There is a new book out by an Atlanta-area Muslim attorney by the name of Melody Moezzi titled “War on Error: Real Stories of American-Muslims”.The book is an attempt by Moezzi to give another vision of the lives of young American-Muslims to the public in order to say “look, we are not evil, and we have all the complexities and diversities everyone else has” in order to combat the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists or extreme in nature.The effort to give non-Muslims a more accurate portrayal of who Muslims are is noble and to a certain extent Moezzi does this in some of her profiles; but at the end of the day as an American-Muslim I am offended by the manner in which Muslims are portrayed in this work ( aside from the good intent I am sure Moezzi had, I am sure).
With her tales of Muslim lesbians, people with Muslim names who do not believe or practice, rootless and shifty Muslim yuppies, Muslim body builders, she is not lying because it is true that all of these elements exist in significant numbers in the Muslim community and there story is valid. What I am offended by is her implying that these groups represent either a majority of young Muslims in America or that these are the good Muslims who are acceptable as opposed to the bad Muslims who do things such as pray, fast and observe the basic tenets of Islam and generally have a Third World mentality.
That is why this book is pointless in my mind. Muslims already know that if you completely assimilate into non-Muslim society and take the values of secular humanism as your own you will be accepted, that is no big surprise. If you are a Muslim male who is an effete latte sipper carrying a man bag in Manhattan on the way to the art gallery you will be accepted by that crowd because you have accepted their values as your own and given them supremacy over the values of Islam. The same can be said to any other number of Muslims who assimilate into different segments of American society. It is a given, it is a known, that if you leave your deen, or at least have a very loose commitment to it, you can gain acceptance into mainstream American society by most people ( outside of the Ann Coulter, Robert Spencer, Joe Kauffman crowd).
I think that there have been a lot of good comments to the piece the other day on the killing of the two Muslim girls in Texas, masha’Allah. I am in agreement that it is true that many in the media and outside political forces will use whatever they can to give a bad reputation to Muslims and there are those who will take advantage of this case and use it for propaganda purposes. However, I think that if Muslims are keeping it real, and being honest with themselves, they will also admit that we have a problem in the community and saying that others do the same thing is not exactly addressing the problem.An example of this came to me this morning when a Muslim couple was having a conversation on this topic. The husband, an African-American Muslim said he wished he would see the guy who killed his daughter so he could either beat him or collect the reward for capturing him; but the wife, a Muslim woman from Morocco, defended the man, chastised the dead girls, and said that “America is a bad society” because fathers are not “real men” and do not “defend the honor” of their girls.
This is not the first time I have heard something like this and it will not be the last. A Palestinian brother who was a friend of mine who I used to do security at the masjid with told me that he saw what is known as “honor killings” as a part of the deen. He was not a bad person, as a matter of fact this was a very nice brother who volunteered a lot of his time to the community; but he grew-up in a culture where this was seen as a part of the deen and it had never been challenged in his mind.
So, I am not going to say that this is not a problem in the Muslim ummah and then try and say this happens with other people too, because it has no logical bearing on the situation within the Muslim community.
Normally I make a conscious effort to not watch Fox News because every time I do I end up getting angry at all the nonsense I am hearing and I am not trying to let Sean Hannity send me to a premature death by giving me a heart attack.This morning I decided to watch all three major cables news channels and C-Span to get as much coverage of the Iowa Caucus as possible from all angles and in particular I wanted to hear the conservative take on FOX regarding the victory of Mike Huckabee on the Republican side ( I was already in a good mood because of the Obama win the night before and had my fill with that).
It just so happened while watching FOX I saw the coverage of the murders of Sarah (17) and Aminah (18) Said by their father Yaser Abdel-Said in his taxi in Irvine, TX. For those of you unfamiliar with the story these were two Muslim girls allegedly killed by their Egyptian father and there is speculation that he may have killed them because he was angry over the way they dressed and their interactions with non-Muslim boys. For now this is just speculation and we don’t really know what happened.
If this is the case of a so-called “honor killing” or there was some supposed “Islamic motivation” for this killing then that is a tragedy, not only because these girls died for no reason, but because there is nothing honorable or Islamic about these murders.
For the record there are hundreds of thousands of young Muslim women in America and the vast majority of them are well-adjusted, loved by their families, and are on paths to success. If you do not believe me go to any large college campus anywhere in America and you will see Muslim women well-represented who have not been killed by their families; but have rather been nurtured and supported into success. These young Muslim women represent the majority of Muslim women in America and are far more representative of the community than tragic isolated incidents such as those of Sarah and Aminah.
Having said that there are problems with the treatment of girls and women in our community and I have written on this topic on numerous occasions in the past. There is a problem of domestic violence, abuse, abandonment, and ill-treatment of women in the Muslim community. This is not Islam, and this is not what the Quran teaches and it is not the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) or the way of the Salaf, but it is something that occurs in the community due to backwards and outdated cultural notions.