It’s nice to see that Angelina Jolie can sit up front on the stage and speak to a mixed audience at the Islamic Center. Now inshaallah Muslim women can do the same. Perhaps more women- and not just the usual long-standing ‘representatives’ – can speak and be engaged at higher levels at large masajid like ADAMS.
Congratulations, Angelina, on doing what many of us Muslim women haven’t been able to do. Despite many years of community work and religious service, most of us cannot speak to mixed audiences at our local Islamic Centers. Last time I tried to get my rather progressive mosque to feature women scholars discussing their research, we couldn’t get more than a single person on the Board to agree. I bet they’d love to host Angelina, though.
Angelina, it’s great you got the brothers to take pictures of you and applaud as you did so, when many of those pious brothers are too pious to countenance Muslim women in full modest attire speaking to mixed audiences.
My daughter is always asking why we always have to sit and listen to the guys. Now I can tell her it’s going to be okay.
I guess we should invite Angelina Jolie to visit all our local Islamic Centers. All the resistance will melt away.
Update: Some folks have been upset because there were Muslim women in the audience and perhaps one on the stage, listening to Angelina. I really don’t feel the need to respond to that. People have also said that in ADAMS, women are more visible than they are in other mosques: I’m aware of this. I’ve lived in Northern Virginia and am very familiar with the ADAMS community. I don’t pick on ADAMS because it’s worse than most. It’s not. It’s better than most. This is in fact the most distressing thing to women – that this “better” is so sadly inadequate. The same women “represent” 50% of the community for years on end, and women’s voices are still never equal to those of men. Don’t give me particular cases of women who happen to serve on the board in mid-tier or labor positions. Men are still, mostly or always (depending on the space), the voices, the leadership, the religious leaders in these spaces. This remains the case nationwide in most mosques. It is what will drive away our daughters (and many of our sons). Those who want to comfort themselves with the number of women who show up as followers, listeners, and attendees may do so. Angelina Jolie still gets more respect in a mosque from men than most women who have spent years in the service of the community.