This is worth a read...
“Over It” – The rant of an angry, Agnostic, British, Indo-Pakistani woman of Muslim heritage.
I am over Muslim communities from the same locality celebrating Eid on three different days because they believe that “sighting the moon” in Saudi Barbaria is more accurate than astronomical observatory data. I am over British employers feeling obliged to accommodate this nonsense by giving Muslims days off at short notice due to uncertainty relating to the date.
I am over conservative members of my community trying to impose religious teachings, practices and gender segregation in community gatherings, weddings etc and expecting women to cover their hair during a prayer that none of us asked them to perform.
I am over the complete ignorance by Muslims and non Muslims (particularly UK politicians and media) alike of the fact that “Muslim communities” contain non-religious, spiritual people like me, as well as Atheist people and Agnostic people.
I am over my community b*tching about “The Satanic Verses”, even though most of them have never read it. I am over my community issuing death threats to people who merely suggest that evolution might be reconcilable with the Muslim faith.
I am over UK politicians like Ken Livingstone kissing the arses of Islamist anti-human rights fundamentalists like Yusuf al Qaradawi and pretending to know what non religious cultural Muslims [like me] need and want from life in the UK.
I am over UK politicians thinking that they will find out what I want by speaking to only bearded self appointed “community leaders” who believe that a married woman can never be raped by her husband. I am over UK politicians thinking that headscarf donning women (defined purely by their modesty and “Muslimness”) or the Sayeeda Warsis of the world represent me. Their homophobia, misogyny and dishonesty is NOT something that I identify with. I am NOT defined singularly by the faith I was born into, nor am I represented by demagogues who wish to win support for their incompetent party leader.
I am over the BBC having a show called “The Big Questions” that invites people like Mehdi Hasan and Salma Yaqoob who bully anyone who disagrees with them with charges of “Islamophobia” instead of engaging in authentic dialogue. I am over people such these being incapable of entertaining the idea that not every single criticism of Islam equates to Islamophobic bigotry. I am over the presenters of this show (Nicky Campbell and sometimes Kaye Adams) pandering to traditionalists in an attempt to appear anti-racist when in fact what they’re doing, is implying that anyone with a different culture or religion has different minimum human rights to the rest of British citizenry. Nothing new for the BBC. It has perfected cultural relativism to a tee. I am over the BBC not being aware of the fact that when debating such intellectual topics as “Does Islam need PR”, they should NOT be placing people on opposing sides of the argument physically within inches of one another when they know that the anti-secular bullies get so aggressive and abusive during pretty much every show. I am over the fact that the BBC doesn’t understand how nauseating it is for a secularist to have to explain her arguments while sitting right next to a permanent victim such as Salma Yaqoob who gets offended at people as harmless as Gita Sahgal referring to Muslims as “they”. What other pronoun was she supposed to use?!
I am over being told that my views are Islamophobic, particularly when I come from a Muslim family, have a Muslim name and am profiled at the airport every time I fly because of it, regardless of the fact that I’m Agnostic.
I am over being told that my views are offensive. I’m offended by my community’s homophobia, misogyny and racism in Pakistan, the UK and elsewhere. This doesn’t mean that I have the right (or the inclination) to start burning symbols of remembrance, effigies or chanting “death to ______” or blowing stuff up. Yet people like ME are the ones being called “militant” secularists? When’s the last time a secularist burned effigies and blew stuff up? Secularists do not stunt critique by bursting into Mosques and telling DIY Imams to “Burn in hell! You’re offending me!”, even if we do desperately wish that they would stop spewing their hate.
I am over people not understanding that that secularism and atheism are not the same thing.
I am over converts to Islam like the Kristiane Backers, Yvonne Ridleys and Myriam Francois Cerrahs of the world patronising me and countless others by telling us that we have no right to be angry at our ex co-religionists. That WE are the “intolerant” ones. Painting pink fluffy pictures and telling us that what we see the majority of Muslims practicing is not “real Islam”. You may say that, but most Muslims would disagree with you I’m afraid. I am over these very same converts telling me that the misery I have seen people endure around me from childhood, thanks to Islamic dogma, the racism, homophobia and misogyny of Muslim communities in the UK and elsewhere along with the repeated moral cowardice is all a figment of my imagination. That my experiences count for nothing. I am over people who haven’t lived it, telling me how the hell I should feel.
I am over people from my community telling me that pseudo intellectual [medical doctor] hate preachers like “Dr.” Zakir Naik have anything to contribute to an understanding of theology and spirituality. It’s like taking your car to McDonalds when the brakes fail. I mean, get a clue.
I am over my community letting their sons go out until the early hours of the morning whilst refusing to extend the same privileges to daughters purely on the basis that they are female. I am over asking these parents why they do this and getting the response “because boys don’t get raped/pregnant”.
I am over my community teaching their children that their religion and culture is superior to all others, particularly when they know little or nothing but caricatures about any other culture or religion but their own.
I am over members of my community putting pre-pubescent girls in a hijab when they are not even old enough to understand or give consent to this. I am over the fact that so many parents don’t understand that they are sexually objectifying their own daughter since the intention of the hijab is predominantly to conceal the sexual attraction of women from men.
I am over community and family “honour” depending on the sexual behaviour of women as opposed to those who harm and murder women or fail to condemn the harm and murder of women. Women who just tried to claim their BASIC human rights.
I am over men and women in my community and from outside it, harping on about the “choice” to veil whilst simultaneously ignoring the plight of the women who have NO CHOICE but to veil in Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim majority countries. (Here is an excellent article by Karima Bennoune that puts things into context.)
I am over my community telling women to dress differently to prevent being raped instead of telling men NOT TO RAPE.
