After furor in NYC, Amina Wadud lands into controversy in Chennai

July 31, 2013

Islamic feminist, living in Kerala, plans to return back to the US.

By American Bazaar Staff

NEW YORK: The Islamic feminist Amina Wadud, 60, who created a furor in New York in 2005 when she led a group of men and women in Friday prayers – which was condemned by some clerics, has landed in another controversy, this time in Chennai, India. A talk she was supposed to give on feminist reforms in Islam, at the University of Madras, got canceled after authorities feared protests from some fringe groups.

Amina Wadud

Amina Wadud

Wadud, a former professor of religion and philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, was reportedly living in Calicut, Kerala, and had given a talk on the same topic in Delhi and Calicut, before the scheduled talk in Chennai. She was also supposed to interact with some media outlets at the US Consulate in Chennai, but canceled that event. She now plans to return to the US.

Chennai police asked the University of Madras to cancel the talk by Wadud titled ‘Islam, Gender and Reforms,’ and  refused to provide security for the event, said P. K. Abdul Rahiman, assistant professor at the department for Islamic Studies at the university, reported The Wall Street Journal, today.

“They feared a law and order issue,” Rahiman was quoted as saying by the Journal. “I informed the university and they didn’t want to take a risk. But the question I ask is whether academics inside a university can be guided by elements outside of the university?”

Wadud is author of ‘Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective,’ and ‘Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam.’

“The groups said she was a puppet in the hands of the US government and her views were anti-Islam in nature. It could have led to a serious law and order situation,” a senior police official on the condition of anonymity, on the cancelation of the event, reported The New Indian Express.

Talking through the social media, Wadud posted on her Facebook account: “I have never given any lectures in Tamil Nadu and all the lectures I have given in India went without even the slightest incident.”

On her Twitter account, she tweeted: “It is also a shame that Madras University went to so much trouble to be thwarted by factions of the ignorant. Where to intellectualism if that is so?”

“People of India, you have a chance to redeem yourselves for your own best interest. Do not be silent when the ignorant speak, claim your voice. And when one gives a service, one can just as easily stop giving. So that is my location, I am no longer willing to give to India,” she wrote on Twitter.

To contact the author, email to editor@americanbazaaronline.com


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