Novelist and screenwriter Kamran Pasha on being a Muslim in Hollywood and having the courage to follow your dreams, whatever your spiritual path.
Women have had a profound impact on my life. My mother was not given the privilege of a college education. The culture she grew up in didn’t allow it. Women finished high school, and then got married. While she was raising my sister and me, she decided that that wasn’t going to happen to us. She urged us to become as educated as we wanted to be prior to marriage.
My 31-year-old sister is pursuing a Ph. D., and has completed a J.D., M.A. as well. As I write this post, I’m finishing up my last year of law school, and have already completed an M.A. I’m grateful that my sister and I were not restricted to having to marry young in order to sate an arbitrary cultural appetite. I’m even more grateful to have grown up with two empowered women. Having these two amazing women in my life has made me highly appreciative of other empowered women. A real man is thankful for an empowered woman, not afraid of one.
Last week’s guest post How I Met My Son’s Mother is emblematic of larger struggles within the ummah: those of sexism, ageism and racism. These are all issues Islam was supposed to cure, but that cultural Muslims recreate. These issues become extremely pronounced during the marriage process. People’s insecurities become amplified, because they want to fit into cultural/societal expectations. Alhamdolillah, through the responses to the article, it’s clear that some people are questioning those expectations.
As a Muslim man and lifelong social justice activist, I took issue with the author’s lack of realization of his own male privilege, and also his inability to challenge or reflect upon that privilege.
I’m responding in a loving way to my brother Mezba who is married (congratulations!) and has offspring (wonderful!) but is nevertheless about to enjoy the benefit of my sincere, unsolicited advice. I imagined what I would say if a young man came to me with this attitude intending to become the father of my grandchildren, whether it’s my son or someone who would like to become my son-in-law.
It’s especially easy to respond to this article because Mezba is so honest, so naive, and so unapologetic with his outrageous generalizations. Mezba, bro veteran, tell it like it is!
“There were no good girls in Canada.” I’ve never been to Canada, but there are many good girls in America! Either Canada is some kind of country-wide brothel with a small oasis of righteousness, or you weren’t looking hard enough, Mezba! Besides, what is a “good” girl?
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
While men and boys are the overwhelming perpetrators of violence against women, many are also partnering with women and girls to address and end this violence. What can you do to help?
* Educate yourself
* Speak up against attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote violence against them
* Listen to/speak with women
* Speak with other men
* Have the confidence to confront your own actions, beliefs, and opinions
* Contribute your time and money
* Support survivors
* Lead by example
Read more at:
Carlos Andrés Gómez in The Guardian with Men: we can start a movement to stop violence against women
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“Here, I have her bio data from your aunt.” With a gleam in her eye, my mother turned around her laptop towards me. “Take a look.”
Kids, the year was 2006 and the hunt for my other half was in full swing. My parents got emails daily and all the aunties had been Put On Notice. Now, one of them had sent a biodata to my mother. Slightly curious, since I have heard so many good things about this latest prospect – who I was told could be The One – I began to read the email. Her name sounded slightly familiar as I continued to read. University education. Check. Bengali. Check. Muslim. Check. Four years younger than me. Check. Beautiful? Oh. My. God.
“This is…this is-,” I struggled to find the words to explain my perplexity. I KNEW this girl! With an incredulous tone, I told my mother who she was.