Can Muslim women achieve equality and “social justice” within the traditional confines of Islam? A new program at New York City’s Union Theological Seminary (UTS), the Islam Social Justice Interreligious Engagement Program (ISJIE), held an inaugural panel discussion that tried to reconcile these two irreconcilable ideas.
Like the panel, the audience of approximately 100 represented no coherent philosophy. One young man wore a “gay pride” T-shirt, despite the fact that gay rights are nonexistent in the Muslim world. The crowd, diverse by race, age, and ethnicity, was ideologically monolithic. They appeared to be either leftists ascribing qualities of tolerance and inclusion to Islam, or those who would use leftists to advance a decidedly backward agenda.