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Muslim Mamas--Tired of the Hate, Need Support

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Assalamu Alaikum:

I'm feeling very overwhelmed by all the Muslim hate right now. It's not like there's been a recent attack or anything, but it doesn't seem to dissipate... almost 10 years past 9/11. I'm tired of being told to go back to where I came from... when my family came over on the Mayflower and is also part Native American. I'm tired of people feeling free to insult me because I wear hijab--and of course, it doesn't help that I'm 9 months pregnant and feel vulnerable.

Every time there's an article on CNN that remotely relates to Islam (like the Mom of the autistic kids in TX and was from Pakistan), the attacks come out. Things that I can't see people seeing about another religious group...or race (if they're attacking Arabs)... yet are somehow O.K. because it's Muslims. CNN allows them all--I shudder to think of what they say on FOX.

And I just got this in my inbox today... it's actually not that far from me...maybe an hour?

http://pewforum.org/Religion-News/Fl...niversary.aspx

Quote:
"In response to the posting of the event on Facebook a little more than a week ago, Jones said that people have been mailing Qurans to the church to burn. He said organizers got the idea, in part, from another Facebook page, called "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day."

Sept. 11 will fall during the Eid al-Fitr holiday this year, when Muslims mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Local Muslims are planning to use the feast as an opportunity to share Islamic traditions and Qurans with the church members and the wider community."
Sure, burning Qurans is going to do so much to encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity. Yeah, right. Insulting people is the way to do it. It's all the more disturbing that people are actually mailing Qurans to them. It's just not that church--it's that there are many many people who think it's a great idea.

The opinion of Muslims and whether or not we should even be allowed the same rights as other Americans is getting worse, not better. I have no desire to go live in Egypt or any other Muslim country for that matter--but I'm really beginning to wonder if I want to raise my kids here, where they'll experience this the rest of their lives. It's so depressing. Other than the lack of Universal Health Care, I love living here. I'm American. It's all I know. But I'm not sure I want to put my kids through the hate.



Does it get to you? How do you deal with it? Do you see yourselves leaving the States if you live here?
post #2 of 41
I'm really sorry you are feeling this way. People are so stupid sometimes. It seems that they just don't think.

If you were to move, where would you go? I think Canada is a bit better, but not always. (Though I'd say my city is pretty good - just polite in general - and we have a Muslim school here). Europe I think would actually be worse.

Is there anything available like a Muslim retreat? Some quiet time to recharge spiritually might help.
post #3 of 41
I haven't really experienced it directly except for a few times but I don't wear hijab anymore either. FWIW I do live in Gainesville, and I can tell you that this particular "church" does nothing but spew hate for every one and everything. Our entire county has a instated a uniform policy as an almost direct result of these idiots sending their kids to school in t-shirts that say "Islam is of the Devil."
post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 
I debate taking off hijab. Part of me thinks that it acts as a barrier, because that's all people see... and the assumptions they make regarding me and Islam hurt Islam...and hurt my chance to talk to them rationally about Islam (should they ask). Yet part of me thinks that it's important to be visibly Muslim... to be seen out doing "normal" things with my kids, etc. I also know that my kids think it's normal (for Mom to wear hijab), and I don't want them to think that I'm ashamed to be Muslim.

I know SummertimeMommy that that particular church has a history of not only being against Islam... but also GLBTs...and a whole host of others. I don't think the one church would bug me so much, if it wasn't for the hate I see come out in other venues as well, KWIM?
post #5 of 41
Yeah umsami, I do understand. I haven't been wearing hijab for a while because my family is so against it. They don't understand that a woman might actually want to keep her goodies hidden away. Even my mom thinks I am weird, she actually started crying the first and only time she saw me in a headscarf.

I want to wear it for all of the reasons that you have stated, but I don't even have the support of my family and that makes it really difficult. To be honest, sometimes I feel self conscious when my kids say bismillah at meals because I am worried what people will think of my family, we have had such a mixed reaction. My 5 yr old dd once loudly proclaimed that we were Muslim to a group of kids she was playing with at my other dd's band concert and some of the parents actually took their kids and left, my dh's dad's girlfriend wouldn't eat in our house after she found out we were Muslim. I don't want to be ashamed of my religion, but at the same time, I want my family to be able to interact with other mainstream Americans without being ostracized.

It seems like to be a Muslim in the US means constantly defending your faith. It can be a bit overwhelming. There is an amazing amount of misinformation out there about Islam and no one has a problem gobbling it up without even stopping to think about whether or not the info is true. It seems that even netflix and many public libraries have more negative info on Islam than positive. Did you know that the only instantly streaming movie the netflix has that is related to Islam is a anti-Islamic propaganda film? It is very distressing.

I kind of feel that part of the problem lies in the fact that we Muslims do not do enough to show the world that Islam is not what they see on t.v. I wish we had shows like little mosque here in the states. I also wish that more visibly Muslim people were active in society, then maybe we would be better accepted. IDK I wish I had an answer. This subject really bothers me as well.
post #6 of 41
I know the feeling. Honestly the only substantial reasons we are staying here right now is we don't want my kids to lose the proximity to my parents (and vice versa) and we don't want to make a rash decision. If there was a snowball's proverbial chance that I could talk my parents into leaving with us, though, I really think we would almost certainly go back to Egypt. Which, considering the scale of social and political issues there, is saying something, because I'm certainly not looking at that country through some idyllic lens or hijrah fantasy or a lack of experience with the reality of being there once the novelty wears off, you know? Quite the opposite.

I don't mean it's just the climate here ... we're not that flighty. But on top of a lot of other reasons to go (home ownership there vs. a rental we don't like here, an established business there vs. a job my spouse doesn't like here, a job I could return to versus not being able to find work at all here, etc), the seemingly steadily growing anti-Muslim vibe is really contributing to making us feel like we'd rather be away.

You know what was ridiculous? A week or two ago I had a tear literally brought to my eye by .............. The Daily Show. Which is a little embarrassing. But it was entirely because they took a brief look at the degree to which it is being popularly accepted that "Muslims" and "Americans" are by definition separate entities, and basically responded with "wtf?" And it was just so good to hear someone -- even a comedy show -- just not dancing around that.

It was shortly after that I overheard a conversation between a couple at a gas station who were talking up that same sense of division, with some fun militaristic overtones thrown in for good measure. Right around the same time I made the huge mistake of reading some comments on a news story about the opposition to the controversial proposed community center in Manhattan, where internet blowhards were talking smack about how it's a great plan because it gives them a convenient spot to blow up in revenge for 9/11. With digital high fives all around. I know better than to be shocked by the internet, but just that moment of "listening in" on people playing at being terrorists themselves as some kind of personal amusement, and knowing they'll never catch any sort of backlash for it ... it got to me. There will be no Revolution Muslim controversy surrounding the WSJ readers who thought it was funny to say they want to blow up a community center. Guaranteed.

And so on and so forth. It feels like I have about a million examples from just these past weeks alone. Which is rather the point, I guess ... things you'd run into occasionally seem to have somehow become a daily affair.

And I feel you on hijab, I really do. Which I'm guessing surprises you, considering how, uh ... legalistic I can be. I actually recently had an argument with my spouse because he wanted us to go swimming as a family. Nice, right? But I haven't gone since moving here, and the thought of breaking out the conspicuously Muslim swimwear was just ... I couldn't do it. