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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 11 Jan 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Egyptian women break new ground at the mosque

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI

updated 12:03 a.m. ET Jan. 5, 2009

 

CAIRO, Egypt - Amira Khairy is mobbed by housewives kissing her cheeks in greeting as she arrives to give a lesson on reciting the Quran to women at the Al-Sedeeq mosque in a Cairo suburb. Students set up chairs for the class, and soon the hum of chanting female voices fills one of the building's larger chambers.

 

Up to a 1,000 women may show up for the Quran lessons or twice-weekly religious lectures by women. On any given day, several hundred women buzz around the mosque, organizing clothing drives, cooking meals for the poor or teaching women to read. Al-Sedeeq also has medical clinics and a day care center for children of women who do volunteer work at the mosque.

 

All the activities are organized by women — not the mosque's male administrators. On one recent day, the only men seen in the building were workers doing renovations and worshippers who popped in to perform one of the five daily prayers required by Islam.

 

Story continues below ↓

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It's a startling sight in Egypt, where mosques have long been a man's realm. The few Egyptian women who appeared at mosques in the past had come to pray — usually in small, partitioned-off corners — or to make appeals at the shrines of holy figures, hoping for marriage, pregnancy or good grades for their children.

 

While men often socialize in mosques, women have traditionally been encouraged to practice their religion at home, where they can care for their children and husband.

 

"When I was young, we wouldn't even go to pray in the mosque," said Khairy, the teacher. "It was a place for us to tour on holidays, like visitors."

 

Now, with religiosity increasing in Egypt overall, more women want to engage in public prayer, increase their knowledge of Islam and do volunteer work in the community. Many Egyptian women already have had to balance their traditional place in the home with public roles at universities and jobs, so they tend to ask, "Why not a place in the mosque as well?"

 

These women aren't Western-style feminists seeking to change the faith's teachings on women. But their presence is challenging assumptions on women's place and turning some mosques into women-friendly social hubs.

 

While no statistics exist on the increasing number of Egyptian women praying outside the home, several religious scholars in Cairo say there's a clear trend of more women attending mosques and playing a greater religious role.

 

Khairy is typical of many of the new breed of religious women. She is in her 50s, studied engineering at university but rather than pursue a career, she married and stayed home to care for her children. About 10 years ago, she wanted to deepen her faith, so she and a group of women started meeting in each other's homes to memorize the Quran.

 

More women joined the study circle, and several years ago they began meeting at the newly built Al-Sedeeq mosque, near Cairo's international airport. They found a woman with an Islamic studies degree who volunteered to give lectures on how to pray and perform other rituals and on why women should wear the hijab, or head scarf.

 

As hundreds of women from across Cairo joined in, the charity projects multiplied. The women are now so organized that the volunteers wear a uniform — white scarf and blue dress.

 

The Al-Sedeeq mosque's administrators expanded its women's section to accommodate the volunteers. But not all are so welcoming.

 

Egypt is one of the most progressive Middle East nations on the issue of women attending mosques. In the Persian Gulf, many mosques have no space dedicated to women, and more women can be seen at prayers or Friday sermons in Egypt than in many other Arab countries.

 

Still, Egyptian women are often told, even by some female Islamic thinkers, that they should stay at home.

 

"The best place for a woman to pray remains her house," said one of them, Souad Saleh, who teaches at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the pre-eminent Sunni Muslim institution for Islamic studies.

 

"It is better spiritually and generally more appropriate, since she will always be distracted by her children. There is really no need for women to go to the mosque," Saleh said.

 

Mosque administrators are universally male and many still are reluctant to allocate greater space to women, saying more men attend prayers. At most mosques, women must enter through side doors, and women's sections are not always air-conditioned or carpeted. Women often face complaints about the noise and distraction their children bring to the mosque.

 

But Abdel-Moeti Bayoumi, a theology professor at Al-Azhar University, says men must realize times are changing.

 

"I always tell men that the days of locking up women away from society and useful work or study is backward and dangerous," he said. "It is not permitted in Islam to prevent a woman from praying in the mosque."

 

Najah Naji, a 22-year-old woman who tries to visit different mosques around Cairo to pray and study, says she is often told the women's prayer section is closed or otherwise unavailable.

 

"Men feel like the leadership will be taken from underneath them," said Naji, who has memorized the Quran. "Even an educated man is raised with a mother who stayed at home and served his father, so he'd be worried I wouldn't be able to do the same for him. It's going to take a lot of time for that attitude to change."

