Women Empowered… to Obey Men: Thoughts on Lori Haidri & Al-Huda

Farhat Hashmi, the founder of Al-Huda

I have been thinking more about my last post on Lori Haidri the former employee of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who is engaged in a battle against her employer for sexism, discrimination, and financial fraud. I was looking at her Facebook page, and this post broke my heart: 

“Last year, I said goodbye to CAIR National and all their dysfunction and abuse – and resigned from my job as Chapter Director. It was the most empowering feeling – and I got a small glimpse into how people might feel when they finally end an abusive relationship, or get freed from prison, or leave a cult . . .”

I can totally relate to this because I too once naively joined a group that promised to empower me only to find out years later that I was duped. I too felt empowered only after I left the group.

In Lori’s case it was CAIR. In my case, it was Al-Huda, a women’s religious educational franchise that started in Pakistan but has now expanded to North America. Al-Huda targets people like me – young women from elite families going through a crisis.

Like Lori, I joined the school in a difficult period of my life. Like Lori, I was looking to empower myself while being true to my Muslim identity. Instead, I was ordered to let go of every bit of my individuality, to be “grateful” to my husband, consider it my duty to obey him like a servant, and not complain about his spending money on his own relatives.

Believe it or not, we were taught these things in the very name of female empowerment. We worshipped the school’s founder, Dr. Farahat Hashmi, a scholar with a Ph.D from a British university and deep knowledge about Islam. She was the lady who empowered us to learn to translate Quran – and then told to submit to the men in our lives.

I wonder who at CAIR first captivated Lori’s attention and enticed her to join their movement. It hurts so much at first when you realize you have been deceived and manipulated. I understand why Lori seems so angry. But ultimately you feel free and the pain starts to recede.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Built in God’s Image, Destroyed in God’s Name - Mukashafat

Comments are closed.