A close Canadian friend sent me an e-mail. The article she attached was titled “The Joys of Muslim Women.” My friend preambled the e-mail with, “This is so bizarre, I wonder if it is staged.” Then another friend responded, “This is horrific. If true, what to do?”
“The Joys of Muslim Women” focuses on two topics. One is the fact that women in the Muslim world are enslaved by their husbands. Their parents sell them as young girls aged 6 or 7 to the highest bidder where they are raped and abused and can never get a divorce. Then it moves into scaring the West out of its wits by making it very clear that these Muslims are living amongst us in the western world and are bringing these horrific ideologies with them. The article warns that in the near future these Islamists will indeed govern and rule the West.
The article mentions two quite disturbing sources; one is a website by Nonie Darwish, a former Egyptian Muslim who immigrated to the United States, forego Islam and converted to Christianity. Though she says she didn’t write the article herself, Darwish doesn’t contradict what is written in it. Still, Nonie Darwish, after her conversion, has decided to come out in full force against Islam. http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/02/nonie-darwish-caught-in-a-pool-of-lies/. She heads the Former Muslim Group, and Arabs for Israel Group. I do commend her for starting an organization where she can meet and talk to other ex-Muslims.
The other source is Thelastcrusade.org website, which has a photograph of 450 men in Gaza lining up to get married to 6 and 7 year old girls. The despicable photo of young girls holding the hands of older men made me livid.
Yes, I found this e-mail truly disturbing. But before I go into my analysis any further, I’d like to mention that I’m not a disciplined Muslim; indeed, I'm quite flexible in my adherence to the basic taboos in Islam. Nevertheless, I would consider myself a good-in-character Muslim. I was born a Muslim, I got married under the Muslim sharia, and I practice all the good that Islam promotes: Loving one another, caring for the poverty stricken, helping the needy and your family, and all the basics of all religions—don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t, don’t, etc.
And I’ve lived in the Arab World until I turned 38; I’ve lived in Canada for the following 25. I believe that makes me someone who knows the two worlds.
In the Middle East and other Muslim countries, many stifling and totally unacceptable behaviors, by Western standards, existed. This is a no brainer. It was indeed a paternal society; Egyptian movies portraying the forties and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk talk of the atmosphere when the father walks in and everyone is petrified; you can hear a needle drop; the family is standing alert awaiting the permission to sit down or start eating. Neither the wife nor the children for that matter are of any consequence. The father was a glorified and absolutely in charge figure.
But gone are those days; an Egyptian family in this day and age is a nuclear family with a working father and a working mother, both involved in raising their children. It goes without saying that women have become stronger and more validated. And they have a voice. And since 2000, women in Egypt have gained more freedom. They can divorce their husbands as equally as men can divorce them, a true victory for women.
The article also discusses the submissive society, and holds proof—the photograph of 450 men marrying 450 six year olds in Gaza—good grief, I exclaimed. I had to research this further.
First, the author of the article that accompanies the photo, Tim Marshall, denies the preposterous allegations: http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/gaza-wedding-report-provokes-paedo-hysteria. This was a truly big event, he explains, and because the brides did not want to be paraded, they let their young nieces replace them in the procession. The brides, of course, were the ones who married the handsome Palestinians. Only a vindictive person would want to twist such a wonderful event and turn it into a vile and shameful one.
Still, do pedophiles exist? Yes. They exist in as much as pedophiles exist in Canada. Can we say they are the norm in either region? No. In fact, I would honestly say pedophilia is a more common behavior in the Western world than the Islamic one.
Do young girls of 6 and 7 years old get married to elder men? I’ve never heard of anything as preposterous in my entire life. It may happen because a father is a lunatic and the husband to be is also so, but in most Muslim countries, Egypt, for instance, women are not allowed to marry before they turn 18, and it is enforced by the law.
Now let’s look at this from a different perspective. If a visitor to the West sees a story on the news about polygamists, young boys being abused by priests, the Jonestown cult massacre, David Koresh’s Wako catastrophy, or any other resembling atrocity, that same person may return to his country and generalize that this is indeed the norm in the West. We then would be horrified that this visitor is assuming that we are all polygamists, abusers, or cult followers. Let’s be fair: generalizing is an evil matter.
The other matter is that the article instills fear in the western world by assuming that these fanatic Islamists will invade its world and turn its young innocent girls into scarved, burka clad, uneducated, easily raped, married-at-the- age-of-six victims. This is madness. Only a lunatic would accept this as something that may happen.
First, the Muslims who come to the West are basically here because they appreciate the democratic, independent ways that come with living in the West. They will adhere to the pillars of Islam: praying, fasting, going to Mecca on a pilgrimage, etc., but they will enjoy the rights bestowed by the Western society such as voicing your concerns freely, being treated fairly, and having equal rights.
Personally, I find that I am a very lucky person. I can enjoy the best of both worlds. I love the fact that Islam tells me to take care of my mother, to help my family, to look after the needy, to be at peace with who I am; at the same time I love the fact that I’m in a free country. I’m equal to everyone around me, and my rights are protected. And I’ve raised my children as such.
What such an article does and Nonie Darwish, in particular, tries to do is ignite hatred against Islam. Nonie Darwish has the right to convert to Christianity, and no one should think worse of her for such an action, but to turn this into an opportunity to fan her hatred and create strife between Muslims and Christians is totally unacceptable.
In Middle Eastern countries, is it the norm for a Muslim woman to convert to Christianity? Absolutely not. By the same token it is not the norm for Christian women to convert to Islam either. The followers of both religions won’t accept it; by denouncing your faith, you are bringing shame on your family. This is more of a culture than a religious phenomenon. Islam and Christianity are both culprits here.
I suggest we stop reading, watching, and validating crap. I suggest we become skeptic readers. I personally have reached a conclusion that I have to question the authenticity of every word, photo, or video I see unless it is validated or is from an extremely reliable source. Stories are twisted, and photos are photoshopped and fabricated. And we fall victim.
I’m glad I pursued this topic and this nonsense further. I needed to clarify it for myself before I clarify it for anyone else.