Thursday, 6 October 2011

Canadian (Female) Imam Receives Death Threats


Experts Column
Islam like any other religion, try to keep women in the background when it comes to leading prayer. We all know too well, that even among Christians, it took almost a gender revolution before female clerics began to dress in robes to preach and lead prayers in Churches.
In Canada however, a no-nonsense Muslim woman has chosen to defy all traditions to become some of the few Muslim Imams in the world today. An Imam is a religious leader charged with the duty of leading prayers in a mosque. Rahil Rhasas who is a Pakistani born Canadian has been leading Muslim prayers in Canada for the last 5 years now. She is probably one of the first women to have the courage to break the established tradition and carry out responsibilities normally reserved for Muslim men.
Recently, this female Imam was invited to Oxford in the UK to lead a prayer at a local mosque. Many hard-line Islamist think her activities run contrary to the teachings of the Quoran but Rahil herself, believes that the conservative Muslims are simply out to oppress and consign women to the backyards in religious matters for their own selfish ends because there is not a single pronouncement in the Quoran that condones the discrimination and oppression of women by men.
Unfortunately for this female Imam, her own blood sister in Pakistan has joined the rest of the conservative Muslims in the hate campaign against her. Some other fundamentalist sects are baying for her blood and she acknowledges that she has received several death threats in recent days for serving as a female Imam.
These threats to her ambitions notwithstanding, Rahil believes she has a divine calling tolead prayers and nobody has the right to stop her.
The story of Rahil only serves to illustrate the fact that this world is not static. Even hard views that men hold get softened overtime to give way for tolerance and accommodation. Take the case of the medieval Christians, who would have imagined then that there would be female clergies preaching the gospel and owning Church Ministries the way we see it today? Rahil has opened the way for future female Imams to teach the word of Allah. They may even kill her, but the fact that she has officially been recognized as an Imam will never be erased from the face of the Muslim world ever again.

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