Western Women #1 Converts to Islam


Salaam
#1
Sara Graziano's father was a lapsed Catholic, her mother an active Pentecostal, and she was confused. So at 14, she dragged herself to the library and began reading about Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam.

She found herself drawn to Islam. This year, she recited one sentence - "I believe there is no god but God and that Mohammed is a messenger of God" - and became a Muslim.

"Christianity seemed like going to church once a week and trying to be a good person, but Islam is a complete way of life," she said.

Ms Graziano, a university student, is part of a growing number of women embracing Islam. In one mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, they outnumber new Muslim men by as much as two to one.

That trend runs counter to the national picture. A recent survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that two-thirds of new Muslims in the United States were male.

Women turning to Islam are aware that many cannot understand why any Western woman would choose a religion often depicted as oppressive of women.

But they insist that depiction is a false image perpetuated by the media, and that in fact Islam is more forward-thinking about gender than many Western traditions. As evidence, they note that Islam allowed women to own property and vote long before Western cultures.

In modelling a more egalitarian form of Islamic culture in the US than in some parts of the world, these women also say they may influence Muslims worldwide.

"Unfortunately, the way Islam is practised currently in some countries is not ideal," said Christina Safiya Tobias-Nahi, 30, who became Muslim six years ago.

"A lot of countries are looking to see how we practise it here, and we have the potential to be a really strong role model for men and women in other countries."

These new Muslim women generally choose to cover their hair with a scarf, or hijab, to follow Muslim dietary laws that include prohibitions on pork and alcohol, and to pray five times a day.

Many of their families are profoundly unhappy.

"When I got home ... my dad didn't want his other kids to see me in my hijab," Ms Graziano said. On the other hand, "It's liberating because people don't look at you and think about your figure and your hairstyle, and guys don't look at you and think about making a pass at you."

American Muslim women tend to view the subjugation of women in countries such as Afghanistan and Iran as aberrant examples of Islam.

They point to the fact that while no woman has been a serious contender for president of the US, Muslim women have led Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey and a Muslim woman is poised to become the next leader of Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world.

But there remain issues for women in Islam - as in every major world faith.

Some are critical of traditional Islamic inheritance laws, which give short shrift to women, and some baulk at traditional Islamic dress, which requires women to cover their hair and wear loose, enveloping garments.

Women in Islam can not lead men in prayer - a restriction similar to the ban on female clergy in Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Judaism and Mormonism. And in mosques, as in most Orthodox synagogues, women are separated from men during prayer, usually at the back of the mosque.

Some Muslims have expressed concern that many mosques and Muslim advocacy groups have been slow to allow women to assume positions of leadership.

"There is an intellectual revolution taking place, as women are raising their voices and pointing to the Koran and demanding their rights," said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

"Our admonishment is that ... all barriers against women participating in organisations should be removed, because that participation is their God-given right."

Women who become Muslim in the US offer a variety of explanations. Many American women encounter Islam by meeting, and often dating, a Muslim man.

Some are drawn to the spiritual mysticism of Islam, while others are attracted to the conservative family values and structure of Islam, according to Marcia Hermansen, a Muslim theologian at Loyola University in Chicago.

"In the new millennium, conversion seems to be hip," she said.

http://www.islamfortoday.com/americanmuslimwomen03.htm

If Islam is so bad for Women then why would Western women want to join the religion of Islam?

I like what the women who converted say here

"But they insist that depiction is a false image perpetuated by the media, and that in fact Islam is more forward-thinking about gender than many Western traditions. As evidence, they note that Islam allowed women to own property and vote long before Western cultures.

In modelling a more egalitarian form of Islamic culture in the US than in some parts of the world, these women also say they may influence Muslims worldwide.

"Unfortunately, the way Islam is practised currently in some countries is not ideal," said Christina Safiya Tobias-Nahi, 30, who became Muslim six years ago.

"A lot of countries are looking to see how we practise it here, and we have the potential to be a really strong role model for men and women in other countries."

These new Muslim women generally choose to cover their hair with a scarf, or hijab, to follow Muslim dietary laws that include prohibitions on pork and alcohol, and to pray five times a day.

