Monday, March 2, 2015

Guest Post: Why Everyone Hates Muslims

Hi all, 

below is a guest post by fellow ex-muslim Yasmine, I love sharing your stories, perspectives and emails - if you have something you'd like to share please email me at nicemangosDOTblogATgmailDOTcom 

Yes, I realise the story below does not depict everyone's experience with Islam, and nor does it speak for 'all' muslims/ex-muslims. This is just one perspective, so go ahead and unclench those buttcheeks. :) 

There are plenty of anti-Muslim bigots in this world, and I spend a lot of my online time speaking out against them as well as apologists. Those who make excuses for the horrible deeds done in the name of Islam. Those who call beheaders 'beautiful people' and imply that they were simply wronged by the system, they're the people who are always ready to portray Muslims as victims, no matter what the reality is. Those people feed the hate of the anti-Muslim bigots. They are doing their own communities no favours by being such shifty assholes. Those who claim ISIS are not 'real Muslims' are only using ISIS' problematic approach of declaring whomever they please non-muslims. 

We should learn how to own up to and admit the things that are understandably lacking and problematic in the over-1000-year-old texts so many hold dear. There are major issues, and until we acknowledge them we cannot even begin to solve them. I personally want our communities to grow and evolve and get with the times. If we appear unwilling to address our own issues we will continue to invite hate, and the awful cycle will continue. 

There is also fascist element to Islam that everyone wants to remain silent about. 

It's time for Muslim communities to step up and actively work towards change and inclusivity. To break down that rigidity we have come to associate closely with Islam. And its time for those who critique to make sure to take an intelligent position on this, so as not to be discredited and provide fodder for apologists. Please remember that critiquing Islam (an idea) is not interchangeable with criticizing all its followers (people) - who are diverse and don't necessarily endorse all parts. Making fun of people's culture, language, accents, skin colour - these things are NOT valid critiques of Islam. 

If you happen to be a Muslim reading this, you can start change by taking a stand against blasphemy laws, by speaking up for 'apostates', for LGBT communites ...there are plenty of ways to make change happen. Do it. 

Anyhow, enough from me - enjoy the guest post! 

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There are many reasons why I left Islam.  But one of the top three reasons was this notion that I describe as ‘prescribed enemies’.  From a young age I was taught to distrust, and encouraged to hate,
everyone that was different from me.  This hate was not reserved exclusively for non-Muslims…it also included “Muslims by name” who drank alcohol, women who didn’t wear hijab (or who didn’t wear it properly…is that nail polish? Are those pants? Is that a tuft of hair? Do I see skin??), had sex outside of marriage, ate pork, were gay, listened to music… the list is long.

In my teens I started to question this ideology that was thrust on me when a lot of those ‘prescribed enemies’ were so kind, so thoughtful, so loving, so generous that suddenly I was akin to a fish questioning the toxicity levels of the water in which I was immersed.  My choice to leave Islam was like a series of small earthquakes that, when you look back, you see that it has cut a seam through the Earth.

There was no huge moment of denouncing it wholeheartedly.  It was years and years of circumstances chipping away at this coating that was slathered all over me.  One story to illustrate this was the story of a Muslim woman in my city running for office.  I can’t remember what she was running for, but there she was…a Muslim woman’s face splashed on the free local newspaper. Someone like ME. A Muslim woman with a funny name was poised to be a public figure.  My heart was just beginning to fill with pride when it was halted mid-swell “Real Muslims will never vote for her.  She supports gay marriage", my mother spat. And just like that, this woman was sabotaged by her own kind.  Imams openly preached in the Mosque about not supporting her as a voice to speak on ‘our’ behalf.

And so this brings me to my point.  Remember WWII, Hitler, Holocaust, all that? After WWII Germans, not just Nazis, all Germans (even German dogs!) were discriminated against so badly for crimes they may or may not have committed.  Heinous acts were done by their people, so all of them were hated.

There is a saying in Arabic: If you get bitten by a snake, you fear a rope.  That’s human nature. It is not correct, but it is how we are.  Now, all these innocent ropes are being hated, discriminated against, forced to change their last names to avoid detection, etc etc.  We all know the story.  The thing is, being German is not an ideology that you choose to follow. Being Muslim is.

A Muslim agrees to follow a prescribed set of rules, regulations, values, governance, and yes…a long list of prescribed enemies. By agreeing to be part of any religion, you are agreeing to be painted by the brush of that religion because you are choosing to be a part of it. If you do not like the colour that you are being painted, don’t whine and accuse everyone of being colour-blind…change the paint.

Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Muslim Brotherhood, Hammas and so many others…their combined number of casualties would be a wet dream for Hitler.  You cannot blame the citizens of Earth for lashing out against Muslims.  Again, I am not condoning any lashing-out, I am just saying…we are human, that is what we do. You cannot expect humanity to react any differently. Even if there is no lashing out, there is fear, anger and hate in our hearts. Germans had Hitler, Muslims have numerous Hitlers.

