Den syriske skri­ben­ten Sami Mou­bayed for­tel­ler en inter­es­sant his­to­rie som sier noe om en utvik­ling i gal ret­ning. På 1920-tal­let var det en pike i Damas­kus, Nazira Zayn al-Din, som leste Kora­nen på egen hånd og kom frem til at det ikke var noen plikt å bære hijab. Hun skrev en bok hvor hun påpekte at den “util­slørte” ver­den var mer frem­skre­den en den til­slørte. Det ble et vold­somt opp­styr. Boken kom i flere opp­lag. Men ingen angrep henne eller truet henne. Det ville garan­tert skjedd idag.

Seventy years ago, in April 1928, a 20-year-old girl named Nazira Zayn al-Din wrote a book cal­led Unvei­ling and Vei­ling, say­ing she had read, under­stood and inter­preted the Holy Koran. The­re­fore, she said, she had the aut­hority and ana­ly­ti­cal skills to chal­lenge the teachings of Islam’s cle­rics, men who were far older and wiser than she. Her inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam, she boldly said, was that the veil was un-Isla­mic. If a woman was for­ced to wear the veil by her fat­her, hus­band or brot­her, Zayn al-Din argued, then she should take him to court. Other ideas pre­sented by her were that men and woman should mix socially because this devel­ops moral pro­gress, and that both sexes should be edu­cated in the same class­rooms. Men and women, she said, should equally be able to hold pub­lic office and vote in govern­ment elections.

They must be free to study the Koran them­selves, and it should not be dictated on them by an oppres­sive older gene­ra­tion of cle­rics, she said. Finally, Zayn al-Din com­pared the “vei­led” Mus­lim world to the “unvei­led” one, say­ing the unvei­led one was bet­ter because rea­son reig­ned, rat­her than reli­gion.

ANNONSE

Her book cau­sed a thun­der­storm in Syria and Leba­non. It was the most out­rage­ous assault on tra­ditio­nal Islam, coming from Zayn al-Din, who was a Druze. The book went into a second edition wit­hin two mon­ths, and was trans­lated into seve­ral lan­gua­ges. Great men from Islam, inclu­ding the muftis of Bei­rut and Dama­scus, wrote against her, argu­ing that she did not have the aut­hority to speak on Islam and dis­miss the veil as un-Isla­mic. Nobody, how­ever, accu­sed her of trea­son or blasphemy. They accu­sed her of bad vision resul­ting from bad Isla­mic edu­ca­tion.

Some cle­rics ban­ned her book. Some, how­ever, such as the Syrian scholar Moham­mad Kurd Ali, actually embraced it, buy­ing 20 copies for the Arab Lan­guage Assem­bly and wri­ting a favo­rable review.

But despite the uproar, which las­ted for two years, the Syri­ans and the Mus­lim estab­lish­ments did not let the issue get out of hand. They did not lead street demon­stra­tions for weeks, as if the Mus­lim world had no other con­cern than Nazira Zayn al-Din. Zayn al-Din was still free to roam the stre­ets of Syria and Leba­non, wit­hout being har­assed or kil­led by those who hated her views. The lea­ders of Islam in 1927–30 were by far too busy to occupy them­selves, and the Mus­lim com­mu­nity at large, with the ideas of a 20-year-old girl. They had to attend to their mos­ques, run their charity orga­niza­tions, answer theo­lo­gical ques­tions, cater to Mus­lim edu­ca­tion, lead poli­ti­cal issues, and fight the French.

Mou­bay­eds egent­lige ærend er stri­den om the Jewel of Medina, den his­to­riske roma­nen om Aisha. Han site­rer fra pro­fes­sor ved Texas Uni­ver­sity, Denise Spell­berg, som utløste at Ran­dom House trakk boken, rett før den skulle pub­li­se­res.

Det er inter­es­sant at man i Ves­ten nå fin­ner aka­de­mi­kere ved aner­kjente uni­ver­si­te­ter som bru­ker sine kunn­ska­per til å angripe ytrings­fri­he­ten i reli­gio­nens navn. Spell­berg kom­mer med et opp­sikts­vek­kende state­ment: You can’t play with a sacred his­tory. Det vil si at reli­gions­kri­tikk, satire, og kunst er under­lagt reli­gio­nen. Dette har et aner­kjent for­lag bøyd seg for.

Accor­ding to Denise Spell­berg, a pro­fes­sor of his­tory and Middle East stu­dies who read parts of the book, the work makes “fun of Mus­lims and their his­tory” and is a “very ugly, stu­pid piece of work.” Spell­berg went on:

“I don’t have a pro­blem with his­to­ri­cal fic­tion. I do have a pro­blem with the deli­be­rate mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of his­tory. You can’t play with a sacred history…The com­bi­na­tion of sex and vio­lence sells novels. When com­bined with fal­si­fi­ca­tion of the Isla­mic past, it exploits Ame­ri­cans who know not­hing about Aisha or her seventh-cen­tury world and counts on stir­ring up con­tro­versy to increase sales.”

Defen­ding Aisha
Sami Mou­bayed
Dama­scus, Syria
Sami Mou­bayed is a Syrian poli­ti­cal ana­lyst and his­to­rian based in Dama­scus, Syria

ANNONSE
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  • thekopp.myopenid.com

    Dette er nett­opp hva jeg tid­li­gere har skre­vet her på doc. Det fin­nes intet pålegg om å dekke håret. I Tunis er det til og med for­budt. Slike deta­jer druk­ner i all vira­ken om reli­gions­fri­het. En fri­het mus­li­mer IKKE har i hen­hold til deres egne skrif­ter.

    Dette er en helt typisk utal­lelse som vi også har lest her:

    Great men from Islam, inclu­ding the muftis of Bei­rut and Dama­scus, wrote against her, argu­ing that she did not have the aut­hority to speak on Islam and dis­miss the veil as un-Isla­mic. Nobody, how­ever, accu­sed her of trea­son or blasphemy. They accu­sed her of bad vision resul­ting from bad Isla­mic edu­ca­tion.

    Dette med “auto­ri­tet” er vik­tig i en hver debatt. Noen gir seg selv denne “auto­ri­te­ten”, andre stu­de­rer seg frem til kunn­ska­pene uten å kalle seg atuto­ri­tet, uten rett til å anklage, dømme og for­dømme.

  • Arthur Dent

    Saks­opp­lys­ning til kop­pen:

    Hijab er IKKE for­budt i Tuni­sia. Det er visst­nok slik at kvin­ner i offent­lige stil­lin­ger ikke til­lates å bruke hijab på jobb, men i gate­bil­det sees – ifølge gode ven­ner bosatt der – sta­dig flere ikledt hijab. 

  • thekopp.myopenid.com

    Isla­mi­se­rin­gen av Tunis er påfrem­mars som i res­ten av ver­den. Meg bekjent er hijab for­budt på sko­ler og uni­ver­si­te­ter. Tunis har adop­tert fransk juss og det går bra, så lenge det varer.