Many of their families are profoundly unhappy.

"When I got home ... my dad didn't want his other kids to see me in my hijab," Ms Graziano said. On the other hand, "It's liberating because people don't look at you and think about your figure and your hairstyle, and guys don't look at you and think about making a pass at you."

American Muslim women tend to view the subjugation of women in countries such as Afghanistan and Iran as aberrant examples of Islam.

They point to the fact that while no woman has been a serious contender for president of the US, Muslim women have led Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey and a Muslim woman is poised to become the next leader of Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world."
 
Daz_Hockey
#2
if it's aberrant...then why do they convert?
 
gopher
No Party Affiliation
+1
#3  Top Rated Post
A few months ago I posted a couple of links which showed that this trend has gone for quite some time. This has been happening in the USA and in Europe and debunks the myth that Islam is suppressive towards women.
 
Toro
#4
Perhaps Islam is not suppressive towards women, but if we're taking shots at the "oppressive" west, let's not forget what some Muslims have done in the name of Islam

Woman raped for leaving Islam
http://jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/011966.php

PUNISHMENT FOR NON-MARITAL SEX IN ISLAM
http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_adul1.htm

For example

Quote:

Some examples of recent convictions under Sharia law:

1996-MAR: Afghanistan: Some strict interpretations of Islamic law calls for the death penalty for any woman found in the company of a man other than a close family member. Sexual activity is assumed to have happened. A woman, Jamila, was found guilty of trying to leave the country with such a man. She was caught and stoned to death on 1996-MAR-28. 1

1996-NOV: Afghanistan: Under the previous, Taliban, regime, a woman, Nurbibi, 40, and a man Turylai, 38, were stoned to death in a public assembly using palm-sized stones. They were found guilty of non-marital sex. Turylai was dead within ten minutes, but Nurbibi had to be finished off by dropping a large rock on her head. Mr. Wali, head of the Office for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prohibition of Vice expressed satisfaction with the execution: "...I am very happy, because it means that the rule of Islam is being implemented." These executions (as well as hand amputations for convicted thieves) are regarded as religious occasions and are not normally viewed by non-Muslims. 2

2000-FEB: United Arab Emirates: Kartini binti Karim, (a.k.a. Ms. Karteen Karikanderan), an unmarried citizen of Indonesia, was working as a housemaid in the United Arab Emirates when her pregnancy was detected. She and a man -- a citizen of India -- were charged with adultery. She was convicted; he fled the country before he could be arrested. She was placed on trial without a lawyer or a translator, "...alone and equipped with barely any word of the local language," . She was not told that she had a right to communicate with her embassy. Her embassy was not informed in advance of the trial. Under the UAE's form of Sharia, she was sentenced to death by stoning. The Indonesian government hired a lawyer and translator to appeal her case. 3 On APR-25, the appeals court reduced her sentence to one year in prison, followed by deportation.

2000-AUG: A woman, "Amina Abdullahi is sentenced to 100 lashes in the state of Zamfara for having premarital sex."

There are many more in that link

Afghan women under the tyranny of the fundamentalists

http://www.rawa.org/women.html

Etc., etc., etc.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by gopher

A few months ago I posted a couple of links which showed that this trend has gone for quite some time. This has been happening in the USA and in Europe and debunks the myth that Islam is suppressive towards women.

Are you out of your fecking mind!?

Last time I looked, Sharia called for the stoning of female fornicators, even when they had been RAPED.

The left just can't deal with the fact that their allies in hating western civilization might not be very nice.

Self-loathing is NOT attractive, Gopher.
 
Finder
#6
Islam was progressive 500 years ago.

I don't know you have to be either blind or stupid to see how unfairly women are treated in Islam. Yeah Women may have the raw end of the deal in almost any religion but that's no reason to modernize your religion with the social norms of the day.

