

The #MuslimahPride jihad will be written down in history as the moment where Muslimaat made it clear to the world that no one should protest on their behalf, half-naked or otherwise. Thank you, dear Muslimaat, for saving the rest of the world’s time by clarifying that you’re fine living in the 7th century AD, and no one should push you towards the enlightened times, regardless of whether they have clothes on or not. Thank you for being a source of inspiration and an illuminating example for everyone. We all know that you have what it takes to transform the plight of the women and change the dynamics of the world, as long as you are back home before sunset.

More power to you.

PS: I hope being addressed as ‘dear’ does not land you in trouble with your oversensitive male guardians.

Yours thankfully,

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Bravo Kunwar!

Why Religion is Anti-Women

Martin S Pribble is my guest today. He is an Australian atheist- feminist. He has written this post for my respected readers. I hope you would like his opinions.

‘I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I am an atheist. All this means that I hold no belief in God or gods. I could be called an “anti-theist” because of my distaste for organised religions and the harm caused by them. I am also an “a-superstitionist”, a humanist, an environmentalist, and a male feminist. These are all separate to my atheism, but the edges of these “ists” cross over in several areas.

For instance, my dismissal of superstition crosses over into my atheism in the fact that religions are built upon a bed of superstitions, and all superstitions are equally false. Humanism and atheism cross over in areas where atrocities against people are bolstered by religious dogma and doctrine, or where religions are used as an excuse to kill and torture people. Environmentalism and atheism cross paths where dominionist groups such as The Cornwall Alliance use their belief in god to justify the pillaging of the earth’s remaining resources, all because the Bible says that it’s OK to do so.

But the biggest crossover occurs between atheism, Anti-theism and feminism. This is because most religions hold women to be second-class, and some even go so far as to blame women for all the evils in the world. Particularly in the Abrahamic religions, the ones I am most familiar with, women are blamed for the “fall of man” in the garden of Eden in the genesis chapters of the Old Testament, and it’s all downhill from there.

Throughout these holy books, women are mere secondary players in their versions of the origins of humankind, with all the “good” and “big” things being played out by men. With the exception of Mary, who was a mere receptacle for the unborn Christ, no other women are attributed with doing anything “good” in these stories. In fact one could say that women are often blamed for such things as seduction and “leading men astray” with their evil feminine prowess.

This is all back-story, however, and matters little in today’s world, unless you try to figure out why women are treated badly when under the control of a religious society. What matter is what is happening now, in the name of religion, and in the name of culture, that hinders the rights and positions of women.

Under the guise of religion, attempts are being made to control the reproductive rights of women, claiming that since god put a soul in a woman’s womb, that it’s god’s will that a baby be born. Under the guise of religion, women are expected to shave their heads and wear a wig, because their real hair is seen as evil or “a temptation”. Under the guise of religion, girls as young as nine are forced into arranged marriage, using the example of Mohammed and Aisha as justification. Under the guise of religion, women are denied the right to become a religious leader, and in some cases, are not even allowed into a place of worship.

In all of these examples, religion is used as an excuse, or a reason, for the subjugation of women. Yet in most cases the religions that people use to justify them make no mention of these practices directly, either in a ritualistic sense, or in an allegorical sense. In fact, what we see is the translations of ancient texts into whatever language the people within a society speak, then at the behest of the men in charge of the region, cultural practices are inflated out of these ideas. And this is not something that happened by chance, it happened by design.

Culture then holds onto these practices to keep them alive. This makes some kind of sense, for men are the ones in power, and it is in their interest to keep all people in a state of powerlessness. So by instantly discounting 50% of the population, half the job is already done, and it just leaves the men to get on with whatever business is at hand. If ever challenged on these practices, all a man need do is point at the holy book and threaten, not only from their own man-made power structure, but from the powers of the almighty god. Women are to be subordinate. The Bible says so.

The point here is not whether the old books explicitly state that women are to be treated as second-class citizens. The point is that the religions are used as a justification for such acts, and that women bear the brunt of these interpretations of the holy books. When Pat Robertson spins hatred toward women, he does so with the apparent authority of God (tornadoes). When the mullah shows disapproval at the baring of women’s breasts, he does so under the name of Allah (earthquakes). When an Islamic man beats his wife, he justifies it using Sura 4:34, which allows this practice.

As a man, I can’t tell you how it feels to be the one discriminated against in the name of religion, for I will never know that. Neither can I tell you what it feels like to have the whole religious card-deck stacked up against you. What I can tell you is that I recognise it is wrong, and that I can do something about this. The systematic deconstruction of the anti-women tenets of religion is needed, and from this standpoint, we can then work toward destroying the cultural practices that use religion to justify their existences.

The humanist in me says that this idea goes for any and all practices that hold down men and women, and I know this is like trying to put out a wildfire with a water-pistol, but I feel starting with 50% agenda (i.e. that of women) is a better place to start than any other. This is because the anti-women rhetoric appears not only in the context of religion, but also in everyday society. If a practice impinged upon man and women both it would be much more likely to be addressed.

