Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Witches of the Apocalypse!

Ibrahim Hmeidi has just published an interesting reportage dealing with the now celebrated phenomenon of the Kubaisi women, the orthodox sufi women movement founded by the Syrian scholar and teacher, Munira Kubaisi, AKA the Miss.

The movement which began in the early 60s in Damascus is now an international one with “centers” all over the world operating quietly, almost clandestinely sometimes, albeit, let me rush to say here, they are so far pretty apolitical and, as such, has no connection to any terror groups or activities.

The movement, however, is still quite dangerous for those interested in promoting modernity with its ideas of gender equality and all that. The Kubaisis are a pretty traditional group, and they tend to mix “business” with “pleasure.” Many of the followers of the movements come from a bourgeois background and they often bring their husbands to the folds of religiosity as well, which often result in various business deals, transactions and partnerships.

Although men are not allowed to join the Kubaisi circles, there have always been plenty of men circles around which seem to have close ties with the Kubaisis feeding off their messianic zeal and success.

Here indeed lies the only notable link between the activities of the Kubaisis and that of Islamic fundamentalist, and at occasions, extremist, movements. The Kubaisis, unwittingly or by design, often pave the ground for the introduction of atavistic and extremist ideas into the families whose women have been converted.

Kubaisi circles can easily be found in the United States, where they have made their introduction in the early 1980s, especially in communities where Syrians are heavily present, albeit, and as we said, the movement has branched out into other communities as well. Still the main missionary drive remains, for the most part, in the hands of the movement’s Syrian founders.

My only position as a Syrian and a heretic vis-à-vis this movement is that I, one day, hope to see a similar movement developing among the liberal and secular communities as well. For if we cannot produce similar movements, at least in terms of the ability to organize, galvanize and “proselytize,” I believe we are doomed. For even the cause of individualism and individual rights, requires a measure of organization and teamwork in order to prove viable, effective and relevant.

Thus admonishes the Heretic.

PS. The obvious insider knowledge involved in the above exposition came as a consequence of personal dabbling dating way back to a certain pre-heretic epoch in my life.