Why do you think I am oppressed?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Muslimwoman, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Open communication is AWESOME...

    thank you all for broaching the subject and discussing current understandings...
     
  2. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    You are welcome. Erudite? No. From the heart? Yes

    Sorry my posts are so long, will try to keep them shorter or I will bore everyone to sleep.
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namatse Muslimwoman,

    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.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  4. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    as salaam aleykum Vajradhara

    Thank you for your enlightened post, it showed thought and an open mind.

    I would never say I speak for all Muslim women. Some women, not just Mulsim, are terribly oppressed in this world and shame on the men that do this. I accept fully that Islam began in a time when the oppression of women was the norm and this has in some instances flowed into the religion and remains until this day but hopefully to a lesser degree.

    I would also never deny that dreadful deads are done in the name of Islam, including murder and the oppression of women in some areas. My purpose of this thread was to try to seperate out which of these acts are due to Islamic teaching and which are due to the desires of men.

    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. :mad: 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?

    Salaam
     
  5. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste and salaam Muslimwoman,

    thank you for the post.

    *nods* it is, in my view, a positive quality to realize that our views are, essentially, our own and do not necessarily represent the views of others. many times in online discussions, it seems, this sort of awareness is not always present.

    i would agree, fully, with your points. i suppose that what this is an example of is human attachment to power and the grasping and clinging associated with trying to maintain ones power in an everchanging reality.

    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.

    well.. yes and no. i suppose it depends on how you mean it :)

    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.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  6. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    as salaam aleykum V

    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.

    100% correct and wearing the hijab reminds us constantly of Allah and our need to behave modestly but it must come from within a person. 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.

    Salaam
     
  7. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Muslimwoman,

    thank you for the post.

    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.

    of course, this is not confined to Islam, but since that is what we are talking about there isn't much need to elaborate on other traditions :)

    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.

    in my view, viewing it as the females "fault" for inspiring lust in a male is tantamount to blaming the female victim of a rape for being raped. it is, unfortunately, something that all cultures have demonstrated they are capable of doing.

    i do not believe that one can meaningfully blame the victim for being raped nor can one blame a woman for a mans feelings of lust.

    i would completely agree. about the only thing that wearing a hijab is indicative of is that a being is wearing a hijab :)

    metta,

    ~v
     
  8. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    wa aleykum salaam Vajradhara

    Thaank you for your reply to my post



    This is certainly a difficult issue in Islam and a discussion I often hold with more traditional Muslims. I don't wish to bore you with quotes but I would like you go to a Quran search on the web and put in the word hadith. What you will read are the many verses pertaining to the Quran being THE hadith and G-d tells us in the Quran that no other hadith should be followed. It is also well documented (believe it or not in hadiths) that the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) did not want a miriad of hadiths written, he was a very wise man indeed and anticipated the chinese whispers that would follow. It deeply saddens me that some Muslims are now virtually rejecting the obvious meanings of the Quran because "deeper meanings can be found in the hadith".

    I truly pray that in time, with more and more moderate Muslim scholars emerging the ummah will learn to go back to the path Allah gave us, that being the Quran.



    Thankyou for your wisdom here, I only wish more people could see the reality of your view.



    I could not agree with you more and only commented yesterday to a Muslim brother that we need an equivalent of the appeals court in the UK legal system. It is so confusing for a Muslim convert, you have every opinion from far right to far left and to know which is the right path is very difficult. I try, where I can, to simply follow the Quran. The principle of the ummah, at the start of Islam, was inspired. Everyone in the community was allowed a say and the consensus of the ummah was required. However, with the spread of Islam this became impossible and without a hierarchy Islam began to splinter and go on their different paths. Even today traditional followers will tell you that the four traditional schools of thought are the right path and you may follow any of them but they all differ in opinion (not just on minor issues). I am currently having a discusion with a Muslim brother on another thread regarding this very topic, how can 4 different opinions all be right? Ver confusing for us laypeople who just wish to please G-d.





    Hmmm blind following, I am sorry but I just cannot understand it. I believe if G-d wanted us to act like sheep He would have made us sheep.

    I would love to hear your views on the Israel/Palestine issue. Before I moved to Egypt I had very set views about this topic but now I have had to explore it more deeply and am now not sure what to think. What truly astonished me (and saddened me) is the depth of hated, and I mean hatred, some Arabs hold for the Jewish population. To see a 6 year old child cheering because a Jew had been killed made my blood boil, just the lunacy of teaching small children such hatred. Although it did make me start to see how Islamic fundamentalism begins. So please share your thoughts with me – I love to learn.