What we see here, and one of the main reasons why I am against organised religion, is the justification of age-old practices in a time when we know better. Not saying that the practices were ever right; they weren’t. However at the times of the writings of these holy books, there was no recourse for women. Now, we have the power, the numbers, the information, and the means to show that bronze-age patriarchal practices hold no place in modern society. This is the hangover from a time when religion held power, when the word of the priest was more important that the word of the scholar.’

I feel safe because I do not live with a husband or a boyfriend.

I was reading today’s news about how a doctor woman was killed by her doctor husband in Pittsburgh. I was thinking how they lived their family life in their nice beautiful house, whether they woke up in the morning and said good morning to each other, and then had breakfast together, whether they used to go to parties, theaters, vacations together, come home, watch TV, make love! What kind of life a couple could live when one planned to murder the other one? I imagined Dr Robert Ferrante as my husband. I told him about my happiness and sorrows, about my childhood and my youth, and about my love and my dreams, he listened to me and planned to kill me, I was cooking the food he liked and I was serving him dinner every night, while he was sitting on a dinning chair planning to poison me. I was passionately making love to him while he was planning to eliminate me. And one day he finally murdered me.

It does not happen only in Pittsburgh in the USA, it happens in Pirozpore in Bangladesh, in St. Petersburg in Russia, in Porto Novo in Benin, in Piteå in Sweden as well.

Two cheers for democracy!

Ghulam azam, a 91-year-old war criminal, has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for the crimes he committed during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.

A collaborator of the Pakistani army, Azam was directly involved in killing 3 million people and the rapes of 200,000 women. After the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh, Azam returned to the country with the help of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Meanwhile, the Jamaat-e-Islami, the once-banned political party of Islamists, was given a free hand in the Islamisation of politics. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Islamisation went on to destroy the secular fabric of the newborn nation.

Of course, Azam will not live another 90 years to end his prison term. An ailing man, he will stay in the hospital until he dies. He will not really suffer like other prisoners. He enjoyed a celebrity life for more than 40 years as the top leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh, the country whose birth he had violently opposed. Even though he will be privileged as a prisoner in his last days, still his punishment means a lot for the secular people in Bangladesh.

The war criminals have got every opportunity to turn a secular country into Darul Islam, the land of Islam. Many of them were even made Parliament members. The Jamaat-e-Islami uses religion to win the hearts and minds of god-fearing ordinary people.

A few months ago, however, there was a big secular uprising despite the threats of the Islamic fundamentalists. Many secularists demanded the banning of Jamaat-e-Islami. I supported that demand even though I am all for democracy, because the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh is a terrorist organisation. The Islamists aim to bring theocracy and bury democracy and secularism forever.

The punishment Azam got now in his 90s is just a symbolic one. Sheikh Hasina has been in power before, but she was reluctant to bring war criminals to justice. But this time, probably, the popularity of the recent secular movement made her decide to punish war criminals. She got a huge number of votes in the last election after she promised to bring them to justice and fight the fundamentalists. Though she also promised to bring back 1972’s secular Constitution, as Prime Minister she showed no such initiative.

Her party is considered the most secular in Bangladesh, yet they arrested some secularist bloggers a few months ago. Indeed, there is no true secular political party in the country that can assure the security of all the people, including non-believers, and protect their right to express their opinions fearlessly.

Bangladesh may have won the war in 1971, but the war actually is far from over. A war is still going on, a war of two opposite ideas — secularism and fundamentalism; between rational, logical thinking and irrational blind faith; between modernism and barbarism, humanism and Islamism; between those who value freedom and those who do not.

The old generation committed an enormous mistake by letting fundamentalists influence the people. Now the new generation has to transmute their country into a secular nation — free of religion, fanaticism, fascism and barbarism. People need to get angry. I am painfully aware of the evil powers that once attempted to eliminate me, and with whom the pro-Islamist government ultimately conspired to throw me out of Bangladesh, my own country, 20 years ago, never to allow me in again.

Therefore, I would love to see millions of angry, passionate young people with a vision rise against the Islamists’ insanity, and guide the country to a new era.

Mid-day deaths


I learned about poverty when I learned about school children that stopped going to schools because they were not given free mid-day meal anymore. Just a little poor quality rice, and a little poor quality lentil they could get. But that was their main meal for a day. Mid-day meal was the main attraction for children to go to schools. After the scheme was closed, there were schools, there were teachers, but there was no mid-day meal and there was no student. Then one day the scheme was reopened. Children began to go to schools for both a meal and an education.

I learned about insanity when I learned how the poor school children were poisoned. Mid-day meal was cooked with deadly pesticide. 23 children died immediately. They were supposed to become educated and get rid of their poverty. They were supposed to enlighten their society.

Salute to the brave girl!

11 year old Yemeni girl Nada Al Ahdal escaped arranged marriage.

My grandmother was given in marriage when she was 9. My mother was forced to marry when she was 10.
My grandmother could not escape her arranged marriage. My mother could not.
Hundreds of thousands of girls who are victims of child marriage can not.

I wish all the children in the world learned from Nada Al Ahdal and became brave. I wish all the parents in the world who didn’t believe in children’s rights learned from the little girl and became sane.