Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Continous Slander of Muslim Fest

As I stated in another post, if you don't like the way a certain group does things, you can...

1) voice your opinion to make a change
2) quietly and gracefully leave
3) put up with it

Well, our PMUNA friends have decided to opt for a more insulting but less productive tactic--insult and slander.

Some of you might remember the piece Jawad Ali did on Muslim Fest, criticizing it for not having female singers, even though more than half of the organizing committee is female. Well, it doesn't end there.

Here's a letter explaining the real deal from the PR volunteer published in the Toronto Globe. As usual, my added comments are bold and/or italicized.


MuslimFest public-relations volunteer
Globe and Mail

Toronto -- The Globe's portrayal of MuslimFest 2005 does a disservice to the 250 young, enthusiastic and mostly female volunteers who worked tirelessly over 11 months to bring the festival to life (Women Artists, Performers Criticize Muslim Festival Restrictions -- Aug. 13).

The implication that Zuriani "Ani" Zonneveld (a PMUNA board member and singer of their "theme song") was denied leave to perform because of her gender is unfortunate. Indeed, the organizing committee had no knowledge of this person until The Globe and Mail article. Ms. Zonneveld complained, two days before the launch of the festival, to someone> affiliated with the festival, rather than to the organizers. MuslimFest does not have any policy in place that bans female singers from performing before a mixed-gender audience.

MuslimFest hopes to encourage female singing talent in the Canadian Muslim community. The fact is, the chair of the first ever MuslimFest was a woman, 70 per cent of the volunteers at this year's event were women and 60 per cent of the 11 committees it took to bring this festival to life were led by women and the audiences were predominantly women. The festival came to life within a community of dedicated people from different cultures, ages and races with a common desire to let others see beyond the political strife and stereotyping that corral the media regarding issues involving Muslims.

Please give Muslim Fest all your support. What's sad is that they are probably getting more support from non-Muslim organizations than Muslim organizations. Gee, did I just see a rattle snake crawl by? Well, Ms. Zonneveld has a concert sponsored with Naseeb on September 4th, same time as th ISNA Convention. Also performing will be 786 and Azhar Usman and while I would love to see Azhar Usman's comedy show, I'm not banking on the Naseeb event as having as many people as the ISNA convention. And why is everybody player-hatin' on ISNA these days? If you don't like it, you know what you can do.


Blogger UmmAli said...

Why do proggies feel the need to invade the space of those who disagree with them? There will always be an element of our community who feels that women singing in front of non mahram men is wrong. There will always be those that feel that drawings of living creatures is wrong. If *they* put in the time and effort to celebrate various arts absent female singers and drawings of living creatures, that's their business. Those who don't like it are free to organize THEIR OWN arts festivals.

I know the point here is the dishonesty of the festival's detractors, but this issue is an important one as well.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Rhyan said...

It is sad when arrogant self-righteous individuals feel the need to deface the efforts of hundreds of dedicated people like this. Zonneveld wasn't satisfied simply spreading lies to "blockbuster" newspapers, she somehow felt the need to slander individuals of her own religious background.

Having volunteered at MuslimFest, I know for a fact that none of it could have happened without the enormous contributions of women volunteers, artists and coordinators. To claim that MuslimFest organizers had anything to do with discriminatory policies (especially against women) is a despicable and outright lie.

8:02 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

Salaam Umm Ali, I really don't know. is putting on an event during the ISNA conference where Ms. Zonneveld gets to perform so I don't know why there are these accusations against Muslim Fest since Muslim Fest is free to do whatever they want. There are even Muslim orgs. being set up just for women to relax, entertain and unwind just like Ulfah Arts in the UK. Like you said, just put on your own event and leave the "evil conservatives" alone.

Salaam Rhyan, I heard that most of the visitors were Muslim women too. And other for the segregated salaat, there was free mixing of genders for everything else. The feedback I have gotten from those who have gone was extremely positive. Insha'Allah, the organizers and put pictures on their website of the volunteers, artists and other women who made the event such a success.

11:57 PM  
Blogger ajsuhail said...

I heard that Jawad Ali of MWU called the organisers of the Fest crooks. And this from a guy who supports a gay friendly policy,publishes erotica and allows the wife of the Prophet and reputed scholars to be abused in his magazine!He is a scum bag;no better than the trash i take out.

11:18 AM  

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