Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘hijab

Why this rich culture still untouchable to investigation?

Mind you that Ignorance(Jahiliya) period mentioned in Islamic rhetorics meant period of the people still Not believing in the monotheistic religions

Posted on April 2, 2010

Islam calendar starts in 622 AC, the date the Prophet Muhammad fled to Medina (Yathreb) from Mecca.

The past or before date zero, or the culture and tradition of pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula, has been practically untouched by researchers and Islamic investigators. though countless wonderful poems of that period are published and even much richer than poems written after that period.

The period prior to 622 or year one of “Hegire” is lumped as the period of ignorance (Jahiliyya) by Muslims.

The Arab World still teaches pre-Islamic poetry and poets; it is mostly through these poems that the “Arabs” emulated the vocabulary and were acquainted with the very rich parts of pre-Islamic culture, traditions, and customs.

Fact is, you cannot understand Islam without the contexts that pressured the prophet Muhammad to compromise with the multitude of tribes allied to Byzantium and Persia empires.

We can claim that a curtain (hijab) has descended on pre-Islamic period simultaneously with the veil that descended on women after the Prophet death.

Thus, women were banished from political power and dealing with political affairs in public, two decades after Muhammad’s death. In these first 3 decades, the beloved youngest wife Aisha of Muhammad was the most learned in Islamic laws and the context in which they were voiced.

Aisha taught many generations of women on their Rights and how to dictate themselves the marriage contracts…and the society followed in these “liberal” new customs of free meetings and gathering, free discussions and poetic jousts…and newer fashions among the women.

And Aisha confronted many faked and false Hadiths (stories of the Prophet behavior and activities) until her death at the age of around 60.

This is no coincidence that Islam after Muhammad’s death had made the connection between pulling a curtain on the Jahiliyya period and the veiling of women in society; removing women from the public political landscape.

During Jahiliyya, each Arabic tribe worshiped idols made of wood or stone; there were many Jewish and “heretic” Christian-Jew sects (as labeled by Christian Orthodox Byzantine Empire) in Arabia and in Mecca.

The 3 most potent and powerful idols were female idols such as Al Uzza, Manat, and Al Lat.  Although the tribes made their yearly pilgrimage to Mecca where the Kaaba contained over 360 idols, this pilgrimage was mainly for doing commerce and enjoying the weeklong festivities and debauchery. 

The main pilgrimage (hajj) for the powerful tribes was to their preferred idols in other locations and towns.

The pragmatic nomads in the Arabian Peninsula and the neighboring deserts have created idols commensurate to their individualistic needs to vent their frustrations with periodic sacrifices, including “handicapped” babies of both genders.

During Muhammad’s time, baby girls were mostly the sacrificial human kind by poor families, especially in periods of great food distress.

Since violence, revenge, and frequent wars “razzias” against other clans were the norm for looting of animals, camels, and slave girls…  powerful female goddesses were purchased and erected for pilgrimage as scapegoats to the tribes’ violent activities.

Thus, female goddesses represented violence, symbol that violence and revenge are the mark of female behavior and dark spirit.

For example, goddess Manat (death) was the oldest idol and was worshiped by the tribes of Aws and Khazraj that inhabited the region of Yathreb, later called Medina (the first Islam City-State).  The original meaning of Manat is taken from a Semitic root meaning “counting of the days of life” that connote death (manya).

The temple of Manat was a natural rock (sakhra) on the coast between Mecca and Yathreb; the two tribes considered that the pilgrimage was not complete until they stopped at the temple of Manat where they shaved their head and offered sacrifices. Manat was a powerful goddess dictator (taghia) and swords were deposited in her temple.

The Prophet gave his nephew Ali bin Abi Taleb the two swords in the temple after it was demolished; one of the sword was called Zulfiqar. 

Representatives of the tribes of Aws and Khazradj had extended permission to Muhammad, after three years of negotiation, to settle in Yathreb with his converts after the tribes of Mecca decided to chase them out.

The other female goddess was Al Lat and was worshiped in Taif, a region on the eastern shores facing Persia.  The main tribe of Taif, the Banu Thaqif, erected square walls around the rock of Al Lat.  Most desert tribes, all the way to Palmyra in northern Syria, worshiped this goddess.

