Worries Experiencing American Muslim Women by Samer Hathout

Worries Experiencing American Muslim Women By Samer Hathout

Posted by Hasan A. Yahya, Professor of Sociology
It is not often you locate a balanced article promotions with Muslim women in United states in phrases of race relation or assimilation theories, nonetheless, I wrote several content about women on articlesbase, to clearly show relationship designs, honor-killing, polygamy and poliginy and the Prophet wives defending Islam and Muslims to give new lights on Islamic legacy as a religion and way of everyday living. I also contributed in youtube just lately rebottling some Orientals’ views on Mohammad  and his marriages. I found this experienced article speaks my words. So I picked to give the probability to boost mastering and comprehending.

Muslim women in The united states often encounter discrimination from their individual Muslim local community. Discrimination by Muslims principally success from ignorance about Islam and the importation of cultural attitudes that demean women. Islam is often interpreted in means that are sexist and not legitimate to the legitimate teachings of equality in the Quran and the model provided by Prophet Muhammad . Samer Hathout is a younger Muslim sociologist who comprehended Islam and Social theories in phrases of race relations and the posture of minority groups in acquiring as perfectly as in superior nations. I will leave the readers listed here to browse her fantastic article with intelligent insights which I think will get rid of lights on Islam and  Muslims in normal and Muslim woman in certain. I share with her the identical thoughts, and we are the two on the identical riverside in phrases of the require to understand right before judging wrongly Muslim women. This content arrives when in France, a woman covered her head with a scarf, was questioned in the French Parliament and accused to split the policies of the constitution, which was manufactured hundreds of several years for males who employed to protect their heads with hats. Misunderstanding of Muslim legacy in employing Hijab desires a lot more content to make comprehending attainable between cultures. In actuality in my ebook: Crescentology, Principle C. of Conflict Management and Cultural Normalization, (2008) I emphasized know-how is the simple ingredient of my Principle, where comprehending follows, then appreciation then compromising and residing in peace. This article (even considered presented in September seven, 1995 in an international convention convened in China), it is nonetheless pertinent for now immediately after the shooting by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, which transpired to be an American Arab Muslim ) I think it is one of the cornerstones for Know-how and comprehending. The article  was at first released at: http://www.islamfortoday.com/americanmuslimwomen.htm   (Hasan A. Yahya)

The article by Samer Hathout  
I am heading to focus on the worries experiencing American Muslim women. As a minority in the United States, Muslims encounter a lot of worries. First and foremost is ignorance about Islam. This ignorance leads to stereotyping, concern, and distrust. The functions of a handful of Muslim extremists are attributed to all Muslims. Muslim American citizens’ loyalty to the United States is questioned. We are dehumanized and consequently quick prey for prejudice. For occasion, final April, the federal making in Oklahoma Metropolis was bombed. It is almost certainly the most devastating terrorist act to manifest on U.S. soil. A handful of hundred persons were killed, several hundred were injured. It was specifically brutal because there was a working day care centre on one of the bottom floors of this making. As shortly as the report of the bombing came out, the to start with suspects were Muslims. As shortly as the making was bombed, information reviews claimed: “Arab hunting persons were witnessed leaving the region.” Basically, for the subsequent 20-4 hours, we faced harassment, we were threatened, and our life were really significantly set in hazard. Muslim faculties experienced to be closed, and specific Muslims were detained and harassed, even bodily assaulted. It wasn’t till the subsequent working day, when it turned out to be a fringe minority white team of persons who experienced done it, could we type of breathe a sigh of relief that our life were not in hazard, and lastly we were in a position to mourn the victims of that bombing. An additional hazard resulting from American ignorance about Islam is the omnibus anti-terrorism legislation that President Clinton has proposed, which unfairly targets Muslims as common purveyors of terrorism.

Despite several generations in this region–, Muslims have pretty a record in the U.S.–we are nonetheless perceived as foreigners we are nonetheless perceived as persons out to destroy the United States, and when we endeavor to define ourselves, our voices are silenced. When mainstream Muslims are offered the rare option to clarify Islam, we are told that we, as average Muslims, are the minority, and that most Muslims are really violent extremists. This image of Muslims as violent extremists is perpetuated by the media which chooses to report principally damaging visuals of Islam and Muslims. This image is even further intensified by the profound ignorance of the typical American about Muslims and Islam. This ignorance, regrettably begins at a really early age–in faculties, the textbooks are biased, and have a great deal of erroneous info. And, as all minorities ought to do, American Muslims ought to struggle to make sure that our civil liberties are not trampled upon. Our achievements in getting counted as section of the American pluralism, when retaining our identity as Muslims, are often rebuffed and misunderstood. We are told, by some Muslims and non-Muslims, that we ought to pick amongst getting Muslims and getting People. Among Muslims–who range from every society on earth, as we’ve witnessed in this convention–American society is unfairly perceived as inherently anti-Islamic, and very little endeavor is manufactured to understand and take Muslims of the American society along with Muslims of Arab, Asian, African, or any other ethnicity. Among non-Muslims, because the U.S. was started on the basis of the separation of church and point out, the presence of any religious team in the political arena is considered with suspicion. As Muslims, we carry that burden, but we also carry the additional burden of ignorance about Islam. Our continuing striving to define ourselves as American Muslims is in actuality a really challenging jihad.