 

The Al-Sedeeq mosque is one of the most dramatic examples of women taking a bigger role. More often, small groups of women make forays into modest neighborhood mosques.

 

At a tiny mosque tucked between apartment buildings near the Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Greater Cairo, Hana Mohammed sits with a group of 12 older women. They cram into a small room every week to share stories, exchange news of grandchildren, vent about their lives at home and recite the Quran.

 

"The mosque is a softer place now that women have entered it," said Mohammed. "If a woman in need comes for help she'd never knock on the door if only men were inside."

 

Mohammed said she has taught women to read and to pray, as well as counseled young women about marriage.

 

"Women realized there was more to life than just cooking and taking care of a husband," said Mohammed. "Women wanted to understand how her faith really was a way of life — why did she have to wear hijab, why were men allowed to marry four women."

 

Members of Mohammed's circle said a woman with several university degrees and a career shouldn't be told she can't enter a mosque. They said it's the education of women — either in secular or religious studies — that has emboldened them to demand change.

 

"Women started to force themselves on the mosque because they realized their faith allowed them to do so," said Mohammed. "It was a religious awakening. We understood we could do it, so we did."

 

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28492963/

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Egyptian Women Hanging out in Mosques

January 8, 2009

Posted by Ethar in Culture/Society, News, Politics.

I came across an interesting Associated Press article a couple of days ago titled Egyptian by Canadian journalist Hadeel Al-Shalchi.

The article discusses how Egyptian women are beginning to not only frequent mosques more, but to use their time there to socialize, learn about Islam, and participate in community work.

All in all, it was a pretty solid article, and Al-Shalchi does a good job of discussing the ways women have increased their participation in the mosque. It isn’t a revolutionary thing they’re doing, though you get the feeling that’s what she’s telling us, but it’s interesting to note.

I particularly like how the story isn’t written in an “Oh my God, these women are doing something so incredible!” Instead, it’s written as it is: a natural progression resulting from “increasing religiosity” in Egypt, and of more women in Egypt (Muslim and non-Muslim) going ‘outside’ the home more and more to study and work.

(Although was it really necessary to say that women who used to come to the mosques/ shrines only prayed for “marriage, pregnancy [and] good grades for their children?” None of them were praying for a career or to be a better Muslim or a better person?)

Anyway, as Al-Shalchi points out:

More women want to engage in public prayer, increase their knowledge of Islam and do volunteer work in the community. Many Egyptian women already have had to balance their traditional place in the home with public roles at universities and jobs, so they tend to ask, “Why not a place in the mosque as well?”

The focus on the article is Muslim women in mosques, but Al-Shalchi does a good job of balancing the fact that it’s both a realization “that their faith allowed them to [enter mosques],” and a development in the Egyptian culture that has allowed women to visit mosques more often. Plus, she manages to make it clear that women aren’t only going to the mosques to pray, they’re going to engage more in their communities.

However, Al-Shalchi does only talk mainly about one mosque, Al-Sedeeq, one where:

Up to a 1,000 women may show up for the Quran lessons or twice-weekly religious lectures by women. On any given day, several hundred women buzz around the mosque, organizing clothing drives, cooking meals for the poor or teaching women to read. Al-Sedeeq also has medical clinics and a day care center for children of women who do volunteer work at the mosque.

And although she does point out though that this mosque is “one of the most dramatic examples of women taking a bigger role,” you may be left thinking a lot of mosques are like this, when this may not be true. A lot of other mosques, especially outside of Cairo, aren’t so welcoming of women.

Egypt is one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East on the issue of women attending mosques.

I would have perhaps liked to see a contrast with other nations here, more explaining on why Egypt is “one of the most progressive nations,” and what exactly that means—is it only in terms of available prayer space?

The only statement I had major qualms about was:

These women aren’t Western-style feminists seeking to change the faith’s teachings on women.

As if western-style feminists’ aim is to change Islam’s teachings on women, and not patriarchal interpretations of the faith.

I liked the juxtaposition of a female scholar encouraging women to stay at home and a male scholar saying women should be out and about. A nice touch to show diversity of thought, as well as the fact that supporters of women going to mosques aren’t always women and detractors aren’t always men.

