Creator of Muslim-Friendly TV Channel Decapitates Wife.

Muzzammil Hassan, the businessman who founded Bridges TV – a Muslim-friendly channel created to combat the negative stereotypes of Muslims in the US – has been charged with murdering his wife. His reason: divorce. His method: decapitation.

This is a horrible story. One that will surely counteract any positive work that Bridges TV has done.

As we do not have all the facts, we cannot begin to fully understand what happen. However, in thinking about this man, I am reminded of how Tony Soprano used to decry the way in which Italian-Americans are portrayed in the media. His was a ridicules psychological disconnect between what he did and how he saw/projected himself/Italians.

Is this tragic occurrence symptomatic of how moderate Islam today suffers from a Soprano-like disconnect between perception, projection, and reality?

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has issued a statement, authored by Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, calling on Muslim communities to wake up to the plight of domestic violence.

This is a wake up call to all of us, that violence against women is real and can not be ignored. It must be addressed collectively by every member of our community. Several times each day in America, a woman is abused or assaulted. Domestic violence is a behavior that knows no boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, or social status. Domestic violence occurs in every community. The Muslim community is not exempt from this issue. We, the Muslim community, need to take a strong stand against domestic violence. Unfortunately, some of us ignore such problems in our community, wanting to think that it does not occur among Muslims or we downgrade its seriousness.

The letter is a good start, but does not go far enough. Its explicit and implicit criticism of the community is healthy and refreshing, but it does not provide room for the idea that while domestic violence is a universal problem, Islam is part of the problem. Nor does it provide the opportunity for a creative Islamic response to the plight of domestic violence.

The letter uses the the Quran to support its positions,

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never hit a women or child in his life. The purpose of marriage is to bring peace and tranquility between two people, not fear, intimidation, belittling, controlling, or demonizing. Allah the All-Mighty says in the Qur’an: “Among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (30:21),

However, by using the Quran in such as fashion, the letter opens itself to legitimate criticism based on the Quran. The 800-pound guerilla is of course Sura 4:34.

Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme. (Translation by Dawood)

For me the question/challenge has always been: How a religion that conditionally sanctions male-on-female domestic violence can ever be properly squared with modern values of gender/sexual equality? Not to tackle this question square-on is to disrespect the memory of Aasiya Zubair (and many like her).

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3 responses to “Creator of Muslim-Friendly TV Channel Decapitates Wife.

  1. Hi Roi,

    This is an extremely tragic event indeed. To tell you the truth, I was a bit shocked at this. And it made me question how moderate Mr. Hassan really was; and wonder whether the time has come for the moderate Islam to review some of its cultural traits (Westerners had some odd cultural traits too, but then sat down and realised they went against ethics and therefore obliterated them).

    “Is this tragic occurrence symptomatic of how moderate Islam today suffers from a Soprano-like disconnect between perception, projection, and reality?” – yes, I would say it is.

    “[the letter] Nor does it provide the opportunity for a creative Islamic response to the plight of domestic violence.” – I agree.

    And then everything is ruined when “Good women are obedient” is used. What does this mean exactly? We need to analyse what men (and in this case Muslim men) understand by female obedience (is it to never rebuke men? Is it to never talk back? Is it to submit to men’s wishes even if it doesn’t please them? Is it to not have rights or never to display a sign of intelligence? What…?).
    And has God really made men superior to women? I don’t think He has; otherwise why would He have made us men’s principal advisers, why did He grant us higher organisational skills? Why does the Holy book say that good, wise women are the foundation of a home? God made men to build, to use their body; and made women to think, to organise…but I am just talking here…

    “As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them” – whoah…so, the Qu’ran does encourage domestic violence…

    “How a religion that conditionally sanctions male-on-female domestic violence can ever be properly squared with modern values of gender/sexual equality?” – It can’t…unless a reinterpretation of the scriptures is done (i.e. to acknowledge that certain practices described in the Qu’ran are no longer acceptable, that they go against modern views of human relationships, and that they should be regarded as a historical behavioural reference).

    “Not to tackle this question square-on is to disrespect the memory of Aasiya Zubair (and many like her).” – Hear! Hear!

    May God light the soul of Aasiya Zubair!

    Excellent post, Roi, just excellent!

    Cheers

  2. By the way, Roi…I will add your blog to my “Awesome fellows” list!

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