What did Germans do to change their image? As Dory would say, they just kept swimming.  Most importantly, they stopped mass-killing people, this is the first course of action.  Then, just like my earthquake analogy, they just kept chipping away at the world's collective conscience by doing good, building kick-ass cars, and breaking down walls.  Eventually, before we knew it, we look back and we see that Germans have torn a seam through all the hate, anger, fear, and mistrust.

However, bringing this full-circle, if you are a Muslim and you accept and embody this idea of prescribed enemies…then you, in turn, will always be someone’s enemy.  It is obviously a reciprocal relationship.

Change the paint.  Stop hating. When you teach your children to love all humans! Then no one will have a reason to hate you. Eventually, time will heal all wounds.

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5 comments:

  1. Excellent. Many quotable ideas here, but tolerance is a two way street. "Germans had Hitler, Muslims have numerous Hitlers" is quite appropriate. When I was overseas I often met Germans, and they were very conscious of their history. Many Muslims also share humane universal values of tolerances, but they are drowned out by the extremists and the reprehensible laws and cultures against blasphemy, apostasy, not to mention prejudices against women, sexual orientation, Jews, etc. When I lived in the UAE I had Emirati students who would say they admired Hitler, without every thinking of the sociopathic elements of such a comment. These were fifteen year old boys.

    Germany as a country made amends, in much the same way in the US the culture makes amends for slavery and atrocities to the Native Americans (a process that's not over, but things have improved).

    Of all bigotries, religious chauvinism is as bad if not more so than racism. It poisons a culture and breeds intolerance, and often underlies genocide or mass atrocity (communism is another form of religion, replacing God with a politic and cult of personality to be worshipped). Thx for posting.

    Caleb

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Caleb. I couldn't agree more. In Pakistan and Saudi both, I have come across people who say they admire Hitler. It's a dangerous, venomous mentality....especially when one has no idea why that could even be problematic. People that are oblivious/apathetic to the suffering of others while constantly wishing to portray Muslims as victims are incredibly disturbing to me.

      And I agree, that the process of making amends is not over in the US, but at least it has begun...it's an excellent point and I think it's time for Muslim countries/communities to actively begin such a process too... towards women, towards minorities, and whoever else that has been mistreated because of obsolete scripture. Cheers!

      E

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    2. I recently saw an article about an Ex-Hasidic Jew from somewhere in New York who used to be part of village for Hasidics only. He described, more or less a similar attitude that his community displayed toward non-Jews "goyim" and how even they do a good deed, their motives are never truly good.

      In Israel, the debate among some of the more ultra-orthodox Jews over the status of goyim, and whether or not they are better than animals still takes place. This belief is based on the idea that the Jews are the chosen people of God. Do you see where I’m going with this? Is it okay to distrust someone who’s Jewish until they denounce their faith? I’m pretty sure that’d fall under anti-Semitism.

      As for your point about the feeling about Hitler in Saudi and Pakistan, shockingly, with a population of 1.5-6 billion people, you can find Muslims who have horrible idea, are victims, or both!

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  2. It is well written with a great message.

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  3. Concerned Girl in CanadaMarch 10, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    I have just been skimming through your blogs - the one about the face-veil ban for Canada's citizenship oath was very interesting, and it relieved me to read that someone saw it the same way as I keep trying to explain (to others) why I support a face-veil ban. When I post how it represents gender oppression - that even the freedom to choose this garb comes from a warped sense of what is "moral"... I'm cyber bullied by fellow non-Muslim Canadians like crazy. I'm sorry, but I do see a threat to our secular way of life... you just confirmed in your blog how you were molded into judging so many people that did not share your belief - so when it comes to appeasing religion, when do we have boundaries??

    I'm starting to see public venues like university gyms and pools hold gender-segregated hours and purchase special blinds to "hide" the area that women will be swimming in. To me, this is a major red flag and feeds backward idealism about women's morality. And all these bleeding heart people who see nothing wrong with this sort of thing have not had to fight for their rights; they've never had to witness a woman being caned by moral police or be called a whore simply for walking alone - they take it all for granted; and just like Wafa Sultan has been warning us in the "West" for years, we should never take this freedom for granted - because it can be taken away. When a minority becomes a majority, they will have the power to enforce their Sharia Law and belief systems in our public sphere. I'm not a hate monger, but I'm scared. Educated free women are not having tons of babies. (ie: creating an army)

    I've seen our own history, and I see what's been happening in the Middle East and Europe. We are fools and our laws are being used against us. Freedom of Religion didn't mean that were are to be slaves to idealism... it was more about having freedom FROM religion.

    To think that choosing to wear a Burqua is a freedom of choice is ridiculous; and the fact that this is so ingrained makes trying to change women's views on this impossible... I guess when shit hits the fan, I can say that I called it.

    And all this for what? Some crazy fanatic that created a religion to control the masses. (heard the story about how God conveniently told Mohammed that adoption is no longer allowed - then he married his daughter in law)

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