Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Miss USA" - a liberated Arab Muslim woman? Yes, according to some.

Faqih is the Arabic word for somebody who has deep knowledge of a subject, an expertise of sorts. At some stage in her family history, Rima Faqih had some great grandfather who was most likely extremely knowledgeable, probably about Islam, hence that is why the name would have stuck. At least that is my speculation on the origin of her surname based on what a reasonable person from the Middle East might assume. What he would have thought of her winning this beauty pageant in a far off land can only be speculation but there is no shortage of opinion on the internet.

Naturally there is much disapproval from many Muslims about her appearance and the meaning of all this, but there is also a vocal minority of Arabs who are quite happy she has won and consider this to be a form of progress of some sorts. I think these people are ignorant. I've spoken to a few on their blogs and I must say that so far their responses have been bordering on the hysterical in some occasions, though a few have been mildly civil yet their contempt could barely be contained.

The bottom line is that as a male, a Muslim and an Arab I am particularly not allowed to say anything but in utter adulation for her behaviour. If I don't then I am some neanderthal, a misogynist, a bigot or a fundamentalist. Yet in many cases I hadn't even mentioned the Q-word (Quran) or the A word (Allah) when asking them why they thought this was good for the Muslim world. But apparently we are not allowed to discuss Islam either. It is a "personal" thing to be interpreted subjectively. So, I can be a stripper but still be a Muslim (thankfully this is only hypothetical, I don't think my hirsute man-thighs would get me far in the business).

Well I guess these Arab liberals have got it all sussed out, let's all pack up the Qur'ans and start getting our morality from Cosmo or Hello! magazine. That is progress. These brave rebels are daring to challenge a status quo and stifling traditions by blazing a trail of glory with their independent thinking - photocopied straight from glossy magazines in the West.
Truly, as Imam Ali said, "I have yet to debate with an ignorant man and win, and I have yet to debate with a knowledgeable man and lose". Today I was soundly beaten.

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