Al Lat had all the attributes of goddess Athena wearing battle helmet, breastplate, armor, and holding a lance.  Banu Thaqif was one of the latest tribes to submit to Allah because Muhammad failed at several expeditions to enter Taif.

Actually, it was Taif that was the preferred destination to Muhammad when he decided to flee Mecca but he was chased out of Taif after his failed negotiation to settle there.

The third most powerful “taghia” goddess was Al Uzza (dignity, physical force and power); the most powerful tribe of Quraich in Mecca consecrated her. 

Al Uzza was the most violent divine warrior and was represented in the form of a tree or three acacias trees and located way up north in Nakhla as Shamiya on the way to Iraq’s caravans.

The temple of Al Uzza was equipped with a slaughtering alter (manhar) called “ghabghab”.  General Khaled bin Al Walid was ordered to destroy the temple of Al Uzza in 630 after Muhammad entered Mecca peacefully as the victor.

General Al Walid was the Quraish leader who defeated Muhammad’s troops in the battle of Uhud; this failed campaign of the Prophet generated 3 years of civil unrest in the City-State of Medina and most of the verses that abridged female equal rights that were previously gained in the first four years.

Note: About ten years after Muhammad’s death, the Arabic Islamic Empire had extended vastly.

The governor Abu Mussa al Ach3ari wrote to the second caliph Omar bin Al Khattab: “You sent me several letters that were not dated.” Omar assembled a council to set up a calendar.

A few opted to using the Byzantium calendar, others the Persian calendar, but the majority recognized that a calendar means power and wanted an Arabic/Islamic calendar.

The discussions led to adopting the date of the Prophet’s immigration to Medina in 622 AC as Date Zero. Omar had said: “this is the year that divided truth from falsehood.”

Islam lunar calendar is of 354 days and started with the month of “Muharram”; the pre-Islamic particular month that prohibited wars and revenge among clans.

In pre-Islam, the tribes used to add one month on the third year for calibration with their commercial dealings. Muhammad forbid to add this month; thus, the Islamic calendar is one year ahead for every 33 Christian years since the year 622.

Are you aware of your biases?

Someone who looks like me walks past you in the street. Do you think they’re a mother, a refugee or a victim of oppression?

Or do you think they’re a cardiologist, a barrister or maybe your local politician?

Do you look me up and down, wondering how hot I must get or if my husband has forced me to wear this outfit? What if I wore my scarf like this?

0:42 I can walk down the street in the exact same outfit and what the world expects of me and the way I’m treated depends on the arrangement of this piece of cloth.

But this isn’t going to be another monologue about the hijab because Lord knows, Muslim women are so much more than the piece of cloth they choose, or not, to wrap their head in. This is about looking beyond your bias.

What if I walked past you and later on you’d found out that actually I was a race car engineer, and that I designed my own race car and I ran my university’s race team, because it’s true.

What if I told you that I was actually trained as a boxer for 5 years, because that’s true, too. Would it surprise you? Why?

Ladies and gentlemen, ultimately, that surprise and the behaviors associated with it are the product of something called unconscious bias, or implicit prejudice. And that results in the ridiculously detrimental lack of diversity in our workforce, particularly in areas of influence. Hello, Australian Federal Cabinet. (Applause)

Let me just set something out from the outset: Unconscious bias is not the same as conscious discrimination. I’m not saying that in all of you, there’s a secret sexist or racist or ageist lurking within, waiting to get out. That’s not what I’m saying.

We all have our biases. They’re the filters through which we see the world around us. I’m not accusing anyone, bias is not an accusation.

Rather, it’s something that has to be identified, acknowledged and mitigated against.

Bias can be about race, it can be about gender. It can also be about class, education, disability. The fact is, we all have biases against what’s different, what’s different to our social norms.

The thing is, if we want to live in a world where the circumstances of your birth do not dictate your future and where equal opportunity is ubiquitous, then each and every one of us has a role to play in making sure unconscious bias does not determine our lives.

There’s this really famous experiment in the space of unconscious bias and that’s in the space of gender in the 1970s and 1980s.

So orchestras, back in the day, were made up mostly of dudes, up to only 5% were female.

And apparently, that was because men played it differently, presumably better, presumably.

