I was looking for advice on how to be a good wife – though not with the intention of following it, of course – and I came across Ijtema and then the Indian Muslim Blog. Since until about 2 hours ago I was totally unaware of these sites, I can’t really evaluate them. I discovered the second by searching for discussions of the first, and I haven’t gotten any further.
So why mention them? Well, because many of the views expressed are not ones white Western feminist encounter all that often and arguably we should be aware of them. For example, we are all happy to combat rumors about Obama being a muslim. Some members of the muslim community have, as we might imagine, a different take on what is going on. The perspective motivating the first blog is surely itself important:
Ijtema is the Arabic word for “congregation” or “gathering”. The aim of the editors at IJTEMA is to gather together the best of the Muslim blogosphere in one place, as a showcase of what we truly believe to be, real Muslim voices, and real Muslim talent.
Why are you doing this?
Because we have no choice.
The mainstream media seems to have an agenda: to propagate the idea of a supposed ‘Clash of Civilisations’. The most vocal elements on both sides of the camp – those who are for or against this idea – are mainly non-Muslim; it seems that the Muslim community has lost its ability to reach out. In the meantime, a handful of media moguls gets to choose what the West (or, in fact, the rest of planet Earth) hears about Islam, and our Ummah. And sure enough, the likes of Bin-Laden (who, incidentally, are disliked by most of Muslim World) come across loud and clear.
Another fact is that these seem to me good examples of the diversity of viewpoints that are excluded from much in our media. A somewhat startling example of this is the Christian Biblical basis for pacificism that Jeremiah Wright expresses:
The press declared him totally unacceptable before anyone might have this important discussion, one that challenges the ‘Christian’ president’s justification for war.
OK, now it is true that the first blog contains a link to an attack on white Western feminism that none of us will judge accurate. And what I’ve noticed most about the second are the links to poetry in a tradition I know little about. But clearly it also has many discussions of global politics, and I expect some of it is quite different from our daily fare.
So see what you think!