I am over members of my community thinking that they have the right to dictate whom their grown child marries. I am over such arranged, coerced or forced marriages disintegrating due to a number of factors including incompatibility and parents acting surprised that it didn’t work out.
I am over people insisting that their children only marry Muslims, or Pakistanis or Indians while simultaneously complaining about the religious discrimination or racism that they face in the UK. Time to look up “irony”.
I am over my community restricting the social interactions of daughters and then wondering why so many Muslim women are finding it difficult to find a life partner. I am totally over mothers telling their daughters “women have to compromise more”. You should just “settle”.
I am over my community forcing their children to conceal their social lives from them and then being disappointed and furious when they discover that their child has done totally normal, healthy things like hang out with platonic friends of both sexes, gone on a date or had a girlfriend, boyfriend or both.
I am over my community devaluing white women by calling them “loose” or “slutty”. I am over my community making sex something sinful, illicit, never to be spoken about and then being surprised when they hear of cases of the Pakistani rape gangs from Derby and from Telford abusing white British girls.
I am over people from my community assuming that everyone in their community is heterosexual, and abusing their child if he/she isn’t.
I am over members of my community being intensely shallow and putting more emphasis on marriage, money and appearance than any other aspects of their children’s lives.
I am over people being offended that my husband and I danced together at our own wedding. I am also over the fact that I was unable to kiss my wonderful husband on the lips on my wedding day for the same reason. Apparently love offends.
I am over abusive, patriarchal fathers in my community choosing careers and many other life options for their children against their will, whilst mothers stand by and facilitate the misery by saying nothing, or joining forces with their tyrannical husbands.
I am over my community performing the worst in education in Britain because of it’s unwillingness to entertain ideas or concepts that come from outside their tribe.
I am over the lack of reasoned, intellectual thought and unwillingness to propose solutions to problems that are rife within my community.
I am over my community’s unwillingness and complete failure to challenge extremism, consanguineous marriages, honour crimes and forced marriages.
I am over the people who maintain friendships with unfaithful, hyper-promiscuous married men while excommunicating women who divorce due to emotional abuse, adultery, domestic violence or for wanting to spend their life with someone who truly loves and respects them.
I am over the lack of moral courage and honesty in my community. The not speaking out when an injustice is done, the deafening silence on child abuse by religious leaders, the “what-about-ery” of “but Catholic priests did it too you know?”.
Finally, I am over the cultural relativist academics, NGOs, public figures and policy makers that say “it’s ok, it’s part of their culture, we should tolerate difference” and pretend to be anti-racist. You are the exact opposite. Human rights apply to humans, and in case you hadn’t noticed, cultural, religious and other minorities comprise of…yes…you got it…humans. Who on earth do you think you are fooling?
This makes me so angry, and it is happening in most Western cultures. Every word is true - sycophants licking the boots of these muslim men. A hijab shop has just been opened in Sydney, and muslim women just don't get it. It is a totally male construct. It is the men who are the problem. In Australia, most young women who wear the hijab also wear full make up, patterned and glittered hijab, earrings, plucked eyebrows, some wear tight jeans and high heels. Even if these women wore total shroud from head to toe, signals to a would be rapist I am female. In a western society, they draw more attention to themselves.
The Tee-shirt says it all.
I hate any sort of icon or dress that tells me a person is religious, it is an affront to me.
What hope is there when the law and politicians don't protect women, who have been brainwashed.
I think Islam would be one of the hardest religions to leave, so a huge Bravo to all the ex-muslims on this site.
I personally like the way Hijab looks. It can also be practical. I do not think anyone should wear it for religious reasons though.
The reason I hate the hajib is because women are thought of as meat in muslim society - they aren't supposed to wear it because they look good - the reasoning behind it is to make them look bad, where their muslim male counterparts are concerned.
If they were really serious about wearing the hijab, they would also not wear make-up, jewlerery, pluck eyebrows, have coloured hijabs with spangly bits, as they do in Australia. The women are turning back into women, and don't actually understand the muslim origin of the hijab - to keep men from 'perving' on them.
One can be complety covered and still look fabulous - as in Indian woman.
The hijab started out to be a simply practical thing to wear, to keep dust and sand out of hair and eyes, the men wore them also - but the meaning has changed - keep women undercover, 'cause those frigging blokes just can't control themselves - it is a blight on both men and women.
can't agree more .
we need to step up and tell everyone about the hypocritical communities we are living in .. i live in Egypt however i can relate to most of the points raised in that blog.
What a wonderful and explicit post this is, Bravo to you Nessminn.
I wish all Muslims had an opportunity to see what a brilliant mind their religion tries to silence.
I wish you joy, peace and happiness all the days of your life and I truly hope you will write much more
I couldn't agree more! Outstanding blog and I hope it was cathartic on some level. I also hope to hear more from you!
That was one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have had the honour to read in a very long time.
Now I have to explain to the people in the surrounding office cubicles why I shouted "YES!!" in the middle of their lunch hour. This is a task I look forward to.
Bravo Zulu to you, Nessminn.
the author of this piece is "the opinionista" (link above)
i'm so glad you enjoyed reading it...as an arab/canadian exmuslim myself.. this particular piece was a breath of fresh air.. its poignancy was profound and validating..
Just fantastic to see someone rebel. And horrifying to see what she is rebelling against.
I've said before I admire and appreciate every single ex-Muslim here (as well as the one person I know of here who grew up atheist in a Muslim country).
Some cultures and belief systems ARE better than others. Why pretend otherwise, especially when driven by insincere "respect" or fear? Me, I'll take atheists any day.
Great post , thanks !
This is all the more authentic because it comes from somebody raised in the Islamic culture.
What a GREAT rant.