But in 1952, The Boston Symphony Orchestra started an experiment. They started blind auditions. So rather than face-to-face auditions, you would have to play behind a screen. Now funnily enough, no immediate change was registered until they asked the audition-ers to take their shoes off before they entered the room. because the clickity-clack of the heels against the hardwood floors was enough to give the ladies away.

Now get this, there results of the audition showed that there was a 50 percent increased chance a woman would progress past the preliminary stage. And it almost tripled their chances of getting in.

What does that tell us? Well, unfortunately for the guys, men actually didn’t play differently, but there was the perception that they did. And it was that bias that was determining their outcome.

what we’re doing here is identifying and acknowledging that a bias exists.

And look, we all do it. Let me give you an example. A son and his father are in a horrible car accident. The father dies on impact and the son, who’s severely injured, is rushed to hospital. The surgeon looks at the son when they arrive and is like, “I can’t operate.” Why? “The boy is my son.” How can that be? Ladies and gentlemen, the surgeon is his mother. Now hands up — and it’s okay — but hands up if you initially assumed the surgeon was a guy?

There’s evidence that that unconscious bias exists, but we all just have to acknowledge that it’s there and then look at ways that we can move past it so that we can look at solutions.

one of the interesting things around the space of unconscious bias is the topic of quotas.

And this something that’s often brought up. And of of the criticisms is this idea of merit.

Look, I don’t want to be picked because I’m a chick, I want to be picked because I have merit, because I’m the best person for the job. It’s a sentiment that’s pretty common among female engineers that I work with and that I know. And yeah, I get it, I’ve been there.

But, if the merit idea was true, why would identical resumes, in an experiment done in 2012 by Yale, identical resumes sent out for a lab technician, why would Jennifers be deemed less competent, be less likely to be offered the job, and be paid less than Johns. The unconscious bias is there, but we just have to look at how we can move past it.

it’s interesting, there’s some research that talks about why this is the case and it’s called the merit paradox.

And in organizations — and this is kind of ironic — in organizations that talk about merit being their primary value-driver in terms of who they hire, they were more likely to hire dudes and more likely to pay the guys more because apparently merit is a masculine quality. But, hey.

you guys think you’ve got a good read on me, you kinda think you know what’s up.

Can you imagine me running one of these? Can you imagine me walking in and being like, “Hey boys, this is what’s up. This is how it’s done.” Well, I’m glad you can. (Applause) Because ladies and gentlemen, that’s my day job. And the cool thing about it is that it’s pretty entertaining. Actually, in places like Malaysia, Muslim women on rigs isn’t even comment-worthy. There are that many of them. But, it is entertaining.

I remember, I was telling one of the guys, “Hey, mate, look, I really want to learn how to surf.” And he’s like, “Yassmin, I don’t know how you can surf with all that gear you’ve got on, and I don’t know any women-only beaches.”

And then, the guy came up with a brilliant idea, he was like, “I know, you run that organization Youth Without Borders, right? Why don’t you start a clothing line for Muslim chicks in beaches. You can call it Youth Without Boardshorts.” (Laughter) And I was like, “Thanks, guys.” And I remember another bloke telling me that I should eat all the yogurt I could because that was the only culture I was going to get around there.

the problem is, it’s kind of true because there’s an intense lack of diversity in our workforce, particularly in places of influence.

 in 2010, The Australian National University did an experiment where they sent out 4,000 identical applications to entry level jobs, essentially. To get the same number of interviews as someone with an Anglo-Saxon name, if you were Chinese, you had to send out 68 percent more applications.

If you were Middle Eastern — Abdel-Magied — you had to send out 64 percent, and if you’re Italian, you’re pretty lucky, you only have to send out 12 percent more.

In places like Silicon Valley, it’s not that much better. In Google, they put out some diversity results and 61 percent white, 30 percent Asian and nine, a bunch of blacks, Hispanics, all that kind of thing. And the rest of the tech world is not that much better and they’ve acknowledged it, but I’m not really sure what they’re doing about it.

The thing is, it doesn’t trickle up. In a study done by Green Park, who are a British senior exec supplier, they said that over half of the FTSE 100 companies don’t have a nonwhite leader at their board level, executive or non-executive. And two out of every three don’t have an executive who’s from a minority. And most of the minorities that are at that sort of level are non-executive board directors. So their influence isn’t that great.

