Meeting on 8 August 2013

Being a good intern!

Being a good intern!

On Thursday, August 8th, Heidi and I met to discuss the 50+ Judges who I thought would be excellent for this year’s film festival focused on sexualized violence. They include journalists, film directors, professors, non-profit directors, activists. and more. I also had the chance to work with our new logos for the festival, which are wonderful (see below)! Following this meeting, I was able to make the final Judge packet with the logo and approved language from Heidi, Betsy (a team member from the previous film festival) and the board of Directors. I also began work on a statistics project on Muslim majority countries.

In explaining my work, I think it’s important to make the following clarification: WVN’s objective is not to demonize Islam. No, WVN’s goal is to ensure that voices from within Islam and Muslim communities are heard and understood as complex harbors of culture and tradition.  This culture is being reinterpreted and analyzed from within. It is important that weight is given to these culturally critical voices, especially those that seek to protect the rights of women. WVN also believes that it is important to HEAR the plurality of voices from Islam around the world, especially pro-women voices, so as to better understand the change-agents in these societies.  In remaining dedicated to listening and sharing female and pro-woman voices, I’m learning how this movement is growing globally. Our support has increased two-fold on Twitter and visits to our website are coming from everywhere (especially in Africa). This slowly building online support is encouraging for our upcoming film festival!

This is a still from one of our films, Living with Stones, which won 2nd place in the Documentary category during WVN's first film festival.

This is a still from one of our films, Living with Stones, which won 2nd place in the Documentary category during WVN’s first film festival.

In the Morning by Danielle Lurie|USA

A film about the incredible sense of shame regarding rape and the resolution sought through honor killing

A film about the incredible sense of shame regarding rape and the resolution sought through honor killing

Please watch a film that earned an Honorable Mention Award during Women’s Voices Now (WVN)’s film festival during 2011: http://vimeo.com/17168668

(2005) When a young Turkish girl is raped, the responsibility of restoring her family’s lost honor is left in the hands of her younger brother – a thirteen-year-old boy. IN THE MORNING premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, screened at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, and has won nine film festivals including ‘Best Narrative Short’ at the Oscar qualifying Nashville Film Festival. IN THE MORNING screened before members of the U.S. Congress, and later screened before members of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women). – See more at: http://womensvoicesnow.org/watchfilm/in_the_morning#sthash.MbdOflRq.dpuf

Civil War/Fitna in Egypt

An Egyptian security force kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Egyptian police in riot gear swept in with armored vehicles and bulldozers Wednesday to clear the sit-in camp and the other encampment set up by supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president in Cairo, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal)

An Egyptian security force kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo’s Giza district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Egyptian police in riot gear swept in with armored vehicles and bulldozers Wednesday to clear the sit-in camp and the other encampment set up by supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president in Cairo, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal)

I recently read an article written for Al Monitor, one of my favorite MENA news sources, titled The Middle East’s New Divide: Muslim Versus Muslim by Taufiq Rahim. He finds that the more prevalent conflict than West v. Islam is within the Muslim world itself. Rahim says: ” 90% of terrorism-related fatalities have been Muslim. One is more likely to see the demonization of a Shiite than a Jew by an extremist Muslim ideologue. The battle lines have shifted from Islam versus the West to Muslim versus Muslim, and it is time for politicians and pundits in the United States and the Middle East alike to catch up.” He explains that under the surface of what has looked like West v. Muslim World (MENA), more complicated factions and conflicts were broiling within the Muslim World (of course).

Fitna (intra-Muslim strife) has been an omnipresent reality almost since the advent of the faith (see Shiite v. Sunni, Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood leader executed in 1960s Egypt and an inspiration to Al-Qaeda & 14th-century theologian Ibn Taymiyyah).  Rahim concludes that there are “three concurrent battle lines pitting Muslim against Muslim across the region: militants versus the state, Shiites versus Sunnis (and Salafists versus Sufis) and secularists versus Islamists… Most of the Muslim world has not undergone a period of neo-enlightenment, and many countries are just now entering the messy period of political modernization. This means the fundamental issue of the role of religion in the state is being debated, finally, in the public square rather than in the castle or an ivory tower.”

Most of this post was from his excellent article, which I would love for you to read here: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/new-middle-east-muslim-versus-muslim.html#ixzz2c6lrTA1v

The horrific clashes in Egypt, a country that I wanted to visit so badly while I was in Jordan, makes my heart ache. It seems that for Egyptians the devil  is within the walls of its own state, tearing apart mosques and civil life.  While some of my friends were celebrating the overthrow of Morsi, I grimaced as I saw the beginning of a violent fight for political legitimacy. I held my tongue, hoping that I was wrong. I hate that I’m right. History will give Egypt’s years of turmoil the weight it deserves. But now the conversation regarding Egypt should seek deeper understanding of the fitna rather than the square-peg-in-a-round-hole script of West v. Muslim World. Inshallah, Egypt will find peace.