 

Egyptian Muslim women perform Eid al-Adha prayers, or the Feast of Sacrifice in Cairo, Egypt. AP Photo/Mohamad Al Sehety

The art chosen for this story was also suitable. Pictured leftis one of the photos, women praying dressed in all colors and types of dress. Another photo (pictured below right) showed women inniqab (face veil) at a mosque, and another showed them dressed in white scarves and normal clothes studying. A good combination.

Somehow, the following day, I stumbled upon an article on Wowowow.com that quoted Al-Shalchi’s article.

The website name should give you some indication of how they tackled the article. And the fact that they titled the article Egyptian Women Take Mosques By Storm – In a Good Way.

Ignoring the fact that they slightly plagiarized Al-Shalchi’s article, they painted the fact that women were visiting mosques more as a pioneering “women’s movement.” The female scholar who Al-Shalchi quoted as saying women should stay at home is quoted again here, as a critic of the movement. The male scholar who said they should go to the mosque is conveniently left out.

The women who go to the mosques are lumped together as “housewives” who “take care of the husbands and kids.”

But don’t be mistaken. This is not necessarily a case of Egyptian women trying to break free of their religion, but rather them trying to worship and practice more publicly.

 

Egyptian Muslim women study Islamic lessons at Al-Azhar Mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Basically, the article attempts to position the ‘movement’ as one were the housewives are consciously making a stand, making their voices heard! with critics trying to shut them up while they struggle valiantly for their rights, ’storming’ and ‘taking on’ the mosques. No mention is made that there are many accommodating male mosque leaders who are supporters of women praying and participating in mosque activities.

Once again, it’s the poor Muslim women trying to navigate their way in a religion and society that’s intolerant. Oh, and by the way, the article adds, in case you thought this was an Egyptian problem, it’s not: a lot of Muslims try and keep women out of the mosque or *gasp* separated, “even here in the United States.”

They then go ahead and quote Asra Nomani as saying:

Intolerance toward women is like the canary in the coal mine for intolerance toward other people. When you allow sexism to go unchallenged, you allow bin Laden-type mentalities to go unchallenged. That’s why it’s so vital that the expression of Islam in the world be one that is completely affirming of women’s rights.

So how is that talking about Egyptian women participating more in their communities? Oh yeah, it isn’t. It’s just an excuse to spout platitudes about Islam’s intolerance towards women.

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Egyptian Spinsters and Old Maids Sitting Happily on the Shelf December 18, 2008

Posted by Ethar in Culture/Society, News, Web.

Tags: Egypt, Egyptian women, marriage, spinsters, Yomna Mokhtar

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I am a 21-year-old spinster.

Yes, a spinster at 21. In my country, although many many Egyptian women are delaying getting married until they’re in their mid-to-late twenties, society still looks at them with a critical, disapproving gaze.

“Men and women were made for one another. You are a sinister spinster.”

“Better a man’s shadow than that of a wall.”

Both are Arabic proverbs reiterated by mothers, aunties, grandmothers and even friends, the former meaning that women who don’t marry are labeled “spinsters,” and the latter meaning that any man is better than being single.

I hate the word spinster, as I’m sure any woman does. It’s definitely no female equivalent of bachelor. Wikipedia tells us spinsters have a reputation for:

Sexual and emotional frigidity, lesbianism, ugliness, frumpiness, depression, astringent moral virtue, and overly-pious religious devotion.

Nice. And in Egypt, where according to the latest statistics there are approximately 9-10 million spinsters over the age of 30, unmarried women are (alternatively) rejected, stigmatized, mocked, gossiped about, pitied and constantly reminded of what they’re missing out on.

 

Yomna Mokhtar. Image via AFP Cris Bouroncle, Middle East Times.

Which is why 27-year-old Yomna Mokhtar’s facebook group Spinsters*/ Old Maids for Change is such a breath of fresh air. Mokhtar (pictured right) is a journalist at Al Yom al-Sabe’, a weekly Arabic newspaper, and she set up the group in May ‘08. True, I don’t know how successful a Facebook group of 600 (and counting) trying to change the Egyptian mentality of “spinsters” is going to be, but at least it’s an effort. The group has a media spokesperson, a social advisor, a religious advisor, and a psychologist. Impressive.

The group logo (pictured below left) is of Bridget Jones, the thirtysomething London spinster the world has come to love. Bridget Jones at thirtysomething is an Egyptian women at twentysomething. The caption reads: Spinster: I think about how to put an end to it.