    How fascinating, I hope that you will be able to return there one day. I have been interested to watch the change in political stance there over the last few years. Sometimes when I look at Egyptian culture I can just see the line between their African and Arabic roots. It is certainly a beautiful area of the world, that sounds silly because it is mainly sand, but having been I feel sure you know what I mean. I think perhaps it is the vastness that impresses me and the constantly changing landscape. Please will you share some of your experiences from childhood, what was it like to be a child growing up in such a rich culture with such difficult political issues?



    Go on then be agreeable and tell me your agreeable solution….



    I agree with you in part, men must be responsible for their own actions and controlling their own urges. Non Muslim men manage to look at women in bikini’s without either having to rape them or go insane, so why can’t Muslim men. The obvious answer is they can and do. I read a comment by a Muslim scholar recently that stated that men were basically ‘unable’ to control their urges, perhaps he should have rephrased it to say HE couldn’t. Honestly, I despair at some of the things Muslim men sometimes.

    However a question has arisen, over the past 20 years or so, in the west of whether the dress and behaviour of women contributes to rape – usually through court cases. I am in no way excusing rape but I do think it raises the issue for women. Should it be ok to walk down the street naked and be unmolested, of course but will it ever be ok and safe in any society? I just feel we must each play our role, men must control their urges and women should not behave in such a way as to inflame those urges. That is what the Quran teaches, both men and women must lower their gaze and be modest in behaviour and dress. That is all the Quran teaches, not cover yourself in bedsheets while the guys go off getting up to all sorts. This situation we find ourselves is has come from men not from G-d.



    Thankyou. No offense meant to Christian women but could you imagine if they decided to wear easter bonnets all year as a sign and symbol of their faith. Would everyone believe them to be oppressed? Would governments ban the wearing of easter bonnets?

    Salaam
     
  9. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    I would like to add my thanks to Wil's. People have politely and respectfully asked me questions and given their comments, without even a hint of animosity. So thank you all.

    Salaam
     
  10. niranjan

    niranjan New Member

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    If possible, see the Indian film, Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam( Lesson One : A cry from the heart.)

    Many rich arab perverts marry poor underage muslim girls from poor muslim countries, and after a few days of paedophilia, conveniently divorce them, by saying the magic word Talaq. This is happening in India as well , and not only rich arabs, but rich Indian muslims do it as well.

    All the Hindus, sikhs ,jains, buddhists, bahais, jews, christians follow the common civil code, which prohibits polygamy and child marriage. However unfortunately , the muslims, because of the rants of their fundamentalists, are excluded from this and allowed to practice their own laws, which is resulting in such perversions which you cannot see in any other religious community in India.

    And hence child marriage where senile muslims marry little muslim girls is taking place in India, which are really getting on our nerves.

    Many muslim girls have committed suicide after these divorces in India.


    The film Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam( Lesson One : A cry from the heart.) explores this social issue in detail about a poor muslim girl who marries a typical pervert and how she is divorced in the end after suffering sexual abuse.

    Theo Van Goghs film, Submission is also a depiction of violence against muslim women. Check it out.

    He was brutally murdered by islamic terrorists for this.

    Theo van Gogh (film director) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  11. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Niranjan

    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.

    Salaam
     
  12. niranjan

    niranjan New Member

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    And did I say that you have to answer my post ? You have not answered it in the other thread as well.

    Anyway my post was for Nick the Pilot, not you. Just sharing information.

    I think what I have stated, which are veritable facts, are important for this thread.

    I don't think I have followed anyone anywhere. I am not a stalker or something. I just found this thread and passed my comments on it. What is wrong with that ?

    Don't you care for the little muslim girls who have to marry these guys? If you don't , I do anyway . Sorry about that.
     
  13. niranjan

    niranjan New Member

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    And one more thing . I have clearly read in a novel or book when I was a kid, about muslim girls in Egypt who have to marry 50 year old guys. Is that true ?
     
  14. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Not that I am aware of but probably has happened (as it has in past times in all cultures).
     
  15. niranjan

    niranjan New Member

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    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.
     
  16. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    as salaam aleykum Niranjan

    I am happy that your country has moved on and created a better environment for it's people. Let us pray that others will see the wisdom of this and follow. Times are changing for everyone, unfortunately just more slowly for some than others. 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.

    Salaam
     
  17. niranjan

    niranjan New Member

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    Not so with the Indian muslim community and majority of islamic communities all over the world ( except in the west) who practice child marriage and polygamy.

