Feminist theologians have long pointed out the need to think critically about what is and isn’t called a sin. Naming sins is an enterprise engaged in by the powerful, and it has real effects on those deemed “sinners.” Labeling something a “sin” often works as a bait and switch, distracting people from naming the violence and injustices that really matter. It was pretty convenient for patriarchal religious authorities to call “pride” a sin and “humility” a virtue, pretty savvy to make it a sin for women to speak up and speak out in church, pretty calculating to call submission a godly obligation and resistance an abomination. Those with the power to name what counts as a crime rarely end up in jail.
So here’s my proposal, Ms. Pelosi: If I tweet you the photographs taken by American soldiers of the torture that took place at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, will you call for a House ethics committee to investigate those who authorized that torture? I’m also more than happy to tweet you the link to the torture memos in case you need to read those again to make your case to Congress. Do we have a deal?
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
It looked like this in Germany in 1938 on Kristallnacht, in Rwanda in 1994 when the Hutus savaged the Tutsis, in America in 1942 when the Japanese were herded behind barbed wire.
My point is explicitly not that Muslims face mass vandalism, genocide or internment. Lord only knows what they face. Rather, my point is that the psychological architecture of what happened then is identical to the psychological architecture of Murfreesboro now. Once again, we see people goaded by their own night terrors, hatreds, need for scapegoats, and by the repetitive booming of demagogues, until they go to a place beyond reason.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Amazingly hilarious piece featuring a young woman in support of a mosque expansion project in Temecula. She made the FINAL public comment in a NINE hour city council meeting.
Additional information on the mosque expansion: CAIR-LA
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Some dubbed it "The Year of the Woman." But despite "mama grizzly" talk and a crop of high-profile female candidates, last year's elections resulted in no net additions to the female ranks of the Senate and, for the first time since 1978, a net loss in the House. In fact, more than 90 years after the first woman was elected to Congress, female politicians still hold less than a fifth of all national seats, and do only slightly better at the state level. But that's more than just a blow for diversity and equality, according to a forthcoming study in the American Journal of Political Science—because women also rank as the most effective lawmakers in the land.
The research is the first to compare the performance of male and female politicians nationally, and it finds that female members of the House rout their male counterparts in both pulling pork and shaping policy. Between 1984 and 2004, women won their home districts an average of $49 million more per year than their male counterparts (a finding that held regardless of party, geography, committee position, tenure in office, or margin of victory). The spending jump was found within districts, too, when women moved into seats previously occupied by men, and the cash was for projects across the spectrum, not just "women's issues."
A similar performance gap showed up in policy: Women sponsored more bills (an average of three more per Congress), co-sponsored more bills (an average of 26 more per Congress), and attracted a greater number of co-sponsors than their colleagues who use the other restroom. These new laws driven by women were not only enacted—they were popular. In a pair of additional working papers, led by Ohio State political scientists Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman, researchers tracked every bill introduced between 1981 and 2009, and found that those sponsored by women survived deeper into the legislative process, garnered more press attention, and were more likely to be deemed "important" overall. All of which leads the authors of the AJPS paper, University of Chicago Public Policy Professor Christopher Berry and his student and Stanford doctoral candidate Sarah Anzia, to conclude that it’s the women themselves—specifically, their skills at "logrolling, agenda-setting, coalition building, and other deal-making activities"— that are responsible for the gender-performance divide.
So are women just innately better politicians? Probably not. More likely, say Berry and Anzia, female politicians are better than men because, as in other fields, they simply have to be. More than 90 years after the first woman was elected to Congress, female politicians still hold less than a fifth of all national seats, and do only slightly better at the state level. In order to overcome lingering bias against women in leadership positions, those women must work that much harder to be seen as equals.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 8:39 PM
Friday, January 21, 2011
Gulet Mohamed, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen from Alexandria, entered the arrivals terminal nearly two hours after his United Airlines flight landed. His attorneys said he had been kept after the flight by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
As he emerged from the gate around 8:40 a.m., his brother Abdi Mohamed, 28, sprinted over and hugged him, shouting "Gulet!" repeatedly.
A sea of media then engulfed the teenager, even before he had a chance to embrace his mother. Mohamed - dressed in a worn hooded sweat shirt and sweat pants, his baby face framed by a fuzzy beard - smiled and pulled his hood over his face.
"My voice has been heard," he said moments later. But "there's other Muslims and non-Muslims that are still being tortured."
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Imagine an eager student anticipating a lecture by a prominent expert. This student, equipped with a notebook and pen, arrives early to ensure a place in the front row. Now imagine that the student is prohibited from entering the lecture hall; she needs to go to an adjacent, smaller room, where she will be able to watch the lecture from a grainy projection screen.
The disappointment, indignation and injustice felt by this enthusiastic student is exactly what I feel each time I go to the local mosque. I wish I could refer to it as “my mosque”; but the possessive pronoun implies a sense of ownership I cannot claim.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 10:00 AM
Monday, January 17, 2011
The overwhelming, sometimes innocuous message being sent to women is that they are naturally dirty and spiritually defiled. That their menstrual cycle is something to be hated and feared. That they cannot walk into a mosque, touch a Qur’an, recite the Qur’an, or become an imam. That it takes women longer to memorize the Qur’an or achieve a religious education, because they are out of commission for 25% of the year. That they cannot cut their hair or clip their nails while menstruating due to impurity. That they cannot touch a prayer mat. That if they apply henna to their skin while menstruating, their impurity will last as long as it takes the temporary tattoo to wash off. That it makes women weak, lacking, imperfect and second class. That if you pray you are a sinner. That it’s a reason why more women are in hell than men. That if you question the ruling not to pray, or feel it is unfair, you aren’t faithful enough — or worse, are deluded by Western notions of equality. This is a bit more involved than just being told you can’t pray.
Check out the full article. I'm not sure I'm ready to accept her conclusion; though I appreciate her argument. Regardless, the excerpt above resonated with me with respect to the experience many Muslim woman have.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 7:00 AM
Sunday, January 16, 2011
1. Quit thinking the workplace is fair
2. What are you waiting for?
3. Don't be afraid to ask
4. Don't ever, ever cry at work
5. Make the most out of feedback and criticism
6. Look outside the office for opportunities
7. Remember wealth is more than a paycheck
8. The way you look and talk matters
Read more: CNN
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 5:38 PM