Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
I have often wondered whether women from South-East Asia were the only Muslim women in the United States, as they keep making headline news for all the wrong reasons.
Despite the dominance of the negative effects of South-East Asians over other Muslims, of the 78% Muslim population of the United States that constitute immigrants, approximately 27% are of Middle-Eastern origin, approximately 25% are from South Asia and approximately 24% are of African origin, with the balance being of other origins. (data from Islamic Counselling, Islamic Online University)
We are constantly bombarded with South-East Asian abnorms – these are perfectly normal to them and abnormal to the rest of us – as if they were representative of Muslims in the United States.
These abnorms include:
Forced Marriage – This is the reality many women and young girls experience at the hands of their “loving” parents and relatives.
These women and girls have no say in their choice of spouse nor do they have the choice to turn down a suitor. They dare not reject their parents’ choice of a spouse, an MD or some other pseudo high class man who loves his vehicle more than he ever would a woman.
Too much is at stake for these women and girls. They do not wish to dishonour their parents. Many go ahead with the marriage. Many of these women and girls flee their home and many more commit suicide to escape this horrid experience.
There are however, a significant and vocal number of Muslim women from South-East Asia and others of their kind who insist that forced marriage is “blessed in Heaven”. I leave you my dear readers to imagine what kind of marriage is made in hell, if forced marriage is made in Heaven.
Arranged Marriage – This is the practice of choosing a spouse for another individual, whether a son, a daughter, a young relative or a friend. Many cases of arranged marriage involve providing a spouse for the first three sets of individuals, often without the knowledge or consent of the bride-to-be.
Arranged marriage or as I prefer to call it, staged marriage for the actors – in this case, the bride and often the groom – are not involved in the script-writing, directing or production of the show, as commonly practised by South-East Asians is not distinct from forced marriage. Very few spouses have the choice to back away from the set-up. Indeed, they are being set-up.
In contemporary times, Muslims who exercise their right of choice in a spouse in line with the main practices of my Prophet and his male and female Companions are referred to as “modern”. I say that makes those Muslims who endorse the system of blind marriage neanderthals. Fair for fair.
Some Muslims, few of South-East Asia and a larger percentage of other regions introduce their son or daughter to a potential spouse after having educated their children on the latter’s right to turn down any unsuitable spouse. I call this rendevous opportunity and is an acceptable practice in Islam; the rights and freedoms of the individual are respected and family ties sustained.
I am reminded of my experiences in Sokoto with some men planning to marry me and announcing their intention to their associates and tribesmen without consulting me regarding my willingness to share my intimate life with them, a clear case of marriage through intimidation and pressure. This occurred at least four times. Obviously, these men are incapable of learning from the experiences of their tribesmen.
On each occasion, I acted along as if I were unaware of the plans, after all the force-suitor in question does not want me to know about it. Why tell the daring man he has gone well beyond his limits when he does not want me to realise he has over stepped his bounds?
This is in stark contrast to the way Hausa-Fulanis generally marry women of their own tribe, i.e. the intended bride is fully aware of the man’s proposal. These men saw an unmarried, lone woman with no family ties in the state and felt they had an easy target. Imagine having very arrogant men and women discussing my marriage in definite terms.
Well, when I had had enough of the irritating smiles from Hausa-Fulani women who usually do not smile when they see me, I would pick up my phone and either call or send a text message expressing my annoyance to my then guardian, one of the very few Hausa-Fulani men who are not natural-born idiots. Even though we are no longer associated, I fondly recall the good times. He is one Hausa-Fulani man whose ears do not function properly and who do not tow the line of his people. The marriage plan would end abruptly.
Dishonour Murders and Domestic Violence – Briefly, a man who ties his “honour” to a woman’s bra much to the woman’s excitement soon feels her breasts are in violation of his manhood. The result is her maiming or murder.
It is high time for Muslims who do not subscribe to and are not represented by this sewage called culture to speak out.