 

The group’s mission statement states they are:

 

The group's logo. Via Facebook.

A social movement that seeks to change the negative attitude towards every unmarried girl who finds herself facing two dead ends: either forced to get married to any man so she can get rid of the ’spinster’ title that’s suffocating her, or maintaining her position, insisting on waiting until she finds the right guy and [in the meantime] dealing with the curses that society will throw at her.

We aren’t seeking to make men enemies […] nor are we calling on girls to boycott marriage. But we reject the idea that girls should get married under pressure from their families or societies or just to get rid of the title ’spinster,’ [so they don't] come back to their families […] carrying the label ‘divorcée.’

Discussion topics on the group include When spinsterhood is a choice, We won’t wear hijab or pray taraweeh [supplementary] prayers for the groom, Latest list of the groom’s demands, etc.

The first articles about the group were written in October within days of each other at Al-Lawha Online and at Al-Arabiya (the latter with hundreds of fascinating comments that offer great insight into Egyptian psyche and an interesting choice of picture. Though I disliked Mokhtar saying she is against semi-arranged marriages, which she says turn women into “cheap commodities.”)

A couple of weeks later, Mokhtar wrote a sarcastic column in the newspaper she works at, criticizing society for pressuring her friend so much about getting married that said friend had a nervous breakdown.

A couple of days later, an Egyptian forum posted a Q & A with Mokhtar. She told them:

My goal is to change the image of the spinster in our society, encouraging the woman not to isolate herself from it, and ingraining [in her] the idea that making the world a better place is not only through marriage and producing babies, but in improving your community through the abilities God gave you.

Unfortunately, the Q & A wasn’t exactly the best I’ve ever read. The reporter (who happens to be a man) asked her: “Why do you have such a negative idea about spinsters?” (duh, it’s not her, it’s Egypt), “Why did you use the words ‘for change,’ which are used by political movements?” (conspiracy theory much?), “Does your movement rebel against the the idea of marriage?” and most infuriating of all:

Why don’t you try changing the image of the spinster by trying to fix the behavior of some women who have helped give spinsters a bad name?

Thankfully, she pwnd him:

Your question encapsulates exactly the view of society towards women whose marriage date was delayed, who look at her as the girl with a bad reputation, and this is the viewpoint we are fighting against. Especially since a lot of [unmarried] women […] hold the highest educational degrees and the highest positions. But no, society begrudges them their success and considers it a way of compensating for delaying marriage.

A couple of days later, The Daily News Egypt picked up on the story from the Arabic media. In the article, Mokhtar said she used the label ‘Spinsters’ in the group title though she’s against it, because “it is the term people use.”

I also believe that using a different label for unmarried women would just be ignoring the reality of the term. By using it, they’re trying, in some small way to “take it back.”

Two weeks after that article came out, the story made the Los Angeles Times, where the author interviewed Mokhtar and brought up two great points. One, that men are also joining the Facebook group, and two, that this is not the first time an Egyptian woman discussing the issues surrounding marriage does so online, with the first woman being the author behind the satirical blog wanna-be-a-bride.

[And I''m being kind of catty here, but this article's translation of the group's mission statement needs some serious work].

Then two days ago, The Agence France-Presse wrote about the group, finally snowballing it onto the global sphere. (English version and French version).

The article was pretty inclusive, and I particularly liked the fact it mentioned that marriage is an obligation for all Egyptians—Christians and Muslims alike. The author also interviewed a well-known sociologist, which gives Mokhtar’s opinions added weight, and stops anyone from brushing off her comments as the rantings of a bitter spinster. The author also pointed out that the group isn’t asking for the right to be single or crossing any of society’s “red lines.”

(Though I’m sure the fact that Mokhtar is veiled was very important to mention—you know, to prove that she’s not one of those morally decadent spinsters. As was adding that mass Islamic weddings are held with the aim of preventing “deviant” behavior (a.k.a., homosexuality and premarital sex), and not simply with the aim of helping those without funds get married).

Another French interview with Mokhtar was also published on the same day atLepetitjournal with the title Spinster Girls: Objects of Mockery. My French is a little rusty, but as a journalist I loved the lead:

O la la! The poor girl! She’s still not married? But why? When will she start a family? She risks living the rest of her life alone, the poor girl!

And the comment: “Not getting married is an unforgivable mistake; refusing to marry a punishable crime!”

