“Cinderazahd: For Your Eyes Only” has its world premiere at the Dowse Art Museum next week but men will not be allowed in. The Qatari writer and film-maker Sophia Al-Maria has expressed her wishes that men should not see the unveiled women in her video, a wish that corresponds with her Muslim faith.
Fair enough. I respect that. She is the artist and she can determine the boundaries of her audience at the showing. My wife and two of my daughters will probably attend while I, obviously and with no hard feelings, will stay home.
The same thing happened when we visited the hamam (public bath) in Chefchouen, Morocco. The women were allowed in and I had to stay out. No bath for me, which was a bummer because we had just been chased over the Rif mountains by drug dealers and we were all in need of a bath. But it was women’s day only in the hamam so I can understand their refusal 🙂
Chefchouen, where my family enjoyed the hamam, was once a Muslim holy city that forbade non-Muslims to enter. Until 1920, only three Christians had entered. One of them was Charles Foucauld, who I wrote about recentl, entering the city disguised as a Jewish trader. Another dressed as a Muslim. The third was an American missionary who was poisoned and never got out to talk about what he saw. Maybe it was the mickey mouse t-shirt and white Nikes that gave him away???? I don’t know. Today, the city is a lot more welcoming to non-Muslims and a great place to visit. I can’t say the same for the Rif mountains.
Speaking of Muslim holy places, a friend of mine visited Mecca last month for the opening of Ramadan.
“I was actually inside the Grand Mosque, next to the Kaaba, and a loud canon went off – letting the million plus Muslims there know that tomorrow Ramadan would begin. From there, within seconds, the rest of the Muslim world would know. ”Tomorrow we fast.” Everyone began congratulating each other – me included. Then the evening call to pray went off, and we all lined up, facing the Kaaba (right smack in front of us) and we prayed.”
Apparently Carl has upset a few Muslims and a whole Sunday potluck full of Christians and so he is asking for some feedback.
– Blog a Koran Day on Sep 11 will be in its third year. Write something and let me know.
– New resource from Pew Research Center: The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity