Find us on Facebook
Muslimah Media Watch thanks Melinda for the tip!
Zaynab Hifni talks about her books, her life abroad, and the taboo of sexuality in this clip from Memri TV. I haven’t read her books, but she’s earned my respect just from this interview. She eloquently defends her views about Saudi society’s treatment of women and sex.
I’m not going to talk about her ideas here. I’m going to talk about the disparaging treatment she received from the male interviewer. While I watched the clip, several questions came into my mind. Was he tough on her as an author, or was he tough on her as a woman?
In the beginning, he seems to be fair and balanced. But then, Hifni brings up a hadith that concerns Aisha. “‘Aisha would sit with the men, and the Prophet Muhammad would say: ‘You can learn half the religion from her.’” Immediately the host claims it’s unreliable. How does he know? Is he a part-time TV host, part-time sheikh? My qualm isn’t with whether the hadith is reliable or not. My qualm is with the readiness that the host denied it, despite Hifni’s claims that it was reliable. Would he have so readily denied this if she was a man?
On top of this, the host patronizes her by telling her that if the hadith she used had appeared in Bukhari or Al-Muslim, it wouldn’t be unreliable. She knows that. Why else would she say that it appeared in one of the two?
From here, he asks her about her life in the U.K. It seems as if he brings this up to discredit her, as if living abroad automatically means she hates everything about Saudi Arabia, though she was born and raised there.
Also, when talking about her book and how it was received in Saudi society, he doesn’t let her finish her sentences. That’s just rude. And not only that, he interrupts her with statements against her, such as “You said the critics see what the people want and applaud it. This means that you are not popular…You do not reflect society.” Wow! This host not only has the time to host a show, know everything there is to know about hadith, but also ask each person in Saudi Arabia what s/he thinks about Hifni’s book and then analyze whether this makes the author popular!
Then they get to hejab. Although I agree with her views on hejab, I’m not quite sure why they were included. It seems as if this whole clip was cut and pasted from a larger interview. However, I’m curious: if Hifni wore hejab, would they have discussed this topic at all? Would this have been included in the clip?
I’d be curious to see the rest of the Hifni interview. Rock on, Zaynab!