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September 23


Women Reclaiming Our Physical Power
Teresa Enrico
September 30 or
October 1

We Are the Heart of RC Women’s Liberation

I am an Iranian Muslim woman. At the South, West, and Central Asian Women’s Workshop, in December 2012, six Muslim women gathered at 7:00 in the morning. It was a first in RC history. Like one of the sisters said, it was the beginning of some very important and hard work in RC: we have to learn to be visible and not be ashamed as Muslim women.

The same afternoon, my Arab sister led a lunch table for Muslims and allies. Almost the whole workshop was there. It was a great contradiction1 being with other Muslim women from south, west, and central Asia.

In the evening we gave a report to the workshop. We said that we were six Muslim women, all very different, with six different views and experiences of Islam, and all facing the oppression of Muslim women differently. One woman said, “Please do not judge Islam from what you see and hear in the media. Do not put the crimes and Islam together, like how the men in power in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Muslim countries use Islam as an excuse to oppress and abuse women.”

Islam as you see it in the world is not the same as the Islam from the Koran. The first thing God said to Mohammed was “read” and that knowledge is obligatory for all humans. But still, a lot of Muslims don’t send their daughters to school and even kill them if they try to go.

I learned that many women are told by men that the Koran is only to be read in Arabic. Women who don’t know Arabic, or how to read, are told what Islam is about by the men.

I got angry remembering how many good things I forgot about Islam when I moved to Europe. During the first fifteen years I felt that I had to deny that I was a Muslim. Because I was scared of being excluded or targeted by the growing hatred and oppression of Muslims, I felt that I should speak badly of Islam. I forgot how Mohammad had stopped the killing of baby girls and that his wife, Khadije, had asked him to marry her. She was forty-five and an independent businesswoman, and he, a twenty-five-year-old man, was working for her.

In my daily life I try to stay away from the newspapers. I’m scared of the news of drones in Pakistan and the threats of bombing Iran. I am always scared that officials are going to get me and send me to Guantanamo.2 Every time I come to the United States, I feel terrified at the airport that maybe they are going to shoot me and then say, “Oh, sorry; we thought she was a terrorist.”

I am looking forward to staying in touch with my Muslim sisters and to seeing the RC work on Muslim liberation grow.

What is close to my heart and mind from the workshop is to value and remember this group and stay in touch everywhere I go; to remember to always take initiative, take charge, and trust my thinking; and to remember that I matter, that everything is possible, and that sexism and racism and war will stop!

We are the heart of RC women’s liberation.

(Great thanks to my dear sister, Anu, who encouraged me to write this, and to Google Translate.3)

In sisterhood,

Pardis Pourahmad
Copenhagen, Denmark
Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of women

1 Contradiction to distress
2 The military prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
3 Google Translate is a free online language translation service.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00