The Shaykh and the F Word

Sana Saeed (The Islamic Monthly writes about "The Shaykh and the F Word." It's a response to the Internet backlash "over sexist comments made by UK-based Shaykh Abu Eesa Niamatullah, affiliated with the Al Maghrib Institute." (His response to the backlash is here.) She writes

Instead of taking this opportunity to get in line and bash the Shaykh- who I do respect otherwise and who actually has done great work in his community – I want to take this opportunity to navigate the underlying, insidious problem that makes it okay for Niamatullah to get away with saying what he said about Feminists.

She writes a balanced critique of the situation, worth reading, and her conclusion is on target:

We have a real problem of sexism and misogyny within and outside our communities – social media chants can be cathartic (and I do love them) and yes we have a right to be angry, but we have an even greater responsibility to be productive in finding the solutions to our ailments.

And to our Shayukh – especially those who have lessened the seriousness of the impact of Shaykh Niamatullah’s ‘jokes’: you have a responsibility to promote that which is good and forbid that which is evil. When you have a segment of your community, of this Ummah, which is constantly under a barrage of hatred and suspicion, constantly have their bodies used as cultural warfare fronts – those jokes that you may see as misunderstood playful banter become daggers in the back.

UPDATE (March 12):

Since yesterday, I've read more posts, and Abu Eesa has issued a clear apology. Reactions are still raging, going from outrage to unconditional support, with a few, very few that are balanced and thoughtful. It reminds me of Doris Lessing's comment,

for every woman or man who is quietly and sensibly using the idea to look carefully at our assumptions, there are twenty rabble-rousers whose real motive is a desire for power.

The "idea" was that of feminism, but can be applied to any idea. Comparing "political correctness" to "progressive thinking" and "communism," Doris Lessing talked about "attitudes of mind" in an interview with Dwight Garner, in which people have

A need to oversimplify. To control. And an enormous distrust of the innovative, of new ideas. All political movements are like this — we are in the right, everyone else is in the wrong. The people on our own side who disagree with us are heretics, and they start becoming enemies. With it comes an absolute conviction of your own moral superiority. There’s oversimplification in everything, and a terror of flexibility. This characterizes political correctness.

Political correctness, feminist correctness, religious correctness, .... Nothing is new.

UPDATE (March 14)

As I've continued to read articles on this topic, I've moved the ones I had previously mentioned above to here so I can continue to add without needing to update this post.