thank you for the post.
you, individually, may or may not be oppressed. you say you live in Egypt. we read the Egyptian English news and see that the government is preventing certain groups from organizing and metting.. this is oppression. you live in this country, ipso facto, you are in an enviornment where oppression occurs.
however, i think that you mean to be asking why the general Western perception is that Muslim women, as a whole, are oppressed and it is to that which i will direct my reply.
i do not think that Muslim women, as a whole, are oppressed. i do think, and it seems incontrovertible, that there are Muslim women that are oppressed as demonstrated in societies like Saudi Arabia and the now defuct Afghanistan of the Taliban.
i suppose that the reason that these generalized sorts of views are the same reason that Arab socieities have misunderstandings and misconceptions Western nations.. humans will tend to believe those in positions of authority even when they speak on subjects well outside of such authority.
to be perfectly frank with you i think that it has little to do with Islam, though some of the Narrations don't help, and more to do with cultural values and societal mores which lead to twisted interpetations which lead to a belief that Allah sanctions the rules/regulations imposed upon women.
though.. i must say.. to offer that women should wear the hijab to prevent men from lusting is rather missing the point.. it is the men that must be restrined and refined and, clearly, covering oneself does not prevent another from experiencing lust.
i would tend to agree with Francis on this point.. enforced morality is not morality in the slightest. a being demonstrates morality when they are in a situation where moral consequences could arise from action, thought or word.. not in a sterile situation where these moral tests are not present. even that sort of view, however, seems to belie a misunderstanding of the human animal and the biological imperative to procreate.
as for the OP.. i don't know if you are or are not oppressed on a personal level and i would not extrapolate your situation to be applicable to the rest of Muslim women throughout the Muslim lands.
Muslimwoman said:I would never say I speak for all Muslim women.
An example would be the videos we now see in egypt recorded on mobile phones, of male and female citizens being humiliated, beaten and sexually abused by policemen in police stations. What has the government done to stop this? Because of the outcry they are takening a couple of policemen to court but they have also banned anyone entering a police station with a mobile phone. Can you imagine living in such fear? Now that is state terrorism but it is not Islam.
This is what I try to speak against, the misconceptions of what is and is not Islam. Anything bad in the middle east is attributed to Islam and this breaks my heart. The true Islam does not teach oppression, in fact quite the opposite and this is the message I try to get across.
Do you really think that by choosing to wear the hijab I cannot get into "a situation where moral consequences could arise from action, thought or word.."?
I do not live in prison, I can go out and party all night tonight, in the most outrageous way if I choose to. I don't see it as enforced morality (although I fully accept your point), I see as my choice to 'advertise' my desire to avoid this way of life by the way I dress. Do you see the difference?
i would say that you are being a bit overly general here.. it would certainly depend on the sources that one consumes for their news on the views that would be presented. that said, it is certainly true that the vast majority of human beings, throughout the world, have misconceptions about beings of other cultures, religions and social standing.. so i would say that this situation exists on both sides of this discussion.
what often seems to lead to a great deal of misunderstanding, in my view, is trying to understand another culture or religious paradigm through our own tradition or cultural point of view.. very often this leads to some vast misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of entire groups of beings. it is not easy, of course, to set aside ones own point of view to understand another culture or religions point of view, from within their own frame of reference, but it definately seems worthwhile.
clearly not; there are plenty of cases where properly attired Muslim women are assaulted and so forth. the idea that wearing the hijab makes a person modest, however, is faulty. modesty is not in what one wears, in my view, it is their behavior that determines if they are modest or not.
it is, in a sense, the issue that we deal with on many other levels of our existence.. accepting the outter appearence as being indicative of the inner quality when, in fact, they do not have to be connected in the slightest.
Muslimwoman said:Anyone can read an article about a terrorist act committed in the name of Islam or see on the internet that men are about to stone a woman to death under the banner of sharia law but do these issues actually come from Islam? This is my point, they do not.
Murder and suicide are strictly forbidden and the Quran does not contain one verse that even remotely suggests stoning as a punishment.
I can of course see why people have their misconceptions but wish people would take the time to find out whether this is Islam, although I do accept that is not as easy as it sounds.
You are absolutely correct that the situation exists on both sides. Living in Egypt during the last Israeli/Lebanon conflict was a terrible time but a perfect example. To hear the anti Jewish hatred broke my heart, yet when I asked why this existed, there was simply nothing substantial and many points could be disproved with simply opening history books. People accept what they are taught, even if that is wrong.
I agree completely about a need for understanding other cultures, it surprised me the things I managed to accept about the Arabic culture once I had gone to live there and to be honest without living there I doubt I would ever have understood.
I have seen some porn videos with women wearing hijab, so I would never suggest the hijab itself makes a person modest, it is just a piece of cloth.
Exactly. I am not claiming no Muslim women are oppressed, clearly some are but my thread was hoping to make people question whether looking at a woman wearing hijab could in itself suggest she is oppressed.
therein lies the thorny parts of this discussion. it somewhat depends on what you mean by "comes from Islam".
if Al Qur'an were the only source of guidance for Muslims, i'd happily conceed your point. it is, as we both know, not so. the Ahadith play a role every bit as important in the Muslim life.. though, clearly, there are always beings that place emphasis on one part over another.
regarding stoning.. it is my view that is simply the culturally acceptable method of execution at this point in history and has nothing to do with Islam, per se.
in my view, one of the things that makes this more complicated is that Islam does not have a hierarchy in the same manner as many other traditions, i.e. where there is a single voice to speak on behalf of Muslims. of course, this is true in a technical context for other traditions as well.. the Pope really only represents the views of Roman Catholics and the Dalai Lama only reprents of the view of the Gelugpa Vajrayana school. in any event, these two beings have come to be view as a "spokesperson" for their faith traditions. Islam does not have this same sort of thing and, consequently, one can find several different Muslim schools of thought which each assert that they are the "correct" one.
i agree and i am saddened by it. perhaps it is simply because i am a curious being.. i don't want to substitute someone elses understanding or experience for my own.. yet, it seems, many beings are happy to do that very thing the whole Israel/Palestine issue is one that, to me at any rate, is pretty straight forward based on the arguments that i most often hear. again, somewhat outside the scope of this conversation though i'd be happy to discuss it with you .
i grew up in
Libya and i have my own experience of both Arab and Berber culture which, i can honestly say, is more favorably disposed towards the Berbers. nevertheless, and this may seem somewhat strange, i have such a fondness for the country.. not the political nature or religious nature, mind you, but the actual topography... i get very homesick sometimes for i fear that i shall never be able to return.
i quite agree though i think that we may disagree on the solution to this question which is, in my view, quite agreeable .
in any event.. the argument that i often see presented is that men are inflamed to lust by the sight of a woman and therefore the woman should cover herself up. that is, to be frank, a purely patristic point of view and one which seems to be culturally derived.
if i see a being and feel lust, who is responsible for this feeling? the object or the being that is experiencing the sensation? it is, in my view, clearly the being which has the experience of lust which is responsible for controlling their behavior. to try to shift the burden of responsiblity for this feeling is to miss, in my view, a great opportunity to test ones character and, if found wanting, to engage in practice to strengthen it. .
i would completely agree. about the only thing that wearing a hijab is indicative of is that a being is wearing a hijab .
Open communication is AWESOME...
thank you all for broaching the subject and discussing current understandings...
"...it is oppression by men, not by Islam."
--> That sounds like oppression to me.
Have you seen the movie Not Without My Daughter?
Not Without my Daughter
Anybody who sees this movie will consider Muslim women to be oppressed.
Was this a factual description of the events?
I am going to put this as politely as possible. I am not going to answer your post
because I started this thread to give curious people the opportunity to ask about life as a female Muslim convert, what it is like to wear hijab, life as a westerner living in a Muslim country, etc.
We are already discussing Islamic terrorism and abuses on other threads, so please have the decency not to follow me onto every thread and post the same issues or I will simply stop posting on this forum..
Not that I am aware of but probably has happened (as it has in past times in all cultures).
Child marriage was there among hindus in the past. But even then, little girls married little boys of their age, not senile men.
Anyway we have got rid of child marriage as well . Hindu laws and the Indian constitution bans it , and it is a criminal offence. It is not there now, unlike what is happening in Islamic society.
. Some Islamic scholars outside your country worked very hard with your people to remove the Hudood laws that oppressed so many people. There will always be some, in any culture, that try to hang on to the old customs and practices but over time the majority tend to win out, let us hope this continues to happen.
...I started this thread to give curious people the opportunity to ask about life as a female Muslim convert, what it is like to wear hijab, life as a westerner living in a Muslim country, etc.
What sorts of oppression have you noticed in Egypt which seem particular to Muslim countries? How does that contrast, in your experience, with oppression in Christian countries? What are the similarities which transcend religious and ethnic differences in culture? What comprises feminism in Islamic society, or is there such a thing?