Worries Struggling with American Muslim Women by Samer Hathout

Worries Struggling with American Muslim Women By Samer Hathout

Posted by Hasan A. Yahya, Professor of Sociology
It is not often you come across a balanced report deals with Muslim women in United states in terms of race relation or assimilation theories, even so, I wrote various article content about women on articlesbase, to exhibit relationship styles, 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 existence. I also contributed in youtube lately rebottling some Orientals’ views on Mohammad  and his marriages. I located this expert report speaks my terms. So I picked to give the prospect to greatly enhance finding out and knowing.

Muslim women in The united states usually deal with discrimination from their own Muslim neighborhood. Discrimination by Muslims mainly benefits from ignorance about Islam and the importation of cultural attitudes that demean women. Islam is usually interpreted in strategies that are sexist and not correct to the correct teachings of equality in the Quran and the model provided by Prophet Muhammad . Samer Hathout is a youthful Muslim sociologist who recognized Islam and Social theories in terms of race relations and the posture of minority groups in developing as well as in state-of-the-art international locations. I will leave the audience here to browse her excellent report with smart insights which I consider will shed lights on Islam and  Muslims in typical and Muslim female in unique. I share with her the very same feelings, and we are both of those on the very same riverside in terms of the require to fully grasp ahead of judging wrongly Muslim women. This article content comes although in France, a female covered her head with a scarf, was questioned in the French Parliament and accused to break the policies of the constitution, which was created hundreds of a long time for adult men who employed to deal with their heads with hats. Misunderstanding of Muslim legacy in using Hijab needs much more article content to make knowing achievable among the cultures. In fact in my e-book: Crescentology, Theory C. of Conflict Administration and Cultural Normalization, (2008) I emphasised know-how is the standard component of my Theory, in which knowing follows, then appreciation then compromising and living in peace. This report (even considered introduced in September 7, 1995 in an international convention convened in China), it is nevertheless applicable for these days following the shooting by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, which occurred to be an American Arab Muslim ) I consider it is a person of the cornerstones for Understanding and knowing. The article  was originally printed at: http://www.islamfortoday.com/americanmuslimwomen.htm   (Hasan A. Yahya)

The report by Samer Hathout  
I am heading to talk about the difficulties struggling with American Muslim women. As a minority in the United States, Muslims deal with many difficulties. First and foremost is ignorance about Islam. This ignorance qualified prospects to stereotyping, panic, and distrust. The acts 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 as a result effortless prey for prejudice. For instance, past April, the federal making in Oklahoma City was bombed. It is probably the most devastating terrorist act to occur on U.S. soil. A handful of hundred people today ended up killed, various hundred ended up hurt. It was notably brutal because there was a working day treatment center on a person of the base flooring of this making. As before long as the report of the bombing arrived out, the to start with suspects ended up Muslims. As before long as the making was bombed, news stories explained: “Arab wanting people today ended up seen leaving the location.” In essence, for the upcoming twenty-4 several hours, we confronted harassment, we ended up threatened, and our life ended up really much put in risk. Muslim universities had to be closed, and particular person Muslims ended up detained and harassed, even physically assaulted. It was not till the upcoming working day, when it turned out to be a fringe minority white group of people today who had performed it, could we form of breathe a sigh of reduction that our life ended up not in risk, and last but not least we ended up ready to mourn the victims of that bombing. An additional risk resulting from American ignorance about Islam is the omnibus anti-terrorism laws that President Clinton has proposed, which unfairly targets Muslims as prevalent purveyors of terrorism.

Regardless of various generations in this country–, Muslims have fairly a heritage in the U.S.–we are nevertheless perceived as foreigners we are nevertheless perceived as people today out to damage the United States, and when we try to outline ourselves, our voices are silenced. When mainstream Muslims are provided the uncommon prospect to clarify Islam, we are instructed that we, as average Muslims, are the minority, and that most Muslims are essentially violent extremists. This image of Muslims as violent extremists is perpetuated by the media which chooses to report mainly adverse photos of Islam and Muslims. This image is more intensified by the profound ignorance of the typical American about Muslims and Islam. This ignorance, sadly commences at a really early age–in universities, the textbooks are biased, and have a lot of erroneous facts. And, as all minorities need to do, American Muslims need to battle to make sure that our civil liberties are not trampled on. Our achievements in becoming counted as part of the American pluralism, although maintaining our identification as Muslims, are usually rebuffed and misunderstood. We are instructed, by some Muslims and non-Muslims, that we need to opt for between becoming Muslims and becoming Us residents. Between Muslims–who selection from each individual lifestyle on earth, as we have seen in this convention–American lifestyle is unfairly perceived as inherently anti-Islamic, and small try is created to fully grasp and take Muslims of the American lifestyle alongside Muslims of Arab, Asian, African, or any other ethnicity. Between non-Muslims, because the U.S. was started on the foundation of the separation of church and point out, the existence of any spiritual group in the political arena is seen with suspicion. As Muslims, we carry that stress, but we also carry the additional stress of ignorance about Islam. Our continuing striving to outline ourselves as American Muslims is in fact a really difficult jihad.

Muslim Women in The united states

As women in the United States, we usually deal with gender-based mostly discrimination. When this discrimination could not be as overt as in other areas of the planet, or could just take diverse sorts, it does exist in The united states nevertheless. Women usually can’t achieve their optimum prospective in career or schooling and the media regularly depicts women as intercourse objects and nothing much more. American women’s salaries are nevertheless, dollar-for-dollar, fewer than the corresponding salaries for their male counterparts. Women who do get the job done to get paid a living nevertheless have primary accountability for getting treatment of the dwelling and relatives with small domestic assistance from their husbands. Women in positions of affect in the United States are handful of and far between. Not long ago we have had setbacks in affirmative action, and that will only make our struggles for equality much more critical.

American Muslim women deal with many exceptional additional hurdles. We are discriminated versus by both of those non-Muslims and Muslims in The united states. For instance, a female who wears hijab, which is the common head-masking, is usually taunted at get the job done and on the avenue, and the careers of a lot of these women are essentially jeopardized–they are discriminated versus at get the job done and they are not provided careers. And, women who dress in hijab in the United States are evident targets–they are of course Muslims, and because of this they bear the brunt of the ignorance about Islam they deal with sexual harassment, and usually their real physical basic safety is jeopardized.

Muslims appear from diverse backgrounds. In The united states, we have immigrant Muslims, who deal with a complete host of challenges this kind of as xenophobia. In the U.S. in new times, there has been a rising hostility towards immigrants, and they are usually erroneously blamed for all of the socio-economic challenges that we deal with in the U.S., and are harassed because of that. And we have a big African-American Muslim population, and they deal with additional hurdles, because becoming part of a racial minority in the United States, they have had to offer with the challenges of racism, discrimination, segregation and the vestiges of slavery. To that, add spiritual discrimination and gender discrimination, and these are some of the difficulties that are generally confronted.

But in addition, Muslim women usually deal with discrimination from their own Muslim neighborhood. Discrimination by Muslims mainly benefits from ignorance about Islam and the importation of cultural attitudes that demean women. Islam is usually interpreted in strategies that are sexist and not correct to the correct teachings of equality in the Quran and the model provided by Prophet Muhammad, could God’s peace and blessings be on him. Quran and hadith (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad) are taken out of context and employed to justify selected behavior.

Because Muslims are a minority in the United States trying to portray a favourable image of Islam, the correct image of the teachings of Islam, Muslims in The united states are usually unwilling to address the challenges confronted by Muslim women for panic that the enemies of Islam will use this facts versus us. But the ironic part is, that anyone understands the challenges we deal with, and anyone understands that we are the only people today not addressing them. And sadly the media is quick to tell us and other people of the much more really serious sorts of abuse or discrimination that Muslim women come across. And what we hope to achieve in this presentation is to understand some of the challenges that we as American Muslim women deal with, and give voice to our sisters who have endured wrongly in the name of Islam. Asifa later will take a look at possibilities that we as Us residents have to try to address these difficulties.

Circumstance Research

Some of the most really serious challenges that we American Muslim women deal with consist of: domestic violence, abuse of divorce and boy or girl custody regulations, abuse of the polygamy process, and isolation and exclusion from numerous features of Muslim existence. We are heading to offer a handful of anecdotal conditions simply to illustrate the depth of the challenges. We have provided the women in the tales names to make it much more personable, but their identities have been changed and their confidentiality is shielded. The tales are shared simply to illustrate and give existence to the certain struggling of American Muslim women these days. These are correct tales, these are serious women who have endured. These tales ended up compiled by talking with Muslim neighborhood leaders, social employees, psychologists, lawyers, medical doctors, primarily in southern California, but through the United States. We also obtained facts from a point called Sistersnet, which is an E-mail community of Muslim women through the United States and other international locations. But sadly, there is no database, there is no accurate facts that exists as to the frequency of any of these abuses that occur. Even more investigate of these difficulties is desperately necessary so that we can sufficiently address these challenges. And, although these conditions could not be seasoned by a majority of American Muslim women, they are nevertheless really serious difficulties that need to be addressed.

Now, the story of Mariam is as follows.


Mariam obtained married to a man named Ali. They ended up married for various a long time. Through this relationship, Ali abused Mariam. His abuse was verbal and physical. Mariam was usually crushed by her husband. When Mariam did try to converse with her nearby Muslim neighborhood chief, she was created to really feel that the abuse was her fault: if she was a better wife, Ali would not have to beat her. She was also instructed not to talk about her marital challenges with other people today, and that it was critical for her to stay married at all charges to maintain the relatives. And, Ali would quotation the Quran and hadith to justify his abuse. And so Mariam becoming instructed by her nearby Muslim chief that the abuse was justified, she had Quran and hadith quoted in her deal with to justify it, she considered it was justified. She was abused for a long time. And last but not least, she couldn’t stand it any much more. She feared for her existence, she still left. She still left her dwelling, she still left her husband, and sought refuge in a nearby (non-Muslim) battered women’s shelter, and there she obtained the aid that she necessary to put her existence back together. Ali was convicted in U.S. court for spousal battery. When Mariam, appeared at Muslim features, she was shunned the Muslim neighborhood needed nothing to do with her. She was seen as a female who had still left her husband for no motive. Ali, on the other hand, when he went to Muslim features, was seen as the target of a broken relationship, as a target of the U.S. criminal justice process. He was greeted by the Muslim neighborhood with open up arms. Mariam located no assistance from the Muslim neighborhood. She ongoing to go to non-Muslim businesses for assistance, and she last but not least stopped attending Muslim features.

Mariam’s story, sadly, is not an uncommon a person in the United States. Victims of domestic violence have small assistance from the Muslim neighborhood, and the assistance they do obtain, although well-intentioned, is usually unorganized and ineffectual. The life of domestic violence victims are usually in risk, and their only recourse is to convert to non-Muslim corporations who are well prepared to offer with this challenge–which is also a urgent challenge in the larger American society as well. So we deal with difficulties of domestic violence. The story of Khadija and Fatima reveals the abuse of the polygamy process in Islam.

Khadija and Fatima

Khadija married Omar under the regulations of the United States and the point out in which he lived, and under Islamic legislation. Omar later took a 2nd wife, Fatima. But, Omar and Fatima could not get married under U.S. legislation because he was presently married to Khadija, and polygamy is illegal in the United States. So, Omar married Fatima under a–supposed–Islamic tradition which involves simply a relationship proposal and an acceptance of that proposal in entrance of witnesses. Fatima, the 2nd wife, who was a transform to Islam, discovered Islam primarily from Omar and he persuaded her that they did not require to be married under U.S. legislation–Islam would sufficiently safeguard her legal rights. And although this is correct in the theoretical perception, in the United States, we have no framework to enforce that.

Omar had small children by both of those of his wives–his to start with wife Khadija and his 2nd wife Fatima. Each marriages failed. Khadija and Omar–the to start with relationship–divorced. Omar refused to fork out any assistance to Khadija or their small children by that relationship. But Khadija could just take Omar to U.S. court and get boy or girl assistance and alimony. Now, Omar was obligated under Islamic legislation to do these things, but he refused, and as a spiritual minority in the U.S., not living in an Islamic point out, Khadija had no recourse other than the regulations of the U.S. But, luckily, Khadija was married to Omar under U.S. legislation and could just take him to court.

Fatima, on the other hand–when Fatima and Omar divorced–couldn’t do that, because she was not lawfully married in the eyes of the U.S. courts. So, Omar shirked his obligations under Islamic legislation–did not give her everything, did not give their small children everything, even though he had assured her, ahead of the relationship, that he would. And Fatima couldn’t do everything under U.S. regulations because they weren’t lawfully married. Fatima was ready to get no economical assistance from Omar because there was no authorized institution persuasive Omar to comply with Islamic legislation.

And upcoming is the story of Iman. When the condition is not as physically or economically really serious, it nevertheless is exceptionally emotionally hazardous, and it’s really typical.


Iman is a university scholar. She is really lively in her scholar government on campus. She has fashioned coalitions with other scholar groups and they do reduction get the job done for Bosnia, Palestine, Chechnya, and other causes. She is on the scholar senate at her university, following becoming elected to it. She wishes to arrange very similar reduction efforts in her mosque, in her nearby Muslim neighborhood and in other mosques in the location so that she can arrive at the larger Muslim population. She wishes to write-up flyers and facts on the walls in her mosque. But she simply cannot get to the men’s segment. She can only distribute the facts to women, many of whom really do not appear to this mosque, because the services are fewer than satisfactory or appealing. Iman does not have a brother, father, or husband to access the men’s side for her when she needs to get facts to the Muslims. On celebration, she has approached adult men to request them to help her. A lot of of them ignore her and leave, but on celebration, she has had adult men help her to write-up flyers and this kind of facts on the walls. But, it’s complicated, because the upcoming time she goes, she simply cannot come across the very same man, and she has to go by the very same point once more and once more, and she gets genuinely disappointed.

