Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oppressing the "oppressed."

I read a lot of comments online (I shouldn't, I know), and the people that I should be ignoring often make comments such as this:

"Free liberated women should be just that. Wherever they are. They shouldn’t hide from being photographed with backward burqa shrouded shadows, instead they should proudly present themselves as women, free, liberated and capable." (In reference to a picture of the-First Lady Laura Bush posing with three Saudi women; one in hijab, one in niqab, and one a burka)

So ... you who make these comments think that my religious attire is oppressive, yet instead of worrying about my education or health or even, at the bare minimum, asking my opinions on my religion, you do exactly what you claim my garb incites people to do, namely treat me like a non-entity?  Instead of proving that you think higher of me than you claim the men of my religion do, you use my attire as an excuse to treat me exactly like they supposedly do.

Instead of showing me through your actions that you think of me differently, that you think I'm a worthwhile human being and deserve to be treated as such, you treat me the same.  You call me backward, a shadow, assume that I'm uneducated because my face and hands are the most ok,f my flesh that you can see, and sometimes you can't even see that.  I wonder, then, would you treat me like a super-genius queen if I were to walk around naked, since you seem to think that my worth is related to how much skin you can see?  No, you would treat me like a piece of meat that you can bang however, whenever you want, regardless of my feelings on the matter.  You would call me cheap, a slut, a tramp.

So we women really can't win, wouldn't it seem?  If we wear too little, as society dictates, we're worthless.  If we cover our bodies and hide them from your sight, as our religion dictates, we're backward and worthless.  Who should we allow to dictate our clothing and modesty choices?  Society, religion, or an ignorant mass bent on staying ignorant?

I know, stop reading the comments.  People are idiots once the anonymity of the internet cloaks them; they'll let loose with opinions and feelings that they either hide during human interaction, or tone down.  I know this.

But people think it.  They feel it.  Yeah, they can spew their opinions just like I can spew mine, but my point is that they're acting the same way they claim that Muslim men act (some of them do; I'm not blind to that - but I'm talking about the generalisation of every single Muslim in existence), and don't seem to realise it.  That is what irritates me, the hypocrisy.


  1. This is a great case for the idea that our sense of value has to come from within, from what God says about us, and not what other people say. We need to be able to view ourselves as normal in a way that has nothing to do with how many other people around us are or aren't living the way we are.

    And this type of attitude is SO key in living with hijab. If we are able to convey the idea that this way of dressing is normal for us, and also have an accepting (if not always approving) attitude towards the way other people look, that will go a long way towards normalizing our relationship as muhajabaat to the outside world.

    I want to share a crazy hijab story. Before I start, let me note that I live in a city of nearly 1 million people which is crawling with nuns, also includes among its population a fair number of little old ladies and gypsies who wear headscarves fulltime - but probably only two actual hijabis.

    So yesterday, I took myself out to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner. This restaurant has a couple of old horse-drawn carriages (minus horses :D ) as decor elements. I decided to occupy the one by the front door - and yes, the waiters actually served me my meal there, passing the dishes through the open window of the carriage.

    And then suddenly a bunch of male tourists walked in. They looked with idle curiosity at the carriage, but certainly were not expecting to see anyone actually sitting in there, much less... yours truly, one of the two hijabis in the entire town: a very tall woman wearing a Turkmen kufi topped by an amira and a delicate black lace shawl draped in a sort of Khaleeji style. Let's say that in that kind of getup, it's pretty easy to look queenly if one wants to :D The look on their faces as they slowed down and stared into the carriage was PRICELESS...

  2. PS Today I had another crazy hijab story: I was visiting a friend this morning, and as I walked out of her place four hours later (we were talking about God - she's a pretty serious-minded lady), there were these two little girls playing in the hallway - maybe 10 years old or so. And so the door opens, out steps a lady over 6 feet tall in hijab - yours truly - in the same head covering as yesterday, and an outfit including a pair of Indian trousers so full I could easily fit a miniskirt underneath (shalwar patiala). And they took one look at me and one of them went 'Mamma mia!!!' and I heard them giggling behind me as I left. It was all I could do to restrain myself from giggling as well. Finally after I left the building, presumably out of their earshot, I gave in...

    Another time some mildly hostile teenage girls made comments about UFOs when they saw me. And I turned around and gave them the most vicious smile I could manage. The 'I'm gonna have you for dinner tonight' special. I don't remember whether I let loose my sinister laugh or not. Probably not, or they would have been REALLY scared. Let's say I can really give the devil a run for his money :D

    Gosh, I'm going to have to do a post about this... :D

  3. hehehe! great stories, Cara! I had so much fun reading this...:D- I think it's funny to see people scared of you sometimes...;*