Muslim Women in The united states

As women in the United States, we often encounter gender-dependent discrimination. When this discrimination may perhaps not be as overt as in other parts of the world, or may perhaps get diverse kinds, it does exist in The united states nevertheless. Women often can’t achieve their maximum opportunity in career or schooling and the media continually depicts women as sexual intercourse objects and absolutely nothing a lot more. American women’s salaries are nonetheless, greenback-for-greenback, significantly less than the corresponding salaries for their male counterparts. Women who do get the job done to generate a residing nonetheless have primary responsibility for using care of the home and household with very little domestic help from their husbands. Women in positions of affect in the United States are handful of and far amongst. Not long ago we have experienced setbacks in affirmative motion, and that will only make our struggles for equality a lot more crucial.

American Muslim women encounter a lot of unique additional hurdles. We are discriminated towards by the two non-Muslims and Muslims in The united states. For occasion, a woman who wears hijab, which is the traditional head-covering, is often taunted at get the job done and on the road, and the occupations of a great deal of these women are really jeopardized–they are discriminated towards at get the job done and they are not offered careers. And, women who have on hijab in the United States are evident targets–they are clearly Muslims, and because of this they bear the brunt of the ignorance about Islam they encounter sexual harassment, and often their actual bodily security is jeopardized.

Muslims arrive from diverse backgrounds. In The united states, we have immigrant Muslims, who encounter a entire host of troubles this kind of as xenophobia. In the U.S. in new periods, there has been a escalating hostility towards immigrants, and they are often erroneously blamed for all of the socio-economic troubles that we encounter in the U.S., and are harassed because of that. And we have a huge African-American Muslim inhabitants, and they encounter additional hurdles, because getting section of a racial minority in the United States, they have experienced to offer with the troubles of racism, discrimination, segregation and the vestiges of slavery. To that, incorporate religious discrimination and gender discrimination, and these are some of the worries that are typically faced.

But in addition, Muslim women often encounter discrimination from their individual Muslim local community. Discrimination by Muslims principally success from ignorance about Islam and the importation of cultural attitudes that demean women. Islam is often interpreted in means that are sexist and not legitimate to the legitimate teachings of equality in the Quran and the model provided by Prophet Muhammad, may perhaps God’s peace and blessings be upon him. Quran and hadith (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad) are taken out of context and employed to justify sure behavior.

Because Muslims are a minority in the United States making an attempt to portray a positive image of Islam, the legitimate image of the teachings of Islam, Muslims in The united states are often reluctant to handle the troubles faced by Muslim women for concern that the enemies of Islam will use this info towards us. But the ironic section is, that all people is aware of the troubles we encounter, and all people is aware of that we are the only persons not addressing them. And regrettably the media is speedy to tell us and many others of the a lot more significant kinds of abuse or discrimination that Muslim women come upon. And what we hope to achieve in this presentation is to recognize some of the troubles that we as American Muslim women encounter, and give voice to our sisters who have experienced wrongly in the name of Islam. Asifa afterwards will investigate alternatives that we as People have to endeavor to handle these concerns.

Scenario Research

Some of the most significant troubles that we American Muslim women encounter include: domestic violence, abuse of divorce and youngster custody rules, abuse of the polygamy program, and isolation and exclusion from various areas of Muslim everyday living. We are heading to deliver a handful of anecdotal situations only to illustrate the depth of the troubles. We have offered the women in the tales names to make it a lot more personable, but their identities have been transformed and their confidentiality is shielded. The tales are shared only to illustrate and give everyday living to the certain struggling of American Muslim women now. These are legitimate tales, these are actual women who have experienced. These tales were compiled by talking with Muslim local community leaders, social personnel, psychologists, lawyers, medical professionals, primarily in southern California, but through the United States. We also attained info from a issue named Sistersnet, which is an E-mail community of Muslim women through the United States and other nations. But regrettably, there is no database, there is no precise info that exists as to the frequency of any of these abuses that manifest. More analysis of these concerns is desperately desired so that we can sufficiently handle these troubles. And, when these situations may perhaps not be knowledgeable by a majority of American Muslim women, they are nevertheless significant concerns that ought to be resolved.

