In the below clip, Kamal al Khatib offers an anecdote from the life of Muhammad that illustrates (for him) Islam’s general commitment to non-retaliation. I’ve actually heard the story that Kamal tells from another Muslim. I recall the previous telling of the story to me to have been about an old woman who puts her trash on Muhammad’s doorstep, then turns ill and is graciously visited by him. Because Muhammad is considered by Muslims as an ideal man worthy of imitation, I think it’s important to hear Muslims affirm stories of Muhammad’s non-violence. But Kamal’s version makes the person abusing him a Jew, which adds a decided cringe factor to the story.
Also note, in the background of our conversation, the double-paned window in the back of the mosque. That’s where the women pray—behind it.
For me (as for most non-Muslim Westerners) the segregation of women in this way is reminiscent of Southern racial segregation in the 1950s. I find it intolerable visually, emotionally, and intellectually. It’s a deal breaker for me (in ever considering Islam as a religion that I would join). To my mind, female segregation is morally indefensible. Muslim women need their Rosa Parks.