At times, being ignored, erased, and made invisible, is more hurtful than open debate and disagreement. Such silencing and marginalization render the energy, activism, and work of so many people mute and, ultimately, they do not serve the communities and society we are attempting to change. In what follows I insist on uplifting and naming some of the radical Muslim activists and advocates for gender justice I saw ignored in a recent Muslim community event.
On Labor Day weekend, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) met for its annual convention in Chicago. On Friday evening, in a well-attended panel, ISNA unveiled (pun intended) its latest statement and campaign on “the inclusion of women in masjids” (places of worship) and issued a call and invitation to sign the statement and implement its central demands in mosques and community centers across the United States and Canada. Panelists at the launch included Hind Makki, the creator of Side Entrance, a tumblr collecting pictures of the various (good, bad and in between) accommodations for women in mosques, and member of the ISNA task force on the issue; Dr. Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic studies and former president of ISNA; Imam Mohamed Magid, also a former president of ISNA; Dr. Sarah Syeed, chair of the ISNA task force and Dr. Ihsan Bagy, another member of the task force. Continue reading “Invisible Giants: On Women, Mosques, and Radical Activism by Juliane Hammer”
Carol P. Christ is a founding mother in the study of women and religion, feminist theology, women’s spirituality, and the Goddess movement. She teaches in the Women’s Spirituality program at CIIS and through Ariadne Institute offers Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete. Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.
Some years ago when I was speaking on ecofeminism, womanist theologian Karen Baker-Fletcher posed a question that went something like this: What I am missing in your presentation is reference to ancestors. For black women, this issue is critical.
Baker-Fletcher’s question provoked a process of thinking that continues to this day. For example, I began to notice that when black women spoke at the American Academy of Religion, they often began by thanking their foremothers Delores Williams and Katie Cannon for beginning the womanist dialogue. It is far rarer to hear a white woman thank Valerie Saiving, Mary Daly, Rosemary Radford Ruether, or Marija Gimbutas before her talk.
To the contrary, many white women take great pains to distance themselves from feminist foresisters. I once heard a white woman Biblical scholar tell women students to do work on women in the Bible or other areas of religion without using the word feminist or placing their work in a female or feminist train of thought– if they wanted to get it published. She was very proud that she had used this method and succeeded. In other words, she was following in the footsteps of Mary Daly, Phyllis Trible, and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza but acting as if she had invented the study of women and the Bible herself. The reason for this, she freely admitted, was that male scholars who held power in her field would not respect her work if she used the “f” word. Continue reading “Do White Feminists Have Ancestors? By Carol P. Christ”