[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
102°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 23
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]


Nayereh Tohidi

Gender and women’s studies professor Nayereh Tohidi, director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at California State University, Northridge, feels her stomach clench every time she hears about an alleged terrorist attack.

“You kind of hold your breath and think, ‘please, don’t let them [the perpetrators] be Muslim,’” she said.

It’s a silent plea, Tohidi said, that is shared by thousands of Muslim Americans across the country who are grappling with what it means to practice Islam during a time when some politicians equate their faith with terrorism.

“It is simplistic to think the problem is Islam per se,” said Tohidi, an internationally recognized scholar on gender and Islam who has served as a consultant to the United Nations on the status of women in Eurasia and the Middle East. “The problem is that a small segment of Muslims has turned religion into a totalitarian ideology — ‘Islamism’ — and is committing heinous crimes in the name of Islam. And, in the process, they are tainting all of us. Muslims are over 80 percent of the victims of such ‘Jihadism’ or ‘Islamist terrorism.’

“We need to remember that Judaism, Christianity and Islam were all born in the same region of the Middle East, and their foundations for faith are very similar,” she said. “All Abrahamic religions include violent elements in their scriptures that can be resurrected and deployed for political and ideological purposes.”

The escalating anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political rhetoric has created a climate where some people struggle with how open they can be about their faith, Tohidi said.

“Some struggle with the question of whether they should withdraw, hide in the margins or try to hide the part of their identities that is Muslim,” she said. “While others — you saw this after 9/11 — have responded by embracing their religion and, if they are women, proudly wearing hijab and saying, ‘Wearing a headscarf does not mean I am a terrorist.’ Many Muslims do not believe that covering hair or wearing headscarf is an Islamic mandate. But in recent decades, it has turned into a part of the identity politics more so than a reflection of the faith”

For scholars like Tohidi, a vocal advocate of women’s rights, human rights and secular politics, the pressure to “choose sides” can seem overwhelming, particularly when the tenets of the faith are misconstrued to justify discrimination, violence and death.

“One reaction is to keep a low profile about your Islamic identity or become defensive and apologetic about the flaws within your tradition and community,” she said. “But for someone who is an activist and scholar in a university setting, I cannot keep quiet or lose my critical perspective toward oppression and discrimination practiced by any cultural communities or political forces. I have to maintain a balance that makes sense.”

Tohidi has written numerous papers and articles for journals around the world criticizing the use of Sharia law — the religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition — to justify the discrimination against women and religious minorities in some Muslim-majority countries where the state and law are based on Sharia. She said she feels a responsibility to continue to advocate for women’s rights, equal rights and democracy in the Middle East and beyond, and to target Islamic leaders who use an outdated and unreformed Sharia to justify social inequality in their own countries.

“There are those who say that when you do that, you are reinforcing Islamophobia,” she said. “But I say, ‘no, I am not.’ We need to be consistent and critical if we are going to fight injustice. To fight racism and prejudice against Muslims, you cannot deny that violence and sexism also exist in the community. Drawing attention is not divisive, it is fighting for what is right.

“You have to have an intersectional approach,” Tohidi said. “You can be critical of your own community as well as of the ones who try to ban or demonize yours. You are not ‘washing your dirty clothes’ in front of everybody to shame the community. You are washing your dirty clothes because there are dirty clothes.”

An intersectional approach, she said, may provide the foundation for bringing people together and encouraging dialogue between differing views and faiths.

