Expert Says Women Honored in Islam
By Katherine Sauser

Women have a place of respect and honor in Islam, despite popular misconceptions, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council said Thursday. Edina Lekovic, said women have historically had an important role in Islam.
The Qur’an grants women the right to divorce their husbands, to inherit property and to choose whom they marry, she said in a speech Thursday hosted by the Muslim Student's Association.
"Within the Quran itself, not only were women granted rights, they were granted revolutionary rights within that historical context," Lekovic said.
Muslim women should assert themselves as they strive for equal rights, Lekovic said.
"The struggle that Muslim women are dealing with is very much like the struggle of women around the world," she said.
Lekovic was raised a Muslim, she said. But it was not until college that she looked into different religions and chose to practice Islam. She chose to wear the hijab, the traditional head scarf of Muslim women, due to its symbolic power, she said.
"It is simply a symbol of modesty, insofar as a woman is to be respected for her mind, for her intelligence, for what she has to offer the world, rather than for her body or for her sexuality," Lekovic said.
Zahra Yusufali, a member of the Muslim Students' Association, also wears the hijab.
"Muslim men look at women through their heart," said Yusufali, an applied learning and development freshman.
Sarah Yusufali, Zahra's twin who is also a member of the association, said one misconception she would like to correct is the idea that Muslims support the activities of Saddam Hussein.
"Killing of any sort is against Islam," said Yusufali.
Thursday's event, which was attended by about 100 people, was part of Islam Awareness Week. The week's events began on Tuesday with an interfaith discussion showing the similarities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The purpose of Islam Awareness Week is to educate people about the tenets of Islam and to combat anti-Muslim sentiment, Tariq said. They have seen a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment on the UT campus, he said.
"Islamophobia has sort of increased," Tariq said. "Now it's sort of more pervasive."
A Muslim woman was allegedly attacked on the Baylor University campus April 1. A man allegedly tore off her head scarf, threw her to the ground and kicked her repeatedly, breaking her ribs, the Waco Tribune Herald reported. Tariq said that Muslim students are upset and hurt that this attack has not been widely reported by the media. (Courtesy The Texan)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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