What Islam really says about women | Alaa Murabit

What Islam really says about women | Alaa Murabit


So on my way here, the passenger next to me and I
had a very interesting conversation during my flight. He told me, “It seems like
the United States has run out of jobs, because they’re just making some up: cat psychologist, dog whisperer,
tornado chaser.” A couple of seconds later, he asked me, “So what do you do?” And I was like, “Peacebuilder?” (Laughter) Every day, I work to amplify
the voices of women and to highlight their experiences and their participation in peace
processes and conflict resolution, and because of my work, I recognize that the only way to ensure
the full participation of women globally is by reclaiming religion. Now, this matter is vitally
important to me. As a young Muslim woman,
I am very proud of my faith. It gives me the strength and conviction
to do my work every day. It’s the reason I can be here
in front of you. But I can’t overlook the damage that has
been done in the name of religion, not just my own, but all
of the world’s major faiths. The misrepresentation and misuse
and manipulation of religious scripture has influenced our social
and cultural norms, our laws, our daily lives, to a point where we sometimes
don’t recognize it. My parents moved from Libya,
North Africa, to Canada in the early 1980s, and I am the middle child of 11 children. Yes, 11. But growing up, I saw my parents, both religiously devout
and spiritual people, pray and praise God for their blessings, namely me of course, but among others.
(Laughter) They were kind and funny and patient, limitlessly patient, the kind of patience
that having 11 kids forces you to have. And they were fair. I was never subjected to religion
through a cultural lens. I was treated the same, the same was expected of me. I was never taught that God
judged differently based on gender. And my parents’ understanding of God
as a merciful and beneficial friend and provider shaped the way
I looked at the world. Now, of course, my upbringing
had additional benefits. Being one of 11 children is Diplomacy 101.
(Laughter) To this day, I am asked
where I went to school, like, “Did you go to
Kennedy School of Government?” and I look at them and I’m like, “No, I went to the Murabit School
of International Affairs.” It’s extremely exclusive. You would have
to talk to my mom to get in. Lucky for you, she’s here. But being one of 11 children
and having 10 siblings teaches you a lot about
power structures and alliances. It teaches you focus; you have
to talk fast or say less, because you will always get cut off. It teaches you the importance
of messaging. You have to ask questions in the right way
to get the answers you know you want, and you have to say no
in the right way to keep the peace. But the most important lesson
I learned growing up was the importance of being at the table. When my mom’s favorite lamp broke,
I had to be there when she was trying to find out how and by who,
because I had to defend myself, because if you’re not,
then the finger is pointed at you, and before you know it,
you will be grounded. I am not speaking
from experience, of course. When I was 15 in 2005,
I completed high school and I moved from Canada — Saskatoon — to Zawiya, my parents’ hometown in Libya, a very traditional city. Mind you, I had only ever been
to Libya before on vacation, and as a seven-year-old girl,
it was magic. It was ice cream and trips to the beach
and really excited relatives. Turns out it’s not the same
as a 15-year-old young lady. I very quickly became introduced
to the cultural aspect of religion. The words “haram” —
meaning religiously prohibited — and “aib” — meaning
culturally inappropriate — were exchanged carelessly, as if they meant the same thing
and had the same consequences. And I found myself in conversation
after conversation with classmates and colleagues, professors,
friends, even relatives, beginning to question my own role
and my own aspirations. And even with the foundation
my parents had provided for me, I found myself questioning
the role of women in my faith. So at the Murabit School
of International Affairs, we go very heavy on the debate, and rule number one is do your research,
so that’s what I did, and it surprised me how easy it was to find women in my faith
who were leaders, who were innovative, who were strong — politically, economically,
even militarily. Khadija financed the Islamic movement in its infancy. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her. So why weren’t we learning about her? Why weren’t we learning about these women? Why were women being relegated
to positions which predated the teachings of our faith? And why, if we are equal
in the eyes of God, are we not equal in the eyes of men? To me, it all came back to the lessons
I had learned as a child. The decision maker, the person
who gets to control the message, is sitting at the table, and unfortunately,
in every single world faith, they are not women. Religious institutions
are dominated by men and driven by male leadership, and they create policies
in their likeness, and until we can change
the system entirely, then we can’t realistically
expect to have full economic and political participation of women. Our foundation is broken. My mom actually says, you can’t build
a straight house on a crooked foundation. In 2011, the Libyan revolution broke out,
and my family was on the front lines. And there’s this amazing thing
that happens in war, a cultural shift almost, very temporary. And it was the first time that I felt
it was not only acceptable for me to be involved,
but it was encouraged. It was demanded. Myself and other women
had a seat at the table. We weren’t holding hands or a medium. We were part of decision making. We were information sharing.
We were crucial. And I wanted and needed
for that change to be permanent. Turns out, that’s not that easy. It only took a few weeks before the women
that I had previously worked with were returning back
to their previous roles, and most of them were driven
by words of encouragement from religious and political leaders, most of whom cited religious scripture
as their defense. It’s how they gained popular support
for their opinions. So initially, I focused on the economic
and political empowerment of women. I thought that would lead
to cultural and social change. It turns out, it does a little,
but not a lot. I decided to use
their defense as my offense, and I began to cite and highlight
Islamic scripture as well. In 2012 and 2013, my organization
led the single largest and most widespread
campaign in Libya. We entered homes and schools
and universities, even mosques. We spoke to 50,000 people directly, and hundreds of thousands more through
billboards and television commercials, radio commercials and posters. And you’re probably wondering how
a women’s rights organization was able to do this in communities
which had previously opposed our sheer existence. I used scripture. I used verses from the Quran
and sayings of the Prophet, Hadiths, his sayings which
are, for example, “The best of you is the best
to their family.” “Do not let your brother oppress another.” For the first time, Friday sermons
led by local community imams promoted the rights of women. They discussed taboo issues,
like domestic violence. Policies were changed. In certain communities,
we actually had to go as far as saying the International
Human Rights Declaration, which you opposed because it wasn’t
written by religious scholars, well, those same principles
are in our book. So really, the United Nations
just copied us. By changing the message,
we were able to provide an alternative narrative which promoted
the rights of women in Libya. It’s something that has now
been replicated internationally, and while I am not saying it’s easy —
believe me, it’s not. Liberals will say you’re using religion
and call you a bad conservative. Conservatives will call you
a lot of colorful things. I’ve heard everything from, “Your parents
must be extremely ashamed of you” — false; they’re my biggest fans — to “You will not make it
to your next birthday” — again wrong, because I did. And I remain a very strong believer that women’s rights
and religion are not mutually exclusive. But we have to be at the table. We have to stop giving up our position,
because by remaining silent, we allow for the continued persecution
and abuse of women worldwide. By saying that we’re going
to fight for women’s rights and fight extremism
with bombs and warfare, we completely cripple local societies
which need to address these issues so that they’re sustainable. It is not easy, challenging
distorted religious messaging. You will have your fair share
of insults and ridicule and threats. But we have to do it. We have no other option than to reclaim
the message of human rights, the principles of our faith, not for us, not for
the women in your families, not for the women in this room, not even for the women out there, but for societies
that would be transformed with the participation of women. And the only way we can do that, our only option, is to be, and remain, at the table. Thank you. (Applause)