    All the religious communities in India except the islamic community is following the common civil code , which is very humane and generous to women.

    Because of the rants of Islamic fundamentalists , they are excluded from this.
    And hence as a result muslim women are heavily persecuted.

    Check out a typical case.....

    Shah Bano case - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  18. Sunny C.

    Sunny C. New Member

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    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?
     
  19. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Sunny

    That would take pages and pages to answer. I shall jot a couple of things down and you can let me know what you want to discuss further.

    Lack of education is a big problem, not general education but religious. Everyone is forceably taught the Quran from a very young age but if you can imagine it is like teaching children to recite the Bible without actually teaching them anything about it or discussing with them the meanings. They just learn it parrot fashion, so it just goes in without any meaning to it. This allows for a lot of ignorance and abuses, the times I have been told by women, about a given practice, "it is in the Quran" and they are clearly astonished when I show them it is not. So the religion gets very mixed up with tradition and cultural practices.

    An example of oppression I have watching for a year or so now is that of a 16 year old girl who was married off by her father for money. Her new husband was going abroad to work, so the boys parents took the girl, against her will, to have IVF (to ensure she was pregnant before their son went away). She is just a slip of a girl and was pregnant with 5 babies, 2 of which died in childbirth and 3 beautiful baby girls were born but all very sick. The parents in law look after the babies as the girl (3 months later) is still too weak to get out of bed.

    Another, a young girl stood in the street talking to her fiance without a family member present. Someone told her brothers and they beat her so badly she spent the night in hospital.

    Another simple one is that if we employ a salesman in our business we pay him 6 times what we would pay a woman for the same work. I tried once to pay a woman the same and she left her job, thinking I was a nutcase.

    Oppression is not the norm, people are becoming more educated (even in the backwater where I live) but instances still happen due to old customs. On the whole I have found the Egyptians to be rather liberated, the status of women is surprisingly high and I think you have to live there to understand that some things the west see's as oppression is actually the men caring for the women.

    When I first went there I was told I was not allowed to leave the house by myself after midnight. of course I rebelled (no-one told me when I could go out and could not). Once my husband was away for 3 days working, so I walked from my apartment to my parents in law (about a 5 minute walk) at 1am. When my husband came back and heard about this he had a rant and then burst into tears, he was so worried that I had been in the street alone so late. It isn't that he wants to oppress me, he just wants me to be safe. Now if I want to go out so late (usually because it's too hot to sleep) and my husband is away I just ring my father in law and he comes to get me. Actually it makes me feel very special.

    Life is different everywhere I have lived, the far east had a great deal of oppression of women and Cyprus under the Greek Orthodox church was sort of middle ground between UK and Middle East.

    Differences between living here and in the west, the biggest is that I feel much safer here, I am not in fear of being attacked, burgled or bothered by drunks (I love that bit). Family is paramount here, the west is so selfish now but here if you come into some money you share it around your family, if someone is sick you have to wait in the queue to look after them and if it's your birthday expect at least 40 people for dinner (of course you have to cook so not much of a birthday).

    One thing I noticed is that in the west we are afraid to help people in the street now, we may get sued or dragged into something. Before I could speak any Arabic I used to panic about what I could do if I had a problem in the street, my family here couldn't understand they just laughed at me. I soon found out why, if you merely trip over in the street 30 people drop everything, stop traffic and come to help you up.

    There certainly is such a thing as feminism in Islam, although it is a very modern invention. Women, as I said before are becoming more educated, they are asking why they are forced to do things not stated in the Quran. We have womens rights groups all over the world and even in my little town. Things like television and the internet have opened up a whole new world to women, not that they want to throw off their clothes and go western but it is making them question some of the more oppressive traditions.

    One of the biggest jokes we have among the women here is western clothing (really they fall off their chairs laughing at the way women in the west dress), as we laugh when a woman there goes swimming in a black bedsheet. I say this to demonstrate that what we see as oppression of women may not be what they see as oppression. At the moment the womens rights group in my town is working to get women allowed into the mosques in our town to pray because that is high on their list of priorities - yet in the west we would put that at the bottom of a long list. People in the west must get rid of their ideas of what is oppression of Middle Eastern women and ask them what they feel oppresses them - I bet the answers would surprise you.

    Salaam
     
  20. Sunny C.

    Sunny C. New Member

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    Wow, what an excellent, interesting post! Thank you so much! Thanks for the effort.

    Sunny
     

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