January 18, 2006

Can I have a fatwa?

I would like to share some new statistics that were brought to my attention earlier today from IIF, Islamic Information Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. Apparently they have kept track of the number of Swedish converts from the year 1996 til present day that have been in contact with their Center.

What caught my eye was not so much the statistics themselves for we always get to hear the usual chant "Islam is the fastest growing religion" etc etc. They have also presented their statistics from both a gender and ethnic perspective which makes it more interesting.

The total amount of Swedish citizens who embraced Islam between 1996-2006 at IIF in Gothenburg were as late as January the 16th 2006, 100 citizens. Out of those 100, 62 (!) were female. The ethnic backgrounds of the men and women were as follows:

Swedish: 74
Latin American: 7
African: 6
Finnish: 5
French: 2
Lebanese: 1
Iraqi: 1
Irani: 1
Serbian: 1
Phillipino: 1
Chinese: 1

Muslim women in general are often portrayed (by media as well as hardline Marxist Iranian immigrants in Sweden who have unresolved trauma that should really stay between them and Khomeini and not take it out on muslim women) as being unable to make decisions for themselves, unintelligent, don't have a mind of their own and ofcourse let's not forget the most common; opressed.

So then what are the possible conclusions to be drawn from the statistics IIF presented?

1: All the 62 women in question met a dazzling Arab or Asian muslim man and converted to his religion. (I can see the upperclass white Swedes over coffee nodding their heads in agreement)

2: All of those 62 women are self destructive and are drawn to anything that will afflict them with pain and misery. (Whoever thinks this is the case: ever heard of the saying, it takes one to know one?)

3: God felt that men are messing up Islam so much He saw no other choice but to make sure more women convert in order to lead the way... (ok, I see that look of unbelief on your face. Who says it can't be true?)

Perhaps neither of the above is true, but it doesn't matter does it...people are still thinking it and almost establishing it as fact, wether they believe in option one, two or even three (fair enough I admit I'm probably the only one thinking option 3 is true).

What fascinates the world so much about the muslim woman? Any thoughts?

Truly no other woman is talked about so much as the muslim woman, both by muslims and non muslims, for better and mostly worse I might add. It is almost as if she's a creature of another world...Venus, was it? No that's not far away enough...must be Afghanistan..yes..that would be right, where they have Talibans and Burqas.

I propose we talk more about the muslim man... Why does he not cover his knees and thighs...yes...let's talk about that...when he plays football he shows his knees and part of his thighs... I would like a fatwa please...anyone? Hello? Where did everyone go?


BuJ said...

I am not qualified to give a fatwa, but I don't think it's required. You need a qualified academic/researcher to look at this not an Imam :)

Maybe also there's another thing for Buj to say.. maybe it's because under Islam women have more rights than in your average Western society. People always move to something that they see as being better.

Good post.

Sara said...

Shaykspeara it's so true what you write. As soon as one talks about men and what they do in islam no one is bothered but if a woman were to participate in sports they would be all over the place giving fatwas on how they shoudlt wear this or that and do this or that. Buj I think you got it wrong.

Der Muslim von nebenan said...

One reason might be that the vast majority of muslim scholars are male and not female. If we go back in time and compare, how many male companions had to go to Hafsa (ra) or to Aisha (ra) in order to learn more about Islam or to check the authenticity of narrations and how many female scholars we had in the "golden age" (there is a nice audio lecture by Dr. Umar Faruuq about Famous Women In Islam) and how many we have today?. Unfortunately the pre-islamic and cultural influences have made the number of males studying from female scholars almost disappearing (I couldn't find 5 within a hour :().
Maybe it is part of our nature to speak about the opposite sex and therefore male scholars like to speak or to advise female fellows instead of male ones ;)
Another reason might be the fact that many (not all) scholars just follow the path the goverment has drawn for them...

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Well Buj I don't really care what men wear when they play football :) the point I was trying to make was that had I mentioned something about muslim women and sports you would have various imams or even our common muslim talking about "how the hijab can blow away when you run", "how body parts can bounce" etc etc.

They are however not as keen in talking and restricting men from the same Islamic point of view they choose to adher to.

Der muslim: yes I believe you have a valid point there...one few agree to acknowledge I'm afraid.

BuJ said...

hmmm Shaira, I don't think I said anything about football attire! My point is that the reason the women are converting more than men is probably because women get more rights under Islam compared to their previous religion.

MD said...

loool nice ending :P

well i think apart from the media covering the muslim woman as 'oppressive' and all that; muslim women are also to be blamed somewhat. if u've read the book 'princess', u will know what i mean. the author says she doesnt want to diss islam but when u read the book, u see so much angst. veiled anger against islam and everybody looks at these women as if they symbolize Women Of Islam.

Elizabeth said...

"buj," you seem to be assuming that most Western women have a religion...I think this is a dubious assertion. Most people in Europe are secular and have very minimal religious belief...in the U.S. most people call themselves "Christian" but in reality very, very few people follow Christianity closely...in the abstract you may be right that Islam grants women more rights than other religions but in reality most people follow their culture, their government etc. not their religion and in most countries in which Islam is the predominant religion women are not treated well at all...my guess is most Swedish converts did not have a previous religion...

Abu Sinan said...

Good post. I wish our mosques here in the USA would keep such numbers.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Another swedish woman converted yesterday. So that makes the official number, 101...still counting I guess..

BuJ said...

I realise in the west (after living there for almost a decade) that most people have a christian "culture" but no religion. I should have made myself clearer.

I guess moving from no religion to a new religion is easier than from one religion to another.

koonj said...

We have this very liberal friend who doesn't pray and wears shorts but doesn't allow his wife to wear capris in the summer.

His wife loves it when Svend and I come over. Svend always points out we are embarrassed that we can see his thighs. Of course it's a little more awkward for me to point out his thighs.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

I suppose it would be awkward for you to comment, although I confess I might be cheeky enough to be blatent about it :)

The double standard of the "mundas" rears its ugly head.

Apparently it's also alright for men to shake women's hands but women can't shake men's hands...because...as I had it explained to me by a "great thinker", man is provider and is "forced" to interact with the opposite gender...poor sod.

Please...Spare me...

Anonymous said...

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