The Oppression Of Women In Islam Must End

The Oppression Of Women In Islam Must End

The story of a beautiful religion being disgustingly corrupted to favor oppressive men.

Since the beginning of time, there has been an established role of men and women in society; men the hunters, the bringers of the bounty if you will, and women the gatherers and the caretakers. Because we live in a constantly evolving world, there has been a significant change in these roles.

Many women have expanded out of the domestic sphere to become the main provider of their families, and men have adapted and have become the main caregivers. However, this idea only applies to modernized and “western” nations; in Islamic societies, women tend to be forced into stereotypically feminine roles, uneducated, as well as oppressed.

This subjugation of women in Islamic society is ironic because the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a feminist. Muhammad laid out the word of God, which simply said that women were equal to men, women were to be educated just like men, women were able to both own and inherit property just like men. Muhammad built Islam on exactly this doctrine of equality but it seems that current Islamic societies have reverted back to their 7th century Arabia state where women were treated similarly to property. Today, many Islamic societies oppress women using the very religion that was once used to promote equality among all.

Specifically, in war-torn Islamic nations, women tend to lack even the most basic human rights. For example, in a court of law, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s. Furthermore, if a woman were to be murdered the compensation for the family would be half that for the murder of a man. In Islam, women are permitted only one spouse; however, men may have up to 4 wives. In addition, the legal age for girls to marry is just nine years old, but boys are allowed only after the age of fourteen. As a result, pedophiles are able to exploit and subsequently leave young girls. These are only a few of the injustices women and girls face.

Here in the US, people (especially teenagers) relish in the freedom that is choosing what to wear without heavy restrictions; in most Islamic societies women lack this freedom. Women are more often than not required to wear headscarves outside of the house or in the presence of males with the exception of family members and husbands.

Although many people argue that it is the religion of Islam that requires this practice, this idea is easily disproven because the religion only calls for modesty, which can be respected with conservative clothing. Not only are women encouraged, if not required, to wear a headscarf, but they often are forbidden from indulging in stereotypically feminine acts, such as applying makeup or nail polish. This comes back to the idea of “protecting” the modesty of women. Traditionalists believe that women are more likely to bring shame to their families or end up getting hurt, i.e. raped, if they were to revel in these practices.

All over the world, women have a higher chance of experiencing domestic abuse than men do, and in the Middle East that rate is even higher. In December 2016, 40% of Israeli and Arab women aged 16-48 reported that they had experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV). Whether it be rape, physical, or emotional abuse, women in the Middle East have a higher chance of experiencing it.

For some time, women were powerful and had rights, but centuries later societies dominated by Islam manipulated the religion to favor men and silence women. What heightens the urgency of the situation is that most women in Middle Eastern nations are unwilling to admit that they have been abused by their spouses because it will further belittle women in the eyes of men. They tend to be prodded with invasive questions: what were you wearing, what were you doing, were you alone, why were you alone. Consequently, the abuse continues and so does the silence.

Not only are women kept muzzled, but they are also kept uneducated. One of the few ways the corrupt Islamic society is able to grow is through uneducated women. Because the women are uneducated, they often do not understand how their legal system works, and as a result cannot get help from outsiders, thus staying oppressed.

If women were ever to learn the true teachings of Muhammad’s Islam it would be considerably harder to squash women and keep them in the domestic sphere. Women would understand their true value and protest for their rights and privileges, thus destroying the hierarchy traditionalists have built for centuries.

For hundreds and thousands of years, women have lived under the burden of injustice that is caused by corrupt interpretation of Islamic teachings. Women have been abused, raped, and oppressed for so long that it is the only life they know; it is the teachings they pass on to their daughters: listen to the men in your life and you will not be punished. In this society, to be a woman is to be punished. If you are born female, you are nothing but a burden to your family - an idea that is planted in the heads of young girls from the day they learn to think or talk.

Oppression is not only widespread in Islamic societies but virtually in every one. Expensive birth control or abortion, the pay gap, maternity leave, rape culture, these are only a few ways women are controlled on a day to day basis. It is the job of women to join hands and fight the injustices they are subjected to.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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Attending An Islamic Convention (ICNA) Teaches All Americans What Islam Actually Is

What you see when you go to the ICNA convention in Atlanta, Georgia is the complete opposite of the radicalized Islam on TV.

The biggest problem politically nowadays (especially concerning Muslims and the general American public) is that people don't understand who Muslims are and what exactly they are like, especially in an American setting. To battle the ignorance, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) hosts a convention every year that aims to connect Muslims from all over southeast America with each other while also providing the American public with knowledge about Islam. That is, the real Islam and not the radicalized version of it that people see on T.V. all the time.

