...and for the better too!!! :)
A few nights ago Walker and I were watching CKCO TV News (Kitchener) and we heard aboutA DAY OF DIALOGUE WITH MUSLIM WOMEN. This conference fascinated the heck out of Walker and I, and we decided we just had to go. Not only did it sound like it would be educational, it was totally FREE, and included breakfast and lunch. I checked my GPS, and discovered that City Hall was only about $5 from the Greyhound Terminal. When you take as many taxis as we do, you don't measure in miles or kilometers, you measure distance in dollars. LOL
We arrived at 9:15 AM, and watched the introduction video at 9:30. There were a number of panels which educated us about various facets of Muslim life for women:
-Education, careers and leadership
-Right and responsibilities
-Religious duties and practices
-Islamic dress and hijab
-Marriage, divorce, and children
This was followed by a question and answer period from the audience, and then a "Human Library Session" where we met with various women in the Muslim community, and asked them questions. It was wonderful.
Among the most interesting discoveries that Walker and I made, was the real reason why some Muslim women wear the hijab.
First off, a lot of the extreme misogyny, violence, and other objectionable practices in "Islam" today are cultural, and not dictated by the Koran. Just as certain people have bastardized certain aspects of Christianity, extremists have bastardized Islam, and given it a bad name in the world.
The women in the panel explained that in pure Islam, Muslim dress is solely the woman's choice, and she wears it out of modesty. Where Christian head covering is done to show the world a woman's submission to her father, or her husband, in the Muslim religion it is done out of modesty. The woman we spoke to in the Human Library was wearing a full face Niqab. She was born in Canada, spoke English with no accent, and chose this style of dress herself. What actually struck me as liberating was that I didn't have to worry about facial expressions, and other visual cues, when speaking to her. Since she was behind a Niqab, she understood the necessity of speaking clearly and literally. Whereas I see freedom and liberation in exposing my face, and even going topless in the summertime when it's hot (that's legal here in Canada!), she sees liberation and freedom in covering herself, so as not to be swept up by fashion trends, and the pressure to look a certain way. Her choice!!! It's the choice of every Muslim woman. I saw some that looked just like me with no Muslim clothing, others weore jeans and sweatshirts with hijabs, some wore abayas and hijabs, face uncovered, others had their faces fully covered. Even though their faces were covered, they made sure their voices were heard. A number of them had one or more Ph.D's. There was no lack of education.
Since we were in Kitchener, we could not leave without going to Veslo, our favourite Serbian restaurant, for a snack. We ate light, since we'd already eaten at the conference.
I was also happy to be able to do some networking for my cookbook, when there. Several people around the tables during the short breaks between panels were talking about their careers, and Walker and I told them about our books. I happened to have a full case of business cards with me, and handed out about 12 of them. I also discovered, purely by accident, that my cookbook is available in the Apple iBooks store. I discovered this last night, when I needed a copy of my book in a hurry.
My optometrist had mentioned a lady who was going blind, who wanted to write a cookbook, and could she please ask me for advice. Of course!! I gave her my cellphone number, and told her to pass it onto the lady who wanted to contact me. Last night at the coffee shop, my phone rang. She was in town, and could we please get together. Walker and I had the weekend booked up, and she was leaving Guelph on Monday, so she decided to join me at Second Cup that evening. I wanted to show her myÂ book, but did not have a copy with me. I decided to go to my page on lulu.com and get a PDF, but I could not get it to work. Then I noticed that it was available in iBooks. Great!! Even though I had to "buy" the book, I was able to get a copy instantly. I'll get most of what I paid back, in the form of a royalty payment. Not only did it serve me well last night, but I was able to show it to several people at the conference today. What a great networking opportunity. :)