Why Muslim Women Are Key to Tackling Extremism

Muslim Women

Huff Post: By Samina Ali: Curator, Muslima: Muslim Women’s Arts & Voices

As we commemorate the 12th anniversary of 9/11 today, we continue to face turbulence, extremism and hostility between faiths, a continued legacy of that day’s terrible events.

As the curator of Muslima, a new online exhibition about contemporary Muslim women, I can’t help but wonder where are the Muslim women in our conversation about 9/11, about the future and about peace? Because I know that if they were at the heart of that dialogue, the world would be very different.

While curating the exhibition for the International Museum of Women, I spoke to Dalia Mogahed, the former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. She told me that women — as mothers, teaches, scholars and community leaders — have a vital role to play in helping young Muslims to see that the Islam of the Qur’an and the ideology of Al-Qaeda are “opposing forces.”

Yet this important message about women’s roles is getting lost. A cursory glance at current events shows that in many Muslim countries ultraconservative thinking is gaining momentum. And while it’s true that a religious trend is decidedly different from a terrorist group like Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, the attitudes towards women’s rights and women’s participation in society appear dangerously similar.

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