This is me. It is just me. It will always be just me.I'm just telling my tale, one wisdom-filled anecdote at a time.
Many of you are probably a bit biased or prejudiced and I cannot hold that against you. If you are American there is a real chance that you have been misinformed for the majority of your life about the Middle East.
If something were to pop up on the news about bombing or the like you might wonder if they even deserved it. You may think that it all happens so far away so who cares. You may be convinced that Muslims are zionists who get what they deserve in the end and believe in the 72 virgins that get after suicide bombing. They are absolutely not this.
But, this is not a rant about ignorance. I feel like perhaps I was this person in a life before this. Unsure of what to make of this region of the world, its religion, its people. Totally uninformed of the true nature of Islam or of what drives the people behind it.
And as much as I can say about the legitimacy and beauty of this religion, there is equally as much as I can say against it.
As much as I know about Islam, it reminds me a bit of what I think Christianity must have been like in its early stages. Very demanding, very domineering, often running a person’s very existence. It can be accusatory and judgmental, yet at its core, beautiful and simplistic. It may, in the future, make more sense to humanity and be well carried out, but the way that it is carried out today makes it seem primitive.
Today, I was in a taxi with a Nepalese driver. (I’m in Doha, Qatar). We were speaking at lengths about the differences between Qatar and Saudi Arabia (where he had lived previously) and about Islam and Muslims, in general. His view was similar to mine. Namely, that Arabs and especially Arab Muslims, treat their women quite terribly.
They are like animals, he told me while explaining how women are covered and kept hidden in houses under the proverbial lock and key while the men are allowed to do anything - leave the house, walk freely without cover, have extra marital affairs - and then come home to let their wives out when they want them. They have lives, they are human, he said. But they are kept like pets. I’d never heard it put quite like that, but I cannot help but agree.
There is such a need for a feminist movement, but by true feminists, like Malala Yousafzai. And I think for the most part, many Arab and/or Muslim countries are moving in this direction.
Except Saudi Arabia.
No alcohol. No pork. No women drivers. Women must cover their bodies with abayas. In many places with a hijab (head covering). No being alone in public with one member of the opposite sex. In Jeddah, where I live, it is much more acceptable. I can appear in public with the opposite sex in a group and have even been in public with a man/men alone. But this has everything to do with the fact that I am a white American. (The white part makes it easier to tell that I’m Western).
Honestly, it’s a travesty. And while Saudi Arabia is the worst, Muslim countries are difficult for women.
I hope to not only see change in the near future, I hope to be a source of this change.
Don’t judge too harshly these countries. But pray they find some peace in their hearts, some ease, some acceptance.