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Ingrid Mattson. Photo: Screenshot from video YouTube Kaufman Interfaith Institute

Ingrid Mattson: “People have the freedom to accept or reject Islam”

Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at Western University in Canada.

According to her official bio:

  • Dr. Mattson was educated in Canada and the United States, earning a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1999. From 1998 to 2012 she was Professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary in CT where she developed and directed the first accredited graduate program for Muslim chaplains in America, and served as Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.
  • From 2001-2010 Dr. Mattson served as vice-president, then as president of the Islamic Society of North America (USA), the first woman to serve in either position.
  • Dr. Mattson is a Senior Fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan. From 2009-2010, Dr. Mattson was a member of the Interfaith Taskforce of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; in 2008 she was on the Council of Global Leaders of the C-100 of the World Economic Forum; from 2007-2008, she was a member of the Leadership Group of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project (USME).

On January 12, 2019 Ingrid Mattson tweeted her thoughts about the Saudi law on apostasy in relation to the news story about 18 year old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi woman who given asylum in Canada after fleeing domestic abuse in her own country and leaving the fold of Islam.

Here are Ingrid Mattson’s tweets on this issue:

Speaking in her first interview after being given asylum in Canada, and landing in Toronto on Saturday, Qunun, told the ABC Australia her case might be the “agent for change” in Saudi Arabia, a country where women are denied basic freedoms and are not allowed to work, marry and travel without the permission of a male guardian.

A few words about the granting of asylum to Saudi citizen #Rahaf in #Canada I am proud that my country is consistent in standing up for religious freedom. That means the freedom to embrace any religion or to reject any religion.

Much is being made of #Rahaf’s rejection of Saudi dress laws and the religion of her family, #Islam. A reminder that Saudi is not the leader of Muslims in interpreting what is or is not ‘Islamic’. SA is also not the ‘birthplace of Islam’. SA is a nation less than a century old.

Many modern Muslim scholars have demonstrated that pre-modern imperial & fundamentalist conflations between religious & political identity are not in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Quran & the Sunnah. People have the freedom to accept or reject Islam. #Rahaf

Here are scholarly sources demonstrating that religious apostasy must be distinguished from political & military treason and that #Islam upholds freedom of, and freedom from, religion: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18158147-apostasy-in-islam … #Rahaf

More on freedom of religion in #Islam: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1067973.Freedom_of_Religion_Apostasy_and_Islam #Rahaf

More on freedom of religion in #Islam: https://www.islamicity.org/2845/apostasy-and-religious-freedom/ #Rahaf #Canada

As for the issue of ‘allowing’ Muslim women to uncover or cover in particular ways, more jurisdictions force women to remove their clothes than force women to wear more clothes. Go to Morocco, Indonesia, Jordan, Indonesia etc. – women wearing all sorts of dress. #Rahaf

Proud that women in #Canada, with the exception of Quebec, are free to wear what they wish, with a minimal prohibition on public nudity that is seldom enforced. #Rahaf

#Canada has welcomed thousands of religious #Muslims as refugees in the last few years and has welcomed those persecuted by Muslim militants, such as the #Yazidis, LGBTQ people and those who have rejected Islam. This is a sound application of the freedom of conscience. #Rahaf

The Muslim community is more threatened by those who use #Islam for political oppression, misogyny and hatred, than by states upholding the freedom of religion and conscience. #Rahaf #Canada

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About Rachel Ehrenfeld

Rachel Ehrenfeld
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is Founder and President of the New York-based American Center for Democracy, and the Economic Warfare Institute. Dr. Ehrenfeld has authored academic and policy papers and more than one thousand articles. Her books include FUNDING EVIL: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop Ii (2011) • EVIL MONEY (HarperCollins, 1992,1994). Her latest book project is on The Economic Warfare against the U.S. from Within and Without. • NARCOTERRORISM (Basic Books, 1990, 1992).

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