The Dean Obeidallah Show: Are women truly inferior in Islam?

“Why are woman treated like ‘second class citizens’ in Islam?” This is a question I have been asked many times. Well, Harris Zafar, the national spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA and author of “Demystifying Islam: Tackling the Tough Questions,” joined the show Saturday for our “Ask a Muslim” segment and addressed that very question. Zafar made it clear that in the Quran, women are absolutely not to be treated as inferior but as equals. However, as he noted, we do see certain Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia most notably, treating women unjustly and unfairly. Zafar explained that is based on cultural norms that often pre-date Islam, not based on tenets of the faith. For example, there are over 50 Muslim majority countries in the world, yet Saudi Arabia is the only one that bars women from driving. Clearly if barring women from driving were truly a part of Islam we would see that prohibition implemented in numerous other Muslim countries, but we don’t because it is not at all supported by Islam.

The dangerously radical agenda of the NRA: Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, was at last week’s NRA Convention where she led a protest of mothers who want to see reasonable gun safety laws enacted that will reduce the 30 Americans killed every day by gun violence. Watts discussed not only the lies we hear from NRA leaders but also the vicious attacks she has been subject to by NRA supporters of violence and even threats of rape in letters sent to her home in an effort to silence her. And worse, the NRA leaders have not only failed to denounce these threats, they have ginned up the anger directed at her and the other mothers in the organization with their irresponsible rhetoric.

Does anyone care about the people of Syria? Sarab Al-Jijakli, co-founder of national alliance for Syria and Laith Alkhouri, director of Middle East and North Africa research and analysis at Flashpoint Partners, joined me to discuss the human catastrophe of Syria. We generally hear about Syria as a talking point by Republicans to criticize Obama, but neither political party nor our media talks about the human suffering that Syrians are enduring a day-to-day basis. Finally we get a chance to hear amount life in Syria including the chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on civilians.

Is the “American dream” the new “opiate of the people”? Ali Velshi, the host of Al Jazeera’s “Your Money” and soon to be the host of the new Al Jazeera America show launching May 11, “Ali Velshi on Target,” joined me to discuss this. As Velshi noted, just getting into the middle class for many is like climbing a mountain, but getting out of it is as easy as being on a water slide. But in some cases we see people in the lower and middle class opposing tax increases on the wealthy because they dream that one day they will be rich.

My show airs live every Saturday at 10am to noon ET on SiriusXM Insight (Ch 121). It is also available On Demand. Hope you check it out and better yet give us a call during the show to “Ask a Muslim” a question, discuss issues of the week or even be contestant on our weekly segment “Name That Religion.” And as always, I want to be your Muslim friend – so if you don’t have one follow me on Twitter at @deanofcomedy and I’ll follow you back or ask me questions at


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