Now, the story of Mariam is as follows.


Mariam got married to a gentleman named Ali. They were married for several several years. All over this relationship, Ali abused Mariam. His abuse was verbal and bodily. Mariam was often beaten by her spouse. When Mariam did endeavor to discuss with her regional Muslim local community leader, she was manufactured to experience that the abuse was her fault: if she was a greater spouse, Ali would not have to beat her. She was also told not to focus on her marital troubles with other persons, and that it was crucial for her to keep married at all expenditures to protect the household. And, Ali would quotation the Quran and hadith to justify his abuse. And so Mariam getting told by her regional Muslim leader that the abuse was justified, she experienced Quran and hadith quoted in her encounter to justify it, she considered it was justified. She was abused for several years. And lastly, she could not stand it any a lot more. She feared for her everyday living, she still left. She still left her home, she still left her spouse, and sought refuge in a regional (non-Muslim) battered women’s shelter, and there she acquired the help that she desired to set her everyday living back again collectively. Ali was convicted in U.S. court docket for spousal battery. When Mariam, appeared at Muslim features, she was shunned the Muslim local community wanted absolutely nothing to do with her. She was considered as a woman who experienced still left her spouse for no reason. Ali, on the other hand, when he went to Muslim features, was considered as the victim of a damaged relationship, as a victim of the U.S. legal justice program. He was greeted by the Muslim local community with open arms. Mariam found no help from the Muslim local community. She continued to go to non-Muslim agencies for help, and she lastly stopped attending Muslim features.

Mariam’s story, regrettably, is not an unusual one in the United States. Victims of domestic violence have very little help from the Muslim local community, and the help they do get, when perfectly-intentioned, is often unorganized and ineffectual. The life of domestic violence victims are often in hazard, and their only recourse is to transform to non-Muslim companies who are ready to offer with this challenge–which is also a pressing challenge in the larger American culture as perfectly. So we encounter concerns of domestic violence. The story of Khadija and Fatima displays the abuse of the polygamy program in Islam.

Khadija and Fatima

Khadija married Omar under the rules of the United States and the point out in which he lived, and under Islamic regulation. Omar afterwards took a next spouse, Fatima. But, Omar and Fatima could not get married under U.S. regulation because he was currently married to Khadija, and polygamy is unlawful in the United States. So, Omar married Fatima under a–intended–Islamic tradition which consists of only a relationship proposal and an acceptance of that proposal in entrance of witnesses. Fatima, the next spouse, who was a transform to Islam, learned Islam primarily from Omar and he confident her that they did not require to be married under U.S. regulation–Islam would sufficiently shield her rights. And when this is legitimate in the theoretical perception, in the United States, we have no framework to enforce that.

Omar experienced kids by means of the two of his wives–his to start with spouse Khadija and his next spouse Fatima. Both of those marriages unsuccessful. Khadija and Omar–the to start with relationship–divorced. Omar refused to pay any help to Khadija or their kids by means of that relationship. But Khadija could get Omar to U.S. court docket and get youngster help and alimony. Now, Omar was obligated under Islamic regulation to do these points, but he refused, and as a religious minority in the U.S., not residing in an Islamic point out, Khadija experienced no recourse other than the rules of the U.S. But, fortunately, Khadija was married to Omar under U.S. regulation and could get him to court docket.

Fatima, on the other hand–when Fatima and Omar divorced–could not do that, because she was not legally married in the eyes of the U.S. courts. So, Omar shirked his tasks under Islamic regulation–did not give her anything at all, did not give their kids anything at all, even however he experienced certain her, right before the relationship, that he would. And Fatima could not do anything at all under U.S. rules because they weren’t legally married. Fatima was in a position to get no financial help from Omar because there was no legal establishment compelling Omar to comply with Islamic regulation.

And subsequent is the story of Iman. When the condition is not as bodily or economically significant, it nonetheless is particularly emotionally hazardous, and it is really widespread.


Iman is a university pupil. She is really energetic in her pupil authorities on campus. She has fashioned coalitions with other pupil groups and they do relief get the job done for Bosnia, Palestine, Chechnya, and other triggers. She is on the pupil senate at her university, immediately after getting elected to it. She desires to arrange similar relief efforts in her mosque, in her regional Muslim local community and in other mosques in the region so that she can get to the larger Muslim inhabitants. She desires to post flyers and info on the partitions in her mosque. But she just cannot get to the men’s portion. She can only distribute the info to women, a lot of of whom don’t arrive to this mosque, because the facilities are significantly less than satisfactory or appealing. Iman does not have a brother, father, or spouse to access the men’s aspect for her when she desires to get info to the Muslims. On celebration, she has approached males to request them to assistance her. Many of them ignore her and leave, but on celebration, she has experienced males assistance her to post flyers and this kind of info on the partitions. But, it is tough, because the subsequent time she goes, she just cannot locate the identical gentleman, and she has to go by means of the identical issue yet again and yet again, and she receives definitely frustrated.

