A couple of weeks ago I was told by a friend of mine that a young Muslim brother I know is struggling. The young brother came from a good home with a good father; but while his sister was flourishing he was having problems. I will not delve too deeply into this aspect of the story because I am writing an article on this aspect for another website.
The reason I mention this is I know of a lot of young Muslims males who are suffering and yet their plight seems to be ignored by the community as any form of masculine expression has been discouraged by many.
Today I see an announcement from Imam Zaid Shakir that an organization will be found named United For Change which will be set up to solve the suffering within Muslim families.
It is my sincere hope that this organization will address the problems of men and boys and not just engage in quasi-feminist vilification of masculinity that alienates many males ( myself included).
If problems are going to be addressed more has to be looked at then just blaming men for all the problems we have. I will address the many factors I belive are responsible for a lot of our problems in the other piece; but here I would jsut like to deal with some white converts I have known.
First, let me say that the problem of black Muslim males in America has been talked about on this blog before and extensively at the blog of Tariq Nelson and other sites ( poverty, criminality, abandonment of wives and children, etc).
When I have attempted to talk about the problem of white Muslims I have gotten a lot of hostility and a lot of this has to do with the fact that white people don’t like to talk about whiteness and what it means and many white Muslims have embraced Islam but do not look at themselves, America, and Western Culture with a critical eye.
This will not be a long piece but let me just tell you of three Muslim males, who are all white and don’t know one another, and the problems they had.
All three came from white middle-class backgrounds and all had been educated, and believed in, the values of modern America. A part of these values are that we should encourage strong women and live in a gender-neutral society and as a part of this these brothers grew up in homes dominated by women ( one in a home where his mother lived with her lesbian lover and the family pets ate on the kitchen table).
Islam is a patriarchal faith that encourages strong male leadership in and out of the household. Traditional and more observant Muslim women are looking for a strong male figure; but these brothers were never given the nutrients to be strong men. For example, even if they played sports, many of the youth leagues are now ran by women and kids get closets full of trophies even when they loose all the time and are not good, because the emphasis is on their feelings and not competition. In some classes and books they will learn of manliness and masculinity solely in the negative.
Two of these males became addicted to S&M porn. One was upset that he could not find a black salafi sister who would tie him up and beat him ( he would discuss this in his sit downs). This kind of fetish may be normal for some white males, particular in the secular upper classes and around universities, but you are going to be hard pressed to find any black Muslim sisters who get off on beating a weak male. Now, you may find a sister who would love to play mind games with you, prey on your weakness, and spend your cash, but 9.9 out of 10 she is looking not to beat you but for you to beat it up.
The other brother was not salafi, as a matter of fact he hated salafis, but he also had a porn addiction and was looking for a woman who would curse at him while smoking cigarettes. Again, he has failed at finding a wife and a sexual partner without fingers.
The last brother was also from a female dominated home and not very manly. He was also kind of a nerd and into spiritual aspects of Islam and attracted to people like Hamza Yusuf and reminds me of a lot of white sufis I have met ( though certainly not all). I just learned that he has just made thouba and came back to the deen after a period in a gay lifestyle. He now says he is looking for a dominant black woman. Something is telling me he is going to have a hard time getting hitched.
What do all three of these white brothers have in common? All grew up in these secular liberal backgrounds dominated by women and therefore were not very manly and then entered a religion that requires a male to be strong and they cant make the cut. We should also realize that this is not just an issue with whites. There is a prominent masjid in the DC area were these issues are even in the leadership and I have had many Desi sisters tell me that they cant think of marrying a Desi male because they cant find one masculine enough.
If United for Change wants to make positive sunnah-based change then it needs to deal with the problems with brothers like this. Because, if it is not sunnah-based change, then it will be change based on the thoughts of modern fields of learning that have at their core secular values that contradict Islam.