Intersections session sheds light on struggles of Muslim women

The Women’s Resource Center and the Muslim Student Association came together on Monday, Dec. 8 to enlighten students on the struggle Muslim women face within their religious and social communities.

“My family on my mother’s side is Arabic but I don’t identify with Islam so I thought it would be interesting to view the religion from a women’s standpoint,” said sophomore Emily Jannaro.

The event was lead by senior Simone Dixon, who also planned it.

“Make Me a Muslim,” a documentary by the BBC was viewed and discussed.

In the documentary, Pakistani model Shanna Bukhari, who was born in Britain and raised Muslim, met five British converts to Islam and tried to justify her career despite her religion.

The five converts followed in the documentary were each at different places in the religion and dealt with the repercussions converting brought upon their personal lives in their own ways. From a young 24-year-old who was taking her shahada, the ceremony required in order to become a Muslim, to a wife and mother who shared her husband with another woman, an array of situations were documented.

The woman painted in the most flattering light was an internationally recognized model, Aisha. She doesn't wear the hijab and is portrayed as being very “modern,” as she continues to model and runs her own clothing label.

“The movie showed two extremes, not most women’s experiences,” said senior Miryam Johnston.

“Make Me a Muslim” started an intelligent and empathetic discussion.

Comparisons were drawn, such as why nuns are not portrayed as oppressed despite wearing similar coverings to Islamic women. The discussion also covered topics like modern society’s tendency to favor anything demonstrated by white people, and its tendency to make generalizations about certain religions.

“I liked the discussion at the end,” said freshman Jodi Wilson, a Muslim convert. “It gave people a chance to share their thoughts.”

According to Dixon, these events are less about shaping ideas and more about simply putting those ideas on the radar.

“I want to plant the seed so that it’ll grow into you finding your own truth,” Dixon said.

The overall value of attending the Intersections series wasn’t lost on attendees.

“It’s good to get a taste of other people’s experiences and expanding your worldview of identities,” said senior Kayleigh Crummey.

Learn more about the experience of being a woman when the Intersections sessions pick up again in the winter semester.

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