It was also a Q & A interview, and Mokhtar explained that Facebook is not enough for what the group wants to accomplish. In the future, they will be holding seminars to raise awareness and meetings where spinsters can talk about their experiences to their family in the presence of a psychologist.

I messaged Mokhtar on Facebook and asked her what she though of the media coverage thus far. She said:

I liked the western coverage more than the Arabic coverage, which I only dealt with superficially. [There's been] other coverage in other print newspapers like Al-Masa’ and Rose al-Youssef. One reporter asked me if the role of the movement was to improve the behavior of unmarried women who don’t get married because of their bad behavior. I think the problem is not about the media outlet as much as it is the journalist. A good journalist, whether western or eastern, produces a good article.

I am feeling so inspired now. My new title = empowered spinster. Hmm, not really working for me. Bachelorette?

*The Arabic word used, ‘Anis, has several meanings in Arabic but is socially understood to mean spinster/ old maid.

Comments»

1. jessyz - December 18, 2008

Marriage should be a special bond between two people who want to be married and happy together. A lot of women in Egypt are pressured to settle so they don’t have to carry the social stigma of a spinster and end up unhappy. This is also true for divorcees. I guess it does take strong women to stand up for themselves and tell the world we are going to wait until we are ready and until then we are not afraid to enjoy life and be who we are; strong, smart, productive and amazing.

2. Tom - December 18, 2008

This is another example where you can only really be looked down on by society if you wake up every morning and choose to get on your hands and knees…

Seriously, who is it doing the looking down? Are they people wose hoices in life you respect orant to follow?

The coolest Egyptian girls I know are almost all single (or married “late”), and they all feel looked down on by the people around them - people who are not even a fraction as amazing as the “spinsters” are.

Its like some scrawny little white guy on the basketball court, looking down on Micheal Jordan because he is black.

3. Rocio Vega - December 18, 2008

I was just having this discussion with my girlfriends. We’re in our early twenties and are constantly asked about boyfriends and hearing the phrase, ‘when you get married…’ coming from our relatives.

We took our frustrations in being called spinsters and turned it into a running joke about how we’ll be happy with our six cats and blue hair.

To all my fellow ’spinsters’ out there: We’re still fabulous, whether or not we’re married.

4. Broomstick - December 18, 2008

oh DAMN! I’m 26 and single so I guess I’m a spinster too…. lmao

the same stigma is also problematic for South Asian females (whether Muslim or Hindu) in the UK and overseas in the Indian subcontinent… in fact, it would seem that the word “spinster” and the stigma along with it, is prevalent almost everywhere, except here in the Western world (unless you’re the daughter of immigrants, that is).

5. Fatemeh - December 18, 2008

lol @ Broomstick: I hear you, lady! I already joined the Facebook group! :D

6. just a Spinster - December 18, 2008

Girls, this applies to every girls from Africa, Asia and Middle East :) not just Egypt.. at least egypt is talking about it, it’s good sign..lol

7. SakuraPassion - December 18, 2008

I feel like I can totally relate. Even here in the West it still seems that women are stigmatized for not getting married. Perhaps it’s because I live in the midwest, where women feel their main goal in life is to get married, and if they don’t they’ll become “old maids.”

I think third wave feminists are also trying to reclaim the word “spinster.” I guess some people haven’t realized that women intentionally choose not to get married. Which is why I never really understood why they’re looked down upon.

8. Yusra - December 18, 2008

Great post. I wasn’t aware of this anti-Anis movement online. I also didn’t know spinster was the English term. It sounds so unsexy and worse than the Arabic :/ Ethar you think Egy society considers you 3anis at 21? I think 24 or 25 and up is the new 3anis yeah?

Mokhtar makes valid points and I hate the stigma (which is heightened for non-hijabis and ultra heightened for reasonably attractive, or stylish women) that women over 25 are “loose” but from an Islamic perspective, it makes absolute sense for women AND men to be married early. I’ve had men over 30 propose to me and I refused on the grounds that I know they ain’t virgins lmao, more to make a point than anything else. Like, I’d rather feel frigid than make out with someone just to get some, and sorry but I’m kinda convinced that waaaay more women than men share my view. THAT SAID, as a most of the time devout Muslima, I feel that pressure from myself and what I know to be right, regardless of society’s view. It’s only logical that sexual temptation becomes harder to resist when you grow into your womanhood or your manhood.

