17Jan

Muslims, Hipsters, & Women

A Muslim, a hipster, and a woman walk into a bar…and they’re the same person.

A rising new movement of Muslim women whose wardrobe consists of a mixture of hipster duds and traditional Muslim head coverings are seeking equality in their mosques. They call themselves “Mipsters” and their cause is fascinating. In traditional Muslim mosques, it is custom to limit women’s right in at least 3 main ways.

  • Muslim women are not allowed to use the main entrance to the mosque. They must enter by a side entrance.
  • Muslim women have less access to the imam (teacher) during worship services, including an obstructed view of him during the teaching time.
  • Muslim women are not allowed to pray in the same space as men in the mosque.

If you’re still confused about what a “mipster” is, join the club. Some info from their official (if that’s possible) Facebook account helps:

“A Mipster is someone at the forefront of the latest music, fashion, art, critical thought, food, imagination, creativity, and all forms of obscure everything. A Mipster is someone who seeks inspiration from the Islamic tradition of divine scriptures, volumes of knowledge, mystical poets, bold prophets, inspirational politicians, esoteric Imams, and our fellow human beings searching for transcendental states of consciousness.  A Mipster has a social mind, and yearning for a more just order, a more inclusive community. The Mipster is a bold, yet humble mind, open to disparate ideas and firm enough in conviction to act, speak out and drop the hammer when the time is right.”

Their group has received mixed reactions from Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Some traditionalists are convinced they’re losing the way of Islam, being sacrilegious.

Some progressives believe their message of reform and equality is exactly what Islam needs to succeed.

mipsterz

Their youth-culture-driven message reached a group of Muslim women who were inspired to call for a significant change to the less than accommodating prayer spaces to which Muslim women are unfortunately relegated.

Their group launched a tumblr account called The Side Entrance in which Muslim women can post pictures of their mosque’s prayer spaces in hopes that a movement will arise and mobilize to call for change.

So far the results have been overwhelming. Hundreds of women have sent in pictures of their prayer spaces as compared to their mosque’s men’s spaces. As the group states, they “show the beautiful, the adequate, and the pathetic.”

 

Check out some of the most striking images from The Side Entrance:

Cairo mosqueTwo women in a mosque at Cairo who were not allowed to enter and this, forced to pray outside.

chicago mosque      The mosque in downtown Chicago. See that awful accordion room divider? The women have to pray in the corner on the other side while the men take their seats in the main area.

You know what’s tragic about the mipster movement? It won’t really go anywhere or change anything. Nothing will ultimately get better and no significant change will take place.

Because unfortunately, the oppressed young Muslim women as well as their male oppressors are on the wrong team. What I want them to know so desperately is that movements only start when God ignites them and real change only occurs when God authors it.

More than that, the change they’re seeking has already been fully accomplished by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, no male and female,  for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

What the Muslim doesn’t know, the Christian does: That through Jesus God has now thrown open the door to His presence!

  • We all enter the same door to God’s presence, only through JESUS.
  • We all pray to God equally. Nobody shoved in the corner, only through JESUS.
  • We are ALL invited to be recipients of God’s grace, regardless of our past, only through JESUS.

May this truth radically change our lives today as we walk in the undeserved grace of God, only through JESUS.

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About Steven Hill

2 comments

  1. If we could only tackle inequality among genders in the Christian church, it would give us higher ground for critiquing other religions

    • While I think Christianity definitely has room for improvement in the area of gender equality, the difference between Christianity’s and Islam’s approach toward women could not be more different.

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