Don’t you guys just love these story times about ignorant jerks and the crap they do and say?
Yeah, me too.
Anyway, a friend recently shared an article I wrote about the stigma against mixing genders in some Muslim communities. Mostly, I received a lot of love for the article. Not everyone is going to like my writing, and I accept that.
This one response, though, I can’t let go as easily.
My friend sent me this screenshot of a Snapchat she received.
If you can’t read the Snapchat caption, it says “The real problem is that Islam is an inherently, barbarically, and disgustingly sexist religion that treats women as inferior creatures.”
I mean, how hateful or bored do you have to be to send a message like that? I don’t know anything about this fool. I’ve never met him. I don’t even know his name. All I know from my friend is that he is a wealthy, white male.
Not to disappoint, am I right? Super glad to confront another jerk from a privileged background.
There are so many things I could say to you, you hateful buffoon.
I could start by asking if you even read the article because if you did you would understand that patriarchal, cultural customs get confused for religious practice.
I’m not denying that there is sexism in many Muslim-majority societies (as if there’s no sexism in non-Muslim contexts). What I’m saying is that sexism cannot be derived from the faith itself. But, obviously, you didn’t read the article. Why would you want to learn about something new or expand your perspective? No, it’s much easier and more comfortable to imprint a mold of your ass on your throne of entitlement and pass judgment on communities about which you know nothing.
I could bring up the fact that some Muslim-majority nations, like Bangladesh, have elected female Heads of State long before the United States, a nation which in a few short weeks might elect an orange, bigoted, uneducated, broom-haired, piece of trash as President.
I could talk about the fact that women in Islam have always been leaders.
I could tell you that a Muslim woman, Fatima al-Fihri founded the world’s oldest university. That unlike other faiths which claim that Eve was derived from Adam’s rib, Islam declares that from one soul, or nafs (the Arabic word), man and woman were created. Men and women were definitive equals from the beginning.
I could tell you that in the Quranic version of the story of Jesus (Isa), there is no mention of Joseph, which is not to say that Joseph didn’t exist, but rather that his presence, real or not, is not important, because the story is about Mary (Maryam)‘s strength and will. I could recount how when asked who to respect first, second, third, etc., in the world, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said to respect your mother seven times before respect for your father. I could remind you that the headscarf, the hijab, is a choice.
I could say all these things. I could do that.
But it’s not my responsibility to educate you. Your ignorance is not on me to fix. Besides, when was the last time facts and reason actually changed an imbecile’s perspective? Would he actually read any of this? And if he did, would it affect his thinking? Change his ways? Not likely.
If you wanted to seek more knowledge about my religion and my community, I would help you. I would talk to you about everything I know and believe. I would provide resources, books, articles that you could read to be more informed about this faith and its people that I love so much. I would introduce you to scholars and teachers and activists that have influenced my thinking and beliefs. But you have to want to learn.
It is not on me to beg you to recognize my humanity. I’m already a human being, worth far more than your inane self. I already have dignity. It is not on me to plead with you to validate my faith. It’s already beautiful and important.
Nearly 2 billion people worldwide would agree.
It is not on me to form PR statements condemning terrorism on behalf of Muslims as if we are somehow involved before I’m allowed to mourn the lives of my fellow Americans. It’s not on me to suppress parts of my identity so that you are less afraid of what I might represent. I am un-apologetically everything that I am.
Yes, I have concerns about some of the practices in my community. Are you in such a perfect world that you have no issues, no ideas for improvement for your circles? Maybe you do have a perfect world. Wealthy. White. Male. Or maybe you’re just so invested in your own life that you can’t look beyond your reflection in the mirror.
Maybe your biggest worry is about your hair gel. I don’t know.
But how dare you impose your ignorant convictions on my faith.
How dare you take my words, my good intentions, and transform them into ugly stereotypes.
Are you so high up on your own pedestal of privilege and self-importance you’ve confused yourself for some all-knowing deity? Have you forgotten you actually have neither the comprehension nor the right to make such an asinine analysis?
I’m not quite sure how you even breathe without choking on your own inflated ego, but please digest this: your words and your hate do not weaken me. You do not scare me; you do not deter me. You give me the motivation to continue everything I do.
You must have mixed me up with someone you used to bully on the playground, but make no mistake — I am fiercely proud of my identity and my community and you cannot take any of that away from me.
Not by spouting ridiculous rhetoric from the national debate stage and certainly not from some random Snapchat message.