I’ve told you a bunch of terrible things. You’re like, “Oh my god, how bad is that? What can I do about it?” Well, fortunately, we’ve identified that there’s a problem.

There’s a lack of opportunity, and that’s due to unconscious bias.

But you might be sitting there thinking, “I ain’t brown. What’s that got to do with me?” Let me offer you a solution. And as I’ve said before, we live in a world where we’re looking for an ideal. And if we want to create a world where the circumstances of your birth don’t matter, we all have to be part of the solution.

And interestingly, the author of the lab resume experiment offered some sort of a solution. She said the one thing that brought the successful women together, the one thing that they had in common, was the fact that they had good mentors.

So mentoring, we’ve all kind of heard that before, it’s in the vernacular. Here’s another challenge for you. I challenge each and every one of you to mentor someone different. Think about it.

Everyone wants to mentor someone who kind of is familiar, who looks like us, we have shared experiences. If I see a Muslim chick who’s got a bit of attitude, I’m like, “What’s up? We can hang out.”

You walk into a room and there’s someone who went to the same school, you play the same sports, there’s a high chance that you’re going to want to help that person out.

But for the person in the room who has no shared experiences with you it becomes extremely difficult to find that connection.

The idea of finding someone different to mentor, someone who doesn’t come from the same background as you, whatever that background is, is about opening doors for people who couldn’t even get to the damn hallway.

Because ladies and gentlemen, the world is not just. People are not born with equal opportunity. I was born in one of the poorest cities in the world, Khartoum. (Sudan)

I was born brown, I was born female, and I was born Muslim in a world that is pretty suspicious of us for reasons I can’t control. However, I also acknowledge the fact that I was born with privilege.

I was born with amazing parents, I was given an education and had the blessing of migrating to Australia. But also, I’ve been blessed with amazing mentors who’ve opened doors for me that I didn’t even know were there. A mentor who said to me, “Hey, your story’s interesting. Let’s write something about it so that I can share it with people.”

A mentor who said, “I know you’re all those things that don’t belong on an Australian rig, but come on anyway.” And here I am, talking to you.

11:24 And I’m not the only one. There’s all sorts of people in my communities that I see have been helped out by mentors. A young Muslim man in Sydney who ended up using his mentor’s help to start up a poetry slam in Bankstown and now it’s a huge thing.

And he’s able to change the lives of so many other young people. Or a lady here in Brisbane, an Afghan lady who’s a refugee, who could barely speak English when she came to Australia, her mentors helped her become a doctor and she took our Young Queenslander of the Year Award in 2008. She’s an inspiration. This is so not smooth.

12:05 This is me. But I’m also the woman in the rig clothes, and I’m also the woman who was in the abaya at the beginning. Would you have chosen to mentor me if you had seen me in one of those other versions of who I am? Because I’m that same person.

We have to look past our unconscious bias, find someone to mentor who’s at the opposite end of your spectrum because structural change takes time, and I don’t have that level of patience. So if we’re going to create a change, if we’re going to create a world where we all have those kinds of opportunities, then choose to open doors for people. Because you might think that diversity has nothing to do with you, but we are all part of this system and we can all be part of that solution.

12:51 And if you don’t know where to find someone different, go to the places you wouldn’t usually go. If you enroll in private high school tutoring, go to your local state school or maybe just drop into your local refugee tutoring center. Or perhaps you work at an office.

Take out that new grad who looks totally out of place — ’cause that was me — and open doors for them, not in a tokenistic way, because we’re not victims, but show them the opportunities because opening up your world will make you realize that you have access to doors that they didn’t even know existed and you didn’t even know they didn’t have.

13:24 Ladies and gentlemen, there is a problem in our community with lack of opportunity, especially due to unconscious bias. But each and every one one of you has the potential to change that. I know you’ve been given a lot of challenges today, but if you can take this one piece and think about it a little differently, because diversity is magic. And I encourage you to look past your initial perceptions because I bet you, they’re probably wrong.

Patsy Z shared this link

“Bias is not an accusation. It’s something that has to be identified, acknowledged and mitigated against.”

A powerful talk on the biases we don’t even know we have.
t.ted.com|By Yassmin Abdel-Magied

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