Men from very conservative or religious family backgrounds are also pressured to marry and looked down upon when they are not (how many sheiks do you know of over 30 who are not married), but even then it’s not comparable to the female case.

I think many more Muslim men and women would get married young if it were more practical, but many would rather wait to marry than live in their parents home while attending grad school,etc. And again, maybe I’m generalizing a little too much here, but from the female perspective, I think it has a lot more to do with finding the right person and being in the right place financially than playing around until your ready to settle down.

I think this is the most contentious issue facing Muslim women-much more than the hijab-because it has the potential to alter every aspect of life: career, reputation, passion, children, parents, Freedom…I hate it.

9. Sobia - December 18, 2008

This is also why so many “older” Muslim women are marrying non-Muslim men. I’ve known a few now who have chosen to marry non-Muslim men. A big part of this, I believe, is that a lot of Muslim men prefer young (early 20’s) women, regardless of their own age. Its also much easier to meet non-Muslim men as well.

However, having said that, some of the friends in my life who always tell me that I’m not too old and that I have plenty of time to find a partner are Muslim guys. Or maybe its that I just surround myself with like minded people :)

10. Ethar - December 18, 2008

@ Jessyz: Egyptian women are encouraged to settle not just so they can get rid of the spinster label, but because marriage is seen as the be all and end all—the ultimate aim of a woman’s life.

@ Tom: lol at the scrawny white dude.

@ Rocio Vega: Blue hair and six cats it is!

@ Broomstick: You would think that since so many women are suffering from the label, we’d do something about it. Shouldn’t something become accepted the more prevalent it is?

@ SakuraPassion: I’m guessing it’s because even if they understand some women choose not to get married, these women’s decision is seen as flawed, as in “poor women, they don’t know what they’re missing.” This also applies not only to marriage, but to childbirth.

@ Yusra: Thanks! I was being a bit sarcastic with the 21-year-old spinster thing, I still have a few years to go before I become one =)

Men over 30 can be virgins, just like women over 30 can be too. It depends on the person. In Egypt, men are getting married later and later because of the cost of marriage, check out this article In Egypt, love isn’t enough, which was written just last week .

Let me give you my own generalization/ opinion here: I think that a lot of Egyptian women right now simply don’t want to ‘work hard’ at a marriage, or ‘grow’ together. Many would rather marry older, richer men than young men who still don’t have an apartment, are still starting out in their careers etc. Likewise, the men that reach 30-35 and are now rich enough to get married don’t want to marry their counterparts but young women in their twenties.

@ Sobia: I think the phenomenon of Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men is definitely not an ‘Arab’ phenomenon as of yet, and relates more to Muslim women in western societies.

11. Ethar - December 18, 2008

Possible related posts: Sell Fish People Should Die.

lol, what?

12. Sobia - December 18, 2008

@ Ethar:

Yes, I was referring to a Western context. Sorry…I should have clarified that.

13. Global Voices Online » Egyptian Spinsters - December 20, 2008

[...] ElKatatney of Muslimah Media Watch wrote an elaborate post on the issue confessing that she is a 21-year-old spinster. Yes, a spinster at 21. In my country, [...]

14. Broomstick - December 22, 2008

It’s sad because I WANT a Muslim husband, I have no interest in marrying a [non-Muslim] guy, but I am 26 and I am too OLD for Muslim guys… oh crap

what am I supposed to do?!?!?!

Time for me to book a flight to Dearborn, MI

[This comment has been edited to fit within moderation guidelines.]

Mod note: Broomstick, I know you didn’t mean it this way, but I removed the word “kaffir” because it’s taken on some very negative connotations when used by Muslims about non-Muslims. In the interest of keeping things “halal” (wink), I just substituted it with what I assumed you meant.

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comment by Heavens-Mirror -

 

I noticed that all the ladies in Egypt dress different, you see some girls who dress casually with normal clothes & show off there arms, then you see girls who wear a head scarf that still shows off there faces, then there is a gown you see some ladies wear which totally covers there face & body.

 

I wanted to see what it was like to wear these so i went to a shop & purchased one of each & spent a couple of hours wearing it, the Egyptians loved to see me joining in & trying it out & the girls in the shop showed me how it was worn. I enjoyed trying this & seeing what the different cultures were like. I asked people if it was ok to do this as i didn't want to offend any of the Egyptians but everyone was fine with it.

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/egyptian-women-break-new-ground-at-the-mosque--/d/1112

 

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