You know what if a "western" women wishes to convert, fine whatever, just as fine as them joining the communist party, or perhaps joining a cult, whatever that's their personal choice which they have to live with and in which they chose. The fact is in most Islamic nations one you are either born Muslim or convert you are stuck with that choice or you can be punished or even killed in many of those nations. I think I will stick with our secular nation thank you.
 
gopher
No Party Affiliation
+1
#7
The bigoted Islamophobes and America haters coveniently overlook the fact that abuses occur everywhere. One such example follows:


http://www.aztlan.net/iraqi_women_raped.htm


I suppose these traitors will now say it is nothing more than a fluke.
 
gopher
No Party Affiliation
+1
#8
Bigoted Westerners can criticize Islamic society all they want. But the bottom line is Islamic women say that Islam LIBERATES women and this is why so many thousands of them have joined that religion. That's their business, not yours.
 
Zzarchov
#9
I'd like to point how retarded people are who are pointing out middle-east attrocities commited in the name of Islam.

The Middle-East is still in the middle ages.

Now look at how middle ages Christendom treated women, it DOES make Islam progressive.

Christianity has not changed since then, merely the people practicing it and how they interperet it. The same is true for western muslims.
 
jimmoyer
#10
Bigoted Westerners can criticize Islamic society all they want. But the bottom line is Islamic women say that Islam LIBERATES women and this is why so many thousands of them have joined that religion. That's their business, not yours.
------------------------------------------gopher-------------------


Hmmm...
And we guys think we know women ???
 
tracy
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Zzarchov

Christianity has not changed since then, merely the people practicing it and how they interperet it. The same is true for western muslims.

I could not agree with you more on that. It isn't christianity that has made the status of women better in this country than in Afghanistan.

I can understand the appeal of Islam how it is practiced by modern muslim women in some countries. I do see a lot of anti-woman attitudes in our own society. I would obviously prefer to live in the west than in Iran or Afghanistan, but I don't see why we can't admit some things about Islam can be very liberating for women.
 
jimmoyer
#12
I would obviously prefer to live in the west than in Iran or Afghanistan, but I don't see why we can't admit some things about Islam can be very liberating for women.
-------------------------------------tracy------------------------

But the bottom line is Islamic women say that Islam LIBERATES women and this is why so many thousands of them have joined that religion.
--------------------------------gopher-----------------------------


Spell this out more clearly.

In what ways does Islam itself liberate women?

And in what ways does Islamic society liberate women ?
 
Toro
#13
Would Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Margaret Atwood et. al. be more happy in Iran?
 
Toro
#14
Would the females at CanCon?
 
Colpy
Conservative
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro

Would Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Margaret Atwood et. al. be more happy in Iran?

I don't know about them, but I'D be a lot happier if they were in Iran.........(did I say that out loud?)
 
Curiosity
#16
I nominate ....

Martha Stewart
Rosie O'Donnell
Paris Hilton
Katie Couric
Barbara Wawa
and the President of NOW whoever she is.

Send them first and see how they make out.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Wednesday's Child

I nominate ....

Martha Stewart
Rosie O'Donnell
Paris Hilton
Katie Couric
Barbara Wawa
and the President of NOW whoever she is.

Send them first and see how they make out.

DEAD ON, although, being a heterosexual male, I'd keep Paris Hilton, I'd just stuff a Burka in her mouth.

Oh, I am SO digging a hole here.

Oh yeah.....Iran is too good for Rosie O'Donnel.........or not bad enough they should be punished with her presence.

GOD, I can't stand that woman!
 
tracy
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by jimmoyer

Spell this out more clearly.

In what ways does Islam itself liberate women?

One way is the fact that women aren't as sexualized in Islam. I believe in women being sexual on their own terms, but when I see 12 year old girls dressing like Paris Hilton wannabees or talking about giving blow jobs, I don't think that's liberated. I think that's exploited. A certain amount of modesty and respect for one's body aren't bad things. I doubt they see many 14 year olds coming into labor and delivery with chlamydia and syphilis. It isn't unusual where I work at all.

I also think some Islamic societies respect motherhood and family more than our society does. Women here are almost expected to keep working when they have kids and they are extremely vulnerable to divorce. Absent fathers are fairly common. The easiest way to poverty is to be a single mother.
 
tracy
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Toro

Would the females at CanCon?

I think I already answered that. Right now I wouldn't be happier anywhere than I already am right here (I LOVE CALIFORNIA!!!!). That doesn't mean I can't see some nice things about other countries/religions.
 