She just cannot make any announcements at the mosque about the get the job done that she’s performing. She desires to make an announcement immediately after the Friday prayer, but she is told she just cannot because she is a woman. She is acquiring fed up and she desires to make a change. Elections at this mosque arrive up, and she desires to run for the board because it is a good way to get included and to make modifications. But she is told she can’t run for the board because she is a woman. But she is told she can be a part of the women’s committee and arrange Eid carnivals for the kids and prepare iftar (split-rapid) for the duration of Ramadan. Iman, of class, is particularly frustrated. She is an activist. She has get the job done that she is performing. So she stops heading to the mosque because she is aware of that she can do a lot more by means of the non-Muslim human rights groups at her university.

As demonstrated by Iman’s story, Muslim American women are on a regular basis excluded from leadership positions in our mosques and in our Islamic centers. We are authorized to participate only in sure areas — getting ready lunches, organizing Eid festivities, and activities of that type. Women are absent from instructional or religious roles, except they are instructing other women or kids. Women with Islamic know-how and abilities are not authorized to clarify the Quran to the congregation nor give lessons in Shariah. Gender segregation is imposed in most American mosques and success in unfair and unequal access to place and facilities. Women are often set in areas with very poor audio techniques, or none at all, or noisy makeshift childcare areas. They are trapped in back again rooms subsequent to the bogs, and anywhere they are set–even if it is a good facility–they nonetheless just cannot interact with the speaker and request thoughts and have their voices heard. American Muslim women are not just excluded from leadership positions in our communities, but also even excluded from mosques completely. This exclusion can be overt where we are told “you can’t go to the mosque, this is a men’s mosque,” or it can be refined, where the facilities provided are so inadequate and the treatment we get is so horrendous that no sensible woman is heading to go back again. All of this exclusion has no basis in the teachings of Islam. It success from society and tradition.

And Muslim women also offer with other troubles, a lot of of which are culturally or ethnically dependent and not unique to Islam. There has been so significantly cultural baggage that has arrive to the U.S. with the various waves of Muslims. And some of these other troubles are not unique to Muslims, this kind of as: the normal devaluation of women–we are just witnessed as “not as good” as males, a preference for sons above daughters, women as a source of honor–and therefore shame–in the household, so we carry this horrendous burden of household honor, early relationship which often success in early being pregnant and normally an finish to a woman’s instructional alternatives, double expectations which often result in unequal access to schooling–larger schooling in particular, because women are not authorized to leave their properties or to journey really far to go to universities.

These abuses that I have described are only a handful of of those people experienced by Muslim women in The united states. The abuses fluctuate in degree and variety. Once again, we increase these concerns not because we detest Islam, not because we detest Muslims, but because we–as Muslims–require to offer with the troubles. It is not ample to say that Islam is a good religion. We require to confirm it with our steps.

It is significantly widespread to see Muslims in the United States–women and males–leave Islam in escalating figures because of the treatment of women. They see Muslims as presenting no options to these troubles and they see Muslims denying that these troubles exist, and immediately after awhile it only gets to be unbearable. As Muslims it our duty to combat towards every variety of oppression, whichever variety it will take, by whichever means we can, and we can’t combat oppression if we do not accept that it exists.

This handle by Samer Hathout was shipped at a workshop organized by the Muslim Women’s League And Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights at the NGO Forum, United Nations Fourth Earth Conference on Women Huairou, China, September seven, 1995

Samer Hathout acquired her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in sociology, and then studied regulation at the College of Southern California. She has been really included and served in the Hail Moot Court Honor’s Software, and acquired honorable point out at that software. She has also acquired the Miller Johnson Equal Justice Award. She has manufactured two outings with the Muslim Women’s League to Croatia to look into the standing of Bosnian refugees, specifically women war refugees, and she interned at the De Paul College Global Human Rights Regulation Institute where she compiled details on focus camps to be employed by the war crimes tribunal for the previous Yugoslavia. Samer has labored as a crisis counselor on a rape hotline. She was the founding president of the Muslim Women’s League, for which she is an energetic member appropriate now, and is the Vice-Chairperson of the Muslim Community Affairs Council in Los Angeles. Now she operates as a legal prosecutor in Los Angeles.(3703 words) www.askdryahya.com