On a Sunday afternoon in March the Partners with OLM group gathered at our Central House to learn from Samira Kanji, President of the Noor Cultural Centre.  We had asked Samira to speak about Islamophobia.  She decided to focus on the topic of women in Islam since this is the source of much of the confusion and ignorance that leads to Islamophobia.

Samira Kanji, President
Noor Cultural Centre

Samira explained that there is a metaphysical equality between women and men in the Qur’an and cited several verses.  One of which was:

40:40: “Whoever commits a sin will be repaid only with its like. But whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, and is a believer—these will enter Paradise, where they will be provided for without account.”

She then reminded us that there are 1.6 million Muslims spread out across some 50 Muslim-majority countries.  We often forget that just as there is much diversity among Christians, so is there much diversity among Muslims and a great deal of variety in how Islam is lived out around the world.

This reminded me of a workshop that a Muslim friend and I used to give on Muslim-Christian dialogue in the Philippines.  We would always remind participants of the tendency we ALL have to compare the ideal of our religion with the less than ideal lived reality of the other’s.

Our afternoon included a lively question and answer session.  Many of the participants asked that we continue with the same topic at our next gathering.

– By Christine Gebel, OLM









Interested to learn more?  Check out the reading list that Samira left with us:

Welcome to the Party, America! 11 Muslim women who have been PM or President:


Gender Equity in Islam, by Dr Jamal Badawi:

(Noor CC Report) Muslims & Multiculturalism:

(Noor CC Report) Response to Honor Diaries film:

Islamophobic feminism:


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