She simply cannot make any bulletins at the mosque about the get the job done that she’s carrying out. She wishes to make an announcement following the Friday prayer, but she is instructed she simply cannot because she is a female. She is finding fed up and she wishes to make a adjust. Elections at this mosque appear up, and she wishes to operate for the board because it’s a good way to get associated and to make adjustments. But she is instructed she can’t operate for the board because she is a female. But she is instructed she can be a part of the women’s committee and arrange Eid carnivals for the small children and get ready iftar (break-rapidly) throughout Ramadan. Iman, of system, is exceptionally disappointed. She is an activist. She has get the job done that she is carrying out. So she stops heading to the mosque because she understands that she can do much more by the non-Muslim human legal rights groups at her university.

As revealed by Iman’s story, Muslim American women are often excluded from leadership positions in our mosques and in our Islamic centers. We are allowed to participate only in selected areas — making ready lunches, organizing Eid festivities, and functions of that form. Women are absent from academic or religious roles, unless of course they are teaching other women or small children. Women with Islamic know-how and experience are not allowed to clarify the Quran to the congregation nor give lessons in Shariah. Gender segregation is imposed in most American mosques and benefits in unfair and unequal access to space and services. Women are usually put in areas with very poor sound devices, or none at all, or noisy makeshift childcare areas. They are stuck in back rooms upcoming to the loos, and where ever they are put–even if it’s a good facility–they nevertheless simply cannot interact with the speaker and request questions and have their voices listened to. American Muslim women are not just excluded from leadership positions in our communities, but also even excluded from mosques entirely. This exclusion can be overt in which we are instructed “you can’t go to the mosque, this is a men’s mosque,” or it can be subtle, in which the services provided are so insufficient and the treatment method we obtain is so horrendous that no reasonable female is heading to go back. All of this exclusion has no foundation in the teachings of Islam. It benefits from lifestyle and tradition.

And Muslim women also offer with other challenges, many of which are culturally or ethnically based mostly and not exceptional to Islam. There has been so much cultural baggage that has appear to the U.S. with the numerous waves of Muslims. And some of these other challenges are not exceptional to Muslims, this kind of as: the typical devaluation of women–we are just seen as “not as great” as adult men, a desire for sons over daughters, women as a resource of honor–and for that reason shame–in the relatives, so we carry this horrendous stress of relatives honor, early relationship which usually benefits in early pregnancy and typically an conclude to a woman’s academic possibilities, double standards which usually end result in unequal access to schooling–greater schooling particularly, because women are not allowed to leave their homes or to travel really far to go to universities.

These abuses that I have pointed out are simply a handful of of these endured by Muslim women in The united states. The abuses range in diploma and type. Once more, we increase these difficulties not because we detest Islam, not because we detest Muslims, but because we–as Muslims–require to offer with the challenges. It is not plenty of to say that Islam is a good religion. We require to prove it with our actions.

It is increasingly typical to see Muslims in the United States–women and adult men–leave Islam in rising figures because of the treatment method of women. They see Muslims as providing no solutions to these challenges and they see Muslims denying that these challenges exist, and following awhile it simply results in being unbearable. As Muslims it our obligation to fight versus each individual type of oppression, regardless of what type it takes, by regardless of what signifies we can, and we can’t fight oppression if we do not admit that it exists.

This address by Samer Hathout was delivered at a workshop arranged by the Muslim Women’s League And Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights at the NGO Discussion board, United Nations Fourth Entire world Conference on Women Huairou, China, September 7, 1995

Samer Hathout obtained her bachelor’s diploma from UCLA in sociology, and then examined legislation at the College of Southern California. She has been really associated and served in the Hail Moot Court Honor’s Program, and obtained honorable mention at that program. She has also obtained the Miller Johnson Equivalent Justice Award. She has created two trips with the Muslim Women’s League to Croatia to look into the standing of Bosnian refugees, notably women war refugees, and she interned at the De Paul College Global Human Rights Legislation Institute in which she compiled data on concentration camps to be employed by the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Samer has worked as a disaster counselor on a rape hotline. She was the founding president of the Muslim Women’s League, for which she is an lively member suitable now, and is the Vice-Chairperson of the Muslim General public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. At the moment she will work as a criminal prosecutor in Los Angeles.(3703 terms) www.askdryahya.com