7 Apr 2007

The Muslim awards for Excellence

Khalid Hussenbux and I went to the Muslim News awards for excellence, my most striking memory was of a women in a khaki niquab admonishing Muslim fathers for preventing their daughters from getting out of the house and getting an education!

Karimah bint Dawoud was accepting a prize for excellence in the arts for the work of Karamah Holistic Arts....

The group have produced some interesting work and have a lot to say about how Islam can and should celebrated strong women:

Karimah, a Muslim revert to Islam, of European and Asian African heritage, is proud of the fact that the first person to embrace Islam was a woman, Khadijah the first wife of Prophet Mohammed. Other important women in Islam: Maryam, Aisha and Fatima and the spiritual cosmology associated with these women and the archetypes that they represent, have been an influence for her garment designs. The feminine trinity of virgin, mother, crone also add to the layering of meaning that this collection represents.

The whole event was strong on women and islam, tolerance and with a Muslim stand up comic ('Allah made me funny') humour. Although I thought a lot of the comic's material traded on south asian sterotypes and Bush is an easy target when he mis pronounces 'terrarist'. Equally it is always a bit of worry to go to an event sponsored by Ruth Kelly with a Muslim Admiral, nice chap, whose work title stresses 'weapons'.

Tariq Ramadan won the final award and his statement of the need for 'critical thought, open hearts' although it sounds a bit trite here typed on the blog in cold letters, was exactly right....he stressed the need for strong intellectual argument, critical engagement (we don't get too much of that in much politics and religion in my personal opinion) with an opnenness to 'others'. His wiki entry is here

I haven't engaged with Ramadan's writings and thought but I will! I have just sent off for his book on To Be a European Muslim....it will be interesting to see to what extent he can square his type of Islamic orthadoxy with 'liberal' pluralist approaches to sexuality, citizenship and the other big issues.

Khalid who is the first muslim member of the Green Party executive, has a lot of interesting things to say....'Islam does not have a problem with women, Muslim men have a problem with women, infact men have a problem with women'...'religion must be seperated from (sexist/intolerant) culture' he is also keen to state that the Koran proclaims the need to protect the Earth.

I am sure that there will be a lot of sharp debates on islam and politics but the need to build bridges and work with Muslims is vital.

More here

Do look at LINE....their contribution to green campaigning is impressive and should interest all.


Mike Armstrong said...

Derek - just so long as in building bridges with the people who claim to speak for one religious group (actually a diverse bunch of people many of whom are effectively secular) you don't burn bridges with those of us who are supporting the Green Party because it offers the best chance for a secular society free from the domination of religion. (c.f. Scottish Greens)

Derek Wall said...

dialogue is important, intolerance is of course unacceptable from where ever it comes and as I note, the subject is going to involve some pretty sharp areas of disagreement but lets not reject working with say our CND supporting/ green party voting local vicar, whether we believe in god or not.

I guess from my post you will pick up the fact that I am aware the Muslims like christians or socialist or greens or people in general are diverse...

I certainly would say have a look at LINE and other muslims who are doing good green work....they have some interesting things to say.

Idriveahummer! said...

es I wonder where such a dialogue between Greens and Muslims will lead... Perhaps in the near future we will see green protestors with signs like "behead those who disagree with our view on climate change!" Both sets of people tend to be dogmatic, hence the fusion between Islamists and socialists that forms 'Respect'. Sad the Greens may go the same way.

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