The ICNA convention this year took place in the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, from Dec. 23 to 25. Every year comes with a theme, and this year, the theme was lessons from Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. This theme coincides with the purpose of ICNA to educate everyone.

When you walk into the convention center, the first thing that you see is the registration table. They'll give you a badge and a program guide. This guide is the key to your ICNA experience. There are programs throughout the three-day convention, and all of them have something to do with the theme, and these programs are located all throughout the convention center. The most prominent programs of the convention are conducted by Young Muslim (YM), which is an organization that has its own hall for lectures on the ICNA convention floor.

For example, at one program entitled "Purifying Your Intentions," speaker Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan said, "Our intentions can either make us or break us so it is important that we constantly renew [them]." There are many sessions like this, with each discussing a small part of the theme and each focusing on it in-depth.

These programs are an essential part of helping American Muslims. When describing the convention, YM Atlanta team member Faryal Nizami said that it was important to have the ICNA convention because it "provided a safe Islamic environment for the whole family, under one roof, for education, socialization and entertainment." This highlights a simple fact about this convention: it is all-encompassing and is aimed to be well-rounded. ICNA's message can influence thousands and thousands of people, including me. This conference is a refreshing end to each year, and it often reminds me of my own personal goals and relationships in my life.

Programs are not the only aspect of this convention, however. A key part of the convention is the bazaar that is located in the heart of the convention center. Gleaming jewelry, rich and diverse dresses, and more can be found, along with a few stands full of food.

But the main point that stands is that the ICNA convention is just like any other secular convention – there is no discernible aspect of it that can be considered a concern for any member of the American public. There is nothing about the fact that it is an "Islamic" convention that makes it different or strange. Rather, it is a wonderful place to learn more about Islam and Muslims as how they really are.

So, if you're ever around Atlanta next Christmas weekend and you want somewhere to go, try visiting the ICNA convention!

Cover Image Credit: Sania Shaikh

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How To Bridge The Gap To Reach Muslims

Love conquers all fear.

Whether it be 9/11, ISIS or the countless terrorist attacks across the world in the past decade, some Americans have developed an Islamophobia towards Muslims without even realizing it. Hatred, fear or even dread may form in one’s heart as they encounter a Muslim at the grocery store, at work, school, or other public settings. Few can say they have the audacity to open a conversation with a Muslim. However, one would be surprised to find the bridges that can be made between two cultures, two people, when time is given to listen and understand.

This weekend I attended Crescent Project’s 2017 national conference in Apex, NC. Crescent Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to give every Muslim the opportunity to respond to the Gospel and become a follower of Christ. Through praying, equipping, and mobilizing believers to reach out to the Muslim community, the ministry of Crescent Project is incredibly powerful. As I listened to the founder, Fouad Masri, share his heart for sharing the love of Christ with Muslims l was encouraged to hear how the Lord is bringing Muslims into His kingdom.

One of Crescent Project’s goals in equipping believers, even Muslim converts, is through bridging the gap. What is it that bridges the gap between Muslims and Christians? The love of Christ. Muslims believe in God (Allah), but they believe they must earn the love of Allah by doing good works. When Christians show that Christ loves them just for who they are and not for what they do, it can change their life.

Yet, we often hold back from sharing the gracious love of Christ with the Muslim community. How are Muslims supposed to see transforming love when we are not engaging them through conversation? By seeking to build relationships with Muslims, the gap can be bridged.

Maybe you do not know any Muslims or do not live in an area where Muslims reside. Crescent Project connects Muslims who may live in closed countries to Americans through their Embassy resource. Embassy uses online resources, such as Skype, to appeal to Muslims. For example, Americans can sit from the comfort of their home and teach conversational English to a Muslim in the Middle East.

One of the most practical tools that I was equipped with this weekend is using the art of storytelling. While on Earth, Jesus taught through stories to communicate His truth. Christians can share the love and truth of the Gospel to Muslims without even opening a Bible. One of the speakers demonstrated this simple task by re-telling the story of Cornelius’ conversion from Acts 10. Choosing stories that relate to Muslims while weaving in the love of Christ speaks volumes.

One speaker shared that the top two reasons for Muslim conversion is by God’s powerful, authoritative Word and the testimony of Christians. Christians who believe that God’s love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) can intentionally build relationships with Muslims near and far by sharing Bible stories and their own life story of redemption. This bridges the gap for Muslims to come to a faith in the one true God and Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Of course, Christians must remember that is the Lord alone who brings salvation. We are to be obedient for sharing His love and truth to all people groups. Paul encourages believers in Galatians 6:9 that they should not grow weary in doing good for in due time, they will reap a harvest by not giving up.

I find hope in seeing Muslims come to know Christ by reflecting on the words of Habakkuk 1:5:

“Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

Cover Image Credit: Kowit Phothisan

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