Tear Down These Walls


It takes specific circumstances to highlight absurdities in the practices of certain Muslim groups.

I attended a fund raiser this past weekend that was held to assist the victims in Gaza.

The event was organized by a few mosques that are culturally orthodox in dealing with their membership.

On arrival at the reasonably elegant banquet hall where the program was held, men and women were being directed past ‘checkpoints’ through separate entrances.

The banquet hall was divided by a ‘separation wall’ – men into the ‘neighborhood’ and women and children into the ‘camp.

Diplomats’, including female politicians and politicians’ wives, were ushered into the friendly ‘neighborhood’ with female attendants providing services.

The women and children could not engage in the proceedings and were not to be heard, ‘sisters, keep quiet and listen!’, very much like their Gazan sisters whose images were being projected onto the video screens.

Someone looking in from the outside would have thought that the organizers were brilliant in putting on an enactment to highlight the oppression and injustices that Palestinians have been enduring for sixty years.

Publicly held relief events should be much more than fund raisers for collecting monetary contributions.

They are to be a remembrance (dhikr) to honor the dignity of the oppressed, a supplication (dua) for the victims of injustice and an opportunity for us to attain goodness by ‘giving of what we love’.

As such, it requires a dignified and a most excellent spiritual gathering for believing women and men.

To help the oppressed in Gaza starts by first rectifying those injustices in our midst, as fighting injustice requires uncompromising rigor – “Uphold justice and bear witness to GOD, even if it is against yourselves ….” (Qur’an 4:135).

How can we be serious about Gaza while there are injustices and inequalities being perpetrated against our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and children in our community?

Shaykhuna, tear down these walls!


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