COMMENT | You need not be a thinker, an Islamic scholar, a woman or even a Muslim to realise that something was definitely missing before the talk, "What is wrong with Islam now?” had started.
Here is what was wrong with the talk.
There were no women on the panel of the forum, which was organised by the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) and held at The Concorde Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
It was puzzling that for such an important question, no one had thought to invite even one woman to sit on the panel.
Maybe organisers will claim that women academics had declined their invitations, or had other previous commitments. Or perhaps they thought the female academics were busy clearing up Sunday lunch and enjoying "family time."
The more likely explanation for the absence of women is that the organisers "forgot" about women. Malaysia's population is about 60 percent Muslim and 50 percent women. Many Malay women feel downtrodden and that they are third class citizens. Is it any wonder they feel like this?
Yesterday's panel, which was moderated by IRF’s Ahmad Farouk Musa, included Jeffrey Kenney from DePauw University, Indiana, Amran Muhammad of the Islamic and Strategic Studies Institute (ISSI), and Syed Farid Alatas from the National University of Singapore.
The men were going to discuss the regression of the Muslim world from champions of civilisation and science to radicals. They were attempting to find factors that encouraged Muslims to regress to the "glory days" of the 7th-century Arab world.
Muslim women are not the problem. The problem is the attitude of some Muslim men.
When there is a rape, the women are told to cover up. What about telling men that they should learn to respect women or avert their gaze if they cannot bear to look at a woman without feeling that they have to rip off her clothes and seduce her...