“Do not forget that the oppression of women is also connected to terrorism, and socioeconomic class issues are connected to ethnicity,” Tohidi said. “When you connect all the dots, and there are a lot of dots, you can see the whole picture better, thus targeting repressive and unjust politics wherever it happens. We need to build coalitions — non-sectarian, non-ideological coalitions — to fight against violence, to fight against war. And we need to respect diversity and accept each other so we can live and work together.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in response to President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has declared Oct. 16-20 "DACA Advocacy Week."
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
COC and the Hart District will host the 2017 College & Career Fair in the college’s Honor Grove on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017
California State University, Northridge will make history on Thursday, Oct. 26, by becoming the first California State University with a Sustainability Center.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has suspended its "Safe Drug Drop-Off" program for unwanted prescription drugs, sharps and narcotics pending reassessment of the program, according to officials.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Suspends Safe Drug Drop Off Program
College of the Canyons freshman golfer Joanna Roecker was named the Western State Conference Female Athlete of the Week for week six (Oct. 1-7, 2017).
COC Golfer Joanna Roecker Named WSC Female Athlete of the Week
The College of the Canyons Athletics Department hosted a FUNdamentals Football Camp and "Punt, Pass, Kick" Challenge organized by Special Olympics Southern California and the Los Angeles Rams.
COC Athletics Hosts FUNdamentals Football Camp with Special Olympics, L.A. Rams
The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation arrived at REDCAT with its 2017 festival selections on Saturday.
Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation Lights Up REDCAT
The West Hollywood Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series (WHAP!), co-hosted by CalArts MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics and the city of West Hollywood, opened its fall 2017 series on Friday, and has two more lectures coming up this month and next.
CalArts Co-Hosts Fall 2017 WHAP! Lecture Series
The four Democrats running to be California’s next governor vowed to resist the Trump administration, protect the state’s sanctuary status, increase affordable housing and boost jobs and education during their first joint forum Sunday.
Gubernatorial Hopefuls Mostly Agree on Universal Health Care
TMU soccer player Brayden Campos is taking a crash course in goalkeeping. Two full games into his new gig, the freshman keeper is settling in just fine.
TMU Men’s Soccer: Campos Growing Into the Job
Early in Saturday’s second half, Sarah Stead chipped a short shot over the Jessup keeper’s head and into the goal, and Master’s hung on for a 1-0 win, its first shutout in two weeks.
TMU Women’s Soccer Team Blanks William Jessup 1-0
The Golden State Athletic Conference released its preseason coaches poll on Saturday morning, and The Master’s University men’s basketball team was projected to finish first.
TMU Men’s Basketball Tops GSAC Preseason Coaches Poll
In cross country, the No. 8-ranked TMU Mustang women finished third and the Mustang men finished fourth at the Warrior Invitational.
Mikesell Leads TMU Cross Country Through Rehearsal
Despite several bright spots in the home match, the Mustangs lost 3-1 by scores of 25-27, 25-21, 25-20 and 25-16.
Mustangs Volleyballers Corralled by Vanguard 3-1
In some sense, Thursday night’s match at Hope International in Fullerton summed up the Mustangs’ season to this point.
Hope International Bests Matadors Volleyball
A car crashed into the bedroom of a home on Wiley Canyon Road Saturday night, but no one was injured or arrested.
Car Makes Unwanted Visit to Newhall Home
A woman has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in a stabbing incident in Stevenson Ranch Saturday night.
Woman Charged in Alleged Stabbing of Friend in Stevenson Ranch
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]
Bobbi Jean and her husband Jim Bell, whose OutWest clothing store and popular TV concert series celebrated all things Western and equestrian and helped revitalize Old Town Newhall over the past decade, will soon ride east into the sunrise: They’re moving to New Mexico.
OutWest Owners Jim and Bobbi Jean Bell Ride East Into the Sunrise
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a sexual assault suspect was arrested Thursday night. Plus, some great weekend events. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, October 20, 2017
Forever Fit SCV, a Santa Clarita sports and personal fitness training company, will host a "Pumpkin Workout" at its Centre Pointe location on Saturday, October 28, starting at 9 a.m.
Oct. 25: Pumpkin Workout Benefits American Cancer Society
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set for Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: Hart School District Governing Board Meeting
The LA County Public Defender has won the Silver Eagle Award for its Public Defender Jail Liaison Program during the 31st Annual Productivity and Quality Awards Ceremony on Oct. 18 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
LA County Public Defender Soars with Silver Eagle Award
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a heat alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the Los Angeles Basin on Monday, October 23 through Tuesday, October 24.
Heat Alert for SCV, L.A. County on Monday, Tuesday
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has received three major gifts toward the creation of the museum in Los Angeles, bringing fundraising to more than $300M, nearly 80 percent of its $388M campaign goal.
Motion Picture Museum Nears $388M Campaign Goal
Caltrans added nearly 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges to its growing list of projects to be delivered sooner than planned, thanks to the imminent influx of revenue from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1), the transportation funding and reform package passed in April.
Nearly $3.4 Billion in Transportation Projects to Be Accelerated
The city of Santa Clarita and SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc. invite the public to attend a special ceremony unveiling the new Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Wednesday, November 8 starting at 10 a.m.
Nov. 8: City Unveils Fallen Warriors Monument in Newhall
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station along with Los Angeles County Probation Department officers conducted probation compliance searches Friday throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Deputies Check Probationers, Aid in Domestic Violence Call
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's public safety report for Canyon Country (West), aka Zone 7, for October 2 through October 8, 2017
Crime Blotter: Robbery, Grand Theft in Canyon Country West
A suspect has been arrested in the investigation of an alleged sexual assault, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station officials.
Suspect Arrested in Alleged Sexual Assault
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States and a concern the California Highway Patrol addresses with its "Start Smart" program.
CHP Helps New Drivers with ‘Start Smart’ Classes
The California High-Speed Rail Authority punted one of the most important decisions during its monthly meeting Thursday, stoking concerns the entity is not moving quickly enough on the $64 billion project.
California’s Bullet Train Board Delays Award of Key Contract
An extensive investigation by the county of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs in conjunction with the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has resulted in a lawsuit announced today by the Attorney General against retailer Curacao.
AG Sues Retailer Curacao for Allegedly Preying on Consumers
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]
CHESTERFIELD, MO — NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential design-build firm, recently teamed up with Logix Federal Credit Union to work on a large scale facility project, a new corporate headquarters building for the full-service credit union in the Burbank, California area.
Valencia Will Soon be Home to Logix Federal Credit Union Headquarters
The CSUN women's volleyball team (10-9, 4-3 Big West) opens the second half of the Big West season this week as the Matadors head up the coast this week for road tests at No. 23 Cal Poly (17-2, 7-0 Big West) and UC Santa Barbara (4-15, 3-4 Big West). CSUN, coming off a tough five-set loss to Hawai'i at home, is 3-4 in seven road matches this season but has won two of three Big West road contests.
Matadors Volleyball Testing Their Skills on the Road