VOICES: Dear Wall Street Journal – Seriously?

By Senay Őzdemir

Dear editor,

As a European Muslim feminist who supports a tolerant and moderate Islam, I was really happy that the Wall Street Journal devoted so much space on its op-ed page to the question “What Is Moderate Islam?” The six “leading thinkers” were eloquent and provocative.

But seriously, WSJ, you couldn’t find a single Muslim woman to weigh in?

How ironic is it that ‘the West’ sometimes points at Islam and says how the religion subjugates women and yet here is a Western newspaper that completely ignores the female perspective on a very important issue. It’s inexcusable especially considering that the WSJ has a former reporter who is very outspoken – Asra Nomani, a Muslim feminist.

She is not the only one who could have been included. The U.S. counts so much more female Muslim thinkers, for example, Irshad Manji, Mona Eltahawy, Daisy Khan, Laila Lalami and Nathalie Handal. If the West is going to criticize Islam for not being enlightened, they need to demonstrate a better example.

This article shows exactly where we are still at: the news is still being dominated by white Western males. And of course, if there had been enough female editors in the newsroom and more preferably, multicultural diverse staff, the WSJ would not have made this gigantic mistake.

The subject of moderate Islam can’t be discussed without Muslim women thinkers. Emancipation is a huge part of the discussion if we want to create a post-patriarchal and a post-modern society in the Muslim world. Feminist standpoints, with fresh approaches to new interpretation of Islam, would have provided multi-dimensional and, above all, practical perspectives of contemporary Islam.

This article reflects the male-dominated power structure in the East and the West. This stereotyping cuts both ways. It doesn’t leave much for anything else. Shame on you.

Originally published at senayozdemir.blogspot.com. Also read more from Şenay Özdemir at senay.nl or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/senaytweets.

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