Monday, March 31, 2008

Loss of Identity (part2)


This 2nd part of the 2nd article written by my sweet Palestinian Friend in Stockholm.. You can check the First part at this Link

And if you want, you can check also the FIRST article in this link

Now, Enjoy the 2nd part

So it is that I came to understand that working on human rights of the individual, the personal freedom and autonomy of the individual with regard to beliefs -including religious beliefs, child rights, feminism, and the rights of women are all keys to establishing a more civilized society that accepts and tolerates its individuals no matter what their identity., This is particularly so if they are bisexual, lesbians, gay or transgender. As a consequence of that realization, I have begun to pay more attention to the issues of religion. I have begun to ask questions. As I come from a Muslim background, I have concentrated more on Islam than other religions.

I have a deep respect, acceptance, tolerance and understanding for people of other faiths and religions. Yet I did not really explore other religions or faith traditions as I was more secular than a traditionally religious. Yet I could never refer to myself as secular or as an atheist. I have always wondered, perhaps, that this may be because I grew up in Jerusalem, a region, it seems, where all societies, whether Druze, Christians, Jewish or Muslim, are dominated and influenced by their culture and traditions. So simply, even though my family wasn’t religiously conservative, I still grew up with an awareness of the existence of God. We were traditionally observant of religious holidays, festivals and many teachings. This was especially so in regard to social customs and life cycle events such as marriage, divorce, birth and death. So even when we weren’t religious, religion was ever present in the background, somehow dominating much in our culture and in our daily traditions.

The first time I had a serious conversation about reformed Islam was when my fellow Palestinian GLBTQ activists and I met the liberal lesbian Muslim activist Irshad Manji in Jerusalem. Irshad Manji is a Canadian citizen, born to an Indonesian Muslim family in Africa. She is an active liberal reformed feminist lesbian Muslim. She had a television show in Canada and she is the author of the book “The Trouble with Islam Nowadays”. Since that meeting I have realized that I no longer a need to wonder, ponder, and question why I was a Muslim or why I couldn’t be simply an atheist liberal! I am a Muslim because I was born within a Muslim background. It is a part of who I was as I grew up and a part of who I am today. I grew up believing in God. As simple as it may sound I realized I still want to be a Muslim, and there is nothing wrong in that. Ironically, during my experience as a Palestinian GLBTQ activist, I met several Reform and Masorti/Conservative liberal queer (and straight) Jews that believed in accepting and tolerating feminists and homosexuals in the Jewish world. This was so not only in the general civil society, but also in the synagogues and rabbinical schools. Women and homosexuals could be ordained as Rabbis and become a central part of the congregations, even leaders, practicing Jewish religious customs equally.

That has inspired me to join many other liberal Muslims in the world who have similar approach towards our Islam. The person who most influenced me in that period was the liberal Masorti/Conservative Rabbi Andrew Sacks. I was taught, and my thinking developed, to believe in the autonomy of the individual and a personal interpretation of the religious context (while maintaining a respect for the Law and others who chose to follow a different path).

I frequently wonder when we will cease to blame our current misery on ancient texts and books that were produced hundreds, and some even thousands, of years ago. We can only blame ourselves. We are the ones who have the ability, and should have the brains and logic to interpret our religions, faiths and teachings for good and for the welfare of human beings and for our existence on Earth. Nearly all of us agree on certain basic morals regardless of our beliefs. Other than that, there’s neither “I am right”, nor “you are wrong”, nor “You are going to burn in hell, and I am going to achieve salvation in heaven”! There are simply different approaches. I see the beauty and exoticness as we coexistence with our differences. It is these differences that make us more interesting and more productive in many aspects of our lives - especially spiritually, culturally and humanely.

In my approach to religion as a Muslim, I see a modern open minded Islam where diversity, constructive respectful criticism, transparent productive questioning and re-evaluation are honored. I see an Islam where Non-Muslims, and even Muslims with alternate ways of practice, are active and equal participants. I foresee women in religious schools and mosques, a respectful feminist reading of Quran. I anticipate a Muslim stream where Queer people are all welcomed, accepted, tolerated and praised.

to be continued..............

1 comment:

tunisian simbad said...

hi my both friend especially omanlion,
before i make my comment i want to tell you that i visited oman last year just for 2 months for works reasons, we worked in Sadoud, Wabah, it's a difficult area even i have an accident ( broken leg ), i think u know that part is rough zone with a big mountain (if u want some photos i will be glad to send it to u)
Back the post, i really love what ur Palestinian friend expressed,as u said the first time when u tried to describe him for us he a determined person with strong personality, sensitive...the issue that u want to put light on it is the religion, can we be able to change the Islam according to our wishes,an islam moderate where women are equally treated, should or could we make our personnel interpretation to islamn's text , i beleive we can but what's the consequences, i told you it's the calamity and the disaster, u know why, i will expalin it.
can you guarantee for me that those people will make the best way for the interpretation of the Islam text , can u be sure by this way we could avoid a new osam ben laden or taliban regime, those people are the result of fanatic people whose make a wrong interpretation thincking they are right and that they provide a service for the muslim community.
the humilation of women in islamic country is not related to the religion but to those who make the wrong reading for the islam text, because they are closed minded or rocked minded (i don't know if i can use that term in english),
As for me there's no way to avoid the targedy that most gay faced in the world, the pain is wiled spread , it's not related to time neither space i mean location, through the men's history they are executed and badly treated as the women. So there's no solution nowadays yes i am pessimist but i am continue to belief that my god will forgive me my sins cause i didn't choose to be a gay, and why should i blame the people who hated us, it's normal this is the human nature to kill, to hate, to persecute any one who for simple reasons different of them.
eventually i wan to say
"We pray for our fathers, pray for our mothers
Wishing our families well" micheal jackson song:lost children, and i finished by this/ martin luther king: i hope some day my children will be judged not by their color of skin but will their...
remarks: thinx oman lion for the sweetest words and kiss me ur Palestinian friend at least he found his right path...