To learn more about Islam's view of women, watch this short introduction:
According to actress Pam Grier’s 2010 autobiography, “Foxy: My Life In Three Acts,” she and Jabbar shared a passionate and serious relationship during the process of his religious conversion. Marriage was on the table. She had already met his parents, and their mutual destinies had launched.
Both were young. He was already a leading NBA scorer and had been named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. She was 22, impossibly gorgeous, and on the cusp of launching an acting career that would eventually lead to her earning her own status as a legend.
The relationship abruptly changed when Lew asked her to start calling him Kareem. He had begun a conversion to what would become a lifelong commitment to Islam. Immediately, he demanded she stop working. “A conservative man at heart who was getting more so by the day,” Grier writes, “he didn’t want to see his girlfriend working.”
At the time Grier was working as a dancer in a nightclub. The type of work she was doing wasn’t the only issue. He did not want her working at all, and he also wanted her to convert to Islam. His faith told Jabbar he could date a non-Muslim, but not marry one. Her heart set on an education, she didn’t want to move to Milwaukee.
“If we get married, you don’t have to get an education,” was his reply, according to Grier. “I’ll take care of you.”
Although she was a self-described feminist who believed education was the road to empowerment, Grier, who had been raised a Catholic but moved away from all religion, agreed to study the Koran. What she found she didn’t like. Jabbar tried to explain to her that the New Islam was different from what she was reading. To Grier it didn’t sound all that new.
Grier with Abdul-Jabbar
“Then why is the woman, even in the ‘New Islam,’ supposed to walk behind the man. Why can’t we walk side by side?”
Jabbar’s answer to this and many other questions was, “That’s what Allah wants. The man is the leader. That is how it is written.”
He also told her she would be required to be chaperoned and wear a headscarf.
“The truth is that Kareem didn’t want me to work or get an education,” Grier summarizes. “He really just wanted me to be a good Muslim wife, bear his children, walk behind him, and keep my hair covered up with a head scarf. … From what I could see, once a woman converted to Islam and got married, she gave up her individual rights.”
Grier was bugged especially by the fact that in the Middle East some Muslim woman were living in a more progressive society that gave them more freedoms and allowed them to get an education. She writes, “[B]ut Kareem never told me about them. Either he didn’t know or he didn’t want me to know.”
There is no question that although she was conflicted, Grier was madly in love with Jabbar (she says they remain friends to this day) and desperate to find a way to reconcile herself to his rigid view of a woman’s place in the world.
She wanted to make it work.
Then the humiliations came.
They refused to hug her. They pulled away from her touch as though she were diseased. Then came the real humiliation.
“I wasn’t supposed to speak to them at all, unless I was answering a specific question. I stood there awkwardly, when Kareem said in a quiet voice, ‘You’re supposed to leave the room now, Pam.'”
“For how long?” She asked.
“Until I ask you come back or my friends leave,” was his reply.
Humiliated, she sat alone in the bedroom until Jabbar came in and asked her to make the group sandwiches. She obliged, and after serving the men, Jabbar said, “You have to go now. You can take a sandwich with you.” (Continue Reading.)
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Conversion to Islam Led to Oppressive View of Women
One of the NBA's all-time greats, Muslim convert Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, has been defending Islam against criticisms arising from endless terrorist attacks. Actress Pam Grier, has the inside scoop on how Islam affected Abdul-Jabbar's view of women.