Acclaimed Islamic feminist, Amina Wadud, on Monday, decided to “give up” on India and return to the US after a series of her lectures in the city, including one at Madras University, was cancelled following threats of protest from local Muslim groups.
She was scheduled to talk on ‘Islam, Gender and Reforms’, and abandoning the programme raised the hackles of the academia and those interested in having an engagement with Islam.
Sources said the police instructed the University and the JBAS College for Women here to call off the event as there was an alleged threat to the law and order situation if the Afro-American scholar of world renown presented her lecture. However, the US consulate, where she was scheduled to participate in a discussion, said the event has been “postponed”.
“I will save my breath for people of love and spirit and I am not really finding that sufficiently here so I give up. I am leaving India and returning to America shortly,” read Amina Wadud’s Facebook status on Monday evening.
An Islamist feminist, Amina Wadud, a US national, continues to be in the forefront of the movement for liberal interpretation of the Islamic holy texts.
A reputed scholar, she rose to prominence because of her radical views on gender equality within the religion as well as her groundwork of leading Friday prayers in the US and UK mosques since 2005, a hitherto exclusive preserve of male imams. This earned her the ire of the conservatives and even led to a fatwa against her. She has been living in Calicut on a multiple-entry visa for about a year now since her retirement as a professor.
University sources told Express that police had contacted the Registrar on Sunday and asked for information about the lecture. A few hours later, the administration was instructed to cancel the talk as there were threats of protest from a “number of local Islamic groups in Chennai”.