A New Journey

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Ellen_Keim_2I’ve meant to write about Christian Feminism, or Christianity and Feminism, but never got around to it. Now I find that I have a different focus in my life: I recently converted to Islam.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped being a feminist–far from it. I can understand that assumption, though. Being a feminist when you are also religious can be a challenge no matter what the religion, but let’s face it, the stereotype is that Islam is particularly oppressive to women.

I’m not going to make this blog an apologetic for Islam; that’s my personal baggage and I don’t intend to shove it down anyone’s throat. (Much like I didn’t push my Christian beliefs.) At the same time, I can’t very well ignore my interests. I will have posts from time to time that deal with what’s happening in the Islamic world. I will undoubtedly want to air out my own struggles with what it means to be a feminist and a Muslim. But I will also continue to explore what it means to be a feminist, period, no matter how you worship, vote and live.

That’s because I believe that being a feminist is one of those qualities that lies at the core of your identity. I can no more stop being a feminist than I can stop being a woman. Not because I think that women are always being screwed over, but because I think that it is a woman’s responsibility to make herself as strong as possible. For that matter, it’s a man’s responsibility to do the same, but because men and women have different issues, I think it’s important to keep their struggles separate to some extent.

However, I will say that becoming a Muslim has opened me up more to the struggles of all people, male and female, young and old, rich and poor, sick and well, of whatever (or no) religious or political persuasion, of any nationality or ethnicity. I don’t know if it will change what I write about or how I write. But I will never stop writing; it’s my way of discovering what is important.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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