Curiosity
#20
Colpy

You are a manly man - no doubt about it - so dig away.

About keeping Paris - she is pretty to look at but five minutes of "conversation" with her might make most guys wanna go walk the dog! :P
 
jimmoyer
#21
One way is the fact that women aren't as sexualized in Islam.
---------------------------tracy--------------------------------------

Actually, I think the opposite is true.

Don't dare show blonde hair, or even your hair openly
to men there, because they are so easily tempted by
your temptress ways.

Also I would not define Islamic societal mores as the opposite
of Western culture. Much that is bad remains disguised and hidden.
And much of what men think about women over there goes unchallenged.
 
tracy
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by jimmoyer

One way is the fact that women aren't as sexualized in Islam.
---------------------------tracy--------------------------------------

Actually, I think the opposite is true.

Don't dare show blonde hair, or even your hair openly
to men there, because they are so easily tempted by
your temptress ways.

Also I would not define Islamic societal mores as the opposite
of Western culture. Much that is bad remains disguised and hidden.
And much of what men think about women over there goes unchallenged.

I think they are more fearful of women's sexuality in some ways, though most of the muslim women I know don't cover their hair. Lebanese and Turkish women may be a little more moderate in general, but they just dress modestly. Maybe Islamic societies attempt to protect women by insisting they downplay their sexuality in public. I don't know if that's worse than what we do to women and girls. We have some really conflicting ideas about women's sexuality and their bodies in this country in particular. Sex and the City was incredibly popular, Paris Hilton's sex tape not a big deal and women's bodies are basically treated simply as objects thanks to diets, anorexia, bullemia, plastic surgery, etc. But at the same time, politicians didn't want Plan B to be available to women because it could encourage them to be promiscuous and Janet's superbowl display was a scandal. I can't imagine raising a daughter around here.

I agree with your second paragraph and only add the same is true here.
 
jimmoyer
#23
You mean men's ideas about women
go unchallenged here ?
 
gopher
No Party Affiliation
+1
#24
Spell this out more clearly.
In what ways does Islam itself liberate women?
And in what ways does Islamic society liberate women ?





Read my quote again: Islamic women say Islam liberates women.

If you have a question as to why or how, you will need to direct your question to them. See this thread's initial post and see also my earlier posts which quoted from these women extensively for your answer.
 
tracy
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by jimmoyer

You mean men's ideas about women
go unchallenged here ?

I think a lot of them do, yes. I also notice it isn't just the men. You would be surprised at how many women I know who think women are naturally catty, passive, slutty, moody, etc.

For all our talk of equality, real equality has yet to materialize. Hopefully we're on the way, but we certainly aren't there yet IMO.
 
Curiosity
#26
Wow Tracy

I hope you are speaking for yourself - not all women.

I make no gender distinction if something is written on forums or spoken in person, with which I disagree. Women naturally have differing points of view than those which come from the male thought processes.

Compared with the happy burkha wearers, I would rather have all the freedoms western women enjoy along with their faults than having to experience the gory rituals of clitoridectomy and divorce by stoning to death thank you very much.
 
tracy
#27
I'm not speaking for anyone but myself and like I said, I wouldn't be in Afghanistan wearing a burkha. It is possible to be a muslim without a burkha or female genital mutilation or stonings, etc. Maybe some of you don't know moderate or modern muslim women like the ones I do.
 
Zzarchov
#28
I think many WOULD prefer to live in Iran, Even Afghanistan, than to a Christian Theocratic state.

The problem is the Theocratic State, not the religion its on.
 
LittleRunningGag
Free Thinker
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Zzarchov

The problem is the Theocratic State, not the religion its on.

I couldn't agree more.
 
jimmoyer
#30
I'm not speaking for anyone but myself and like I said, I wouldn't be in Afghanistan wearing a burkha. It is possible to be a muslim without a burkha or female genital mutilation or stonings, etc. Maybe some of you don't know moderate or modern muslim women like the ones I do.
--------------------------------------tracy-----------------------

You might find those muslim women here, especially
in Dearborn Michigan more often than you'd find
such behavior in the Middle East right now.
 

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