100 Replies to “What Islam really says about women | Alaa Murabit”

  1. Make sure to thumbs down this obvious misinformation and blatant bullshit. Islam is NOT what this person is trying to imply. Simple as that.

  2. Taking back your religion? It was never yours to begin with. Islam and all other religions belong to the elites, or people who wished to become the elites. Religion was designed by man to control and exploit man, just like any other dictatorship or empire.

  3. This Muslim feminist(what an oxymoron) wouldn't last a day in an Islamic nation.The real Islam, not some homogenized western sect calling themselves Muslims, is a western females worst nightmare. The fact that the feminized, radical left has allied with Islam is about the dumbest political move I've ever witnessed.
    It really reinforces the idea that women and politics don't mix well. Voting with your heart is a fool's errand that leads to catastrophic, societal failure.
    Hyper Liberal American women have single handedly destroyed the Democratic Party in just a few years. Bravo!

  4. i cant imagine how many thumbs down this video has gotten because youtube is sending people here to combat the fliers in canada lol

  5. to all that think it is unfair to let her speak about whats going in Libya:
    her whole family is living there and she moved there and lived there herself.
    AND she tries to HELP women's right rightfully.
    So dont blame her, join the table WITH her.
    All women should stand together.

  6. Koran, (Al – Baqara 2: 228) says "Men are managers of the affairs of women because Allah has preferred men over women and women were expended of their rights."

  7. What explaining islam on ted… yeah its propaganda bs. Let me guess islam loves and respects its wemon. Lol i know one thing is true…ISLAM IS RIGHT ABOUT WEMON. just saying.

  8. Some liberal religious people provide cover for the worst aspects of extremist variants of their religion

    I won't say that all Christians are good and have healthy views of women, a lot of them are very backwards but I will acknowledge that

  9. She is not equal under Islam. She needs to read all of the Quran. Also read “Reliance of the Traveller” the highly respected book of sharia. In general women are treated as property. Your rights are very different than men.

  10. is-lame is a completely outdated, intolerant, nefarious, malicious and residual, a highly hypicritical and totally menda-cious, an utterly primitiv and extremely bloodthristy, a barbaric to its core and violence gloryfying, antisemitic, christo-phobic, xenophic, mysogenistic, trough incest completely degenerated, morally and ethically completely corrupted and overall pretty fckd up totalitarian fascistic ideology and a frickin' plebian deathcult.
    Thats what it is and there is no way around it. Hence, fck it!

  11. My family comes from Bahrain and Saudi. Most of us did not make it out, to the US. I lived through so much… but what kept me together as a Muslimah was the Qu'ran. I know the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was right about us, about our equality with men. Now we just need the other men to realize this.

  12. That’s total BS! Did anyone ask who was talking to the Mohammad dude when he got is revelations, NOPE! Maybe a dude called Lucifer? Wouldn’t be the first time Lucifer did a Jedi Mind F*ck on a human.

  13. That's cool and all but actions speak louder than words, and at this moment Islam is arguably the popular faith that discriminates against women the most. Tell me how did that happen?

  14. A wilfully ignorant or dishonest appraisal of what islamic scripture says about women
    .
    Women are considered deficient in their intelligence and in court their testimony is only worth half that of a man.
    A son gets twice the inheritance that a daughter gets.
    In the absence of the father the oldest male takes charge of the household
    A husband is allowed to beat his wife
    A husband can force his wife to have intercourse and in any position.
    A girl is considered of marriageable age at 9 years old though the quran just says you can`t divorce a wife of pre pubescent age until a certain time has elapsed so basically there is no age restriction.
    A husband can divorce his wife by simply repeating "I divorce you" three times but a woman has to provide evidence and adequate witnesses (see a women's testimony is only worth half that of a man) in a sharia court.
    Women can be forced to marry against their will.
    A women slave can be raped.
    A man can marry a non muslim women (but any children will be muslims) however a woman can not marry outside of her faith.
    A husband can have four wives but a wife can only have one husband.
    A woman can not become head of her country or tribe.
    All these and more can be found in both the quran, and Hadiths you can also become better informed by watching David Woods youtube videos where he gives the islamic sources.

    funny how the muslim in the video ignored all this only to make obscure quotations which mean nothing to the subject she was talking about.

  15. Title doesn't fit speech, this is just a wanna-be could-be would-be… nothing that actually did anything… dont waste your time with this video

  16. I'm glad you have a fuzzy nice rainbow-coated view of Islam's god. NOW, read the Quran and the Hadith and what they say about women.

  17. She is talking about an imaginary world. This is not islam. Allah talks to men. Women are only men's property. She picks certain verses and ignors other verses. Did the United nations just copy you? What a distortion of facts. Does the UN charter includes articles about beating women or cutting hands? Please stop spreading lies…

  18. Libya… you mean that failed state where people are being sold as slaves? Anyone mixed up in that "revolution" is haram. Anyone connected to the revolution should be treated as a pariah for the rest of their days on Earth.

  19. I love propaganda, i was always a big fan. Keep it up Ted, i loved your 2 pro pedophilia talks, well i loved all 4 but only 2 can be found now. Can't wait until the next talk.

  20. Selling 14 years old as bride.
    Killing woman is she was raped and there is no 3 males to prove she didn't wanted.
    Genital mutilation forced on children.
    Yeah let's make all leftists Islamist.

  21. So much ignorance.

    Khadija was made successful and powerful under Jahikiya not Islam.
    Khadija doesn’t owe her freedom, status and success to islam but to the time of Jahikiya.

    When a rich and powerful old woman takes for husband a poor 25 year old orphan, this man is nothing else than a "toy boy".

    Muhammad was Khadija’s Toy Boy.

    Think of it, she was his boss, she had all the money, all the power, the Status, she decided to marry Muhammad, not the opposite.

  22. Islam isn’t made for women, it’s made for men.

    The Qur’an is perfectly clear : women are made for men, not the opposite.
    Women must fully obey their husbands, not the opposite…. and if they don’t Allah commands men to beat them.

    Welcome to islam.

  23. For everyone saying thats not true.. i just wanna say that yes its right women rights sometimes are ditched in some countries BECAUSE of stupid cultural believes and disgusting minded ppl.. but if countries laws were made from islamic rules… women can do anything and would have every right.

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