Friday, May 04, 2007

Ask A Muslim?

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Mona Darwich Gatto has a blog called Salaam Sahuarita (ironically I started Salaam Tucson just prior to her blog) and a column that appears in local papers called Ask a Muslim. This in and of itself is good. I think that people should express themselves (within reason), and I am not one to knock someone else's hobby or hustle. What I do ask for though is truth in labeling. I am not saying that because she holds views that I don't consistently share. I say this because from reading her tag line on her article she describes herself as an Arab-American. The last time that I checked Arab-American or even Arab does not automatically equate to being Muslim. The video advertisement for the Catholic diocese of Tucson that is in her article didn't reassure me either (although in all fairness, this probably the result of the newspaper and not her). Also, from what she described in her article about women who wear hijab, she sounds as though she has interacted with and among Muslims, but she doesn't come out and say that she is a Muslim (other than the title of the article). From her explanation of the hijab being essentially a tool of oppression that is forced on Arab women, and that many female converts "buy into", shows that her knowledge or understanding of Islam is superficial at best.

It appears that she as many other Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Malaysians, and Reverts to Islam sometimes confuse the deen of Islam with Arab culture. I personally agree with sisters who do not wear a hijab, but at the same time I knock them, because I don't have to answer for them. A Muslim woman who does where hijab once told me that if a woman wears hijab while making salaat (prayer) because she is humbling herself and displaying modesty because she is before God. Why would she remove it when she is out in public?

I feel that by virtue of being an Arab does not give a person a license to speak as an expert on Islam, and whether she sees it that way or not that is what she's doing. Many of the non-Muslims who read her blogs/articles feel that they are receiving information from a vetted source, and this may be why many of the Muslim sisters who do wear hijab face harassment from non-Muslims who feel that they are being oppressed. It emboldens them to act out of ignorance, but then we should consider the source. Taking advice about Muslim women who wear hijabs from a woman who doesn't wear a hijab, is like having a fat person sell you a membership to Weight Watchers!

I read some of her blogs, and she appears to be a nice enough woman and sister in Islam, but please play your lane. Speak to local Tucson sisters who do wear hijab, and you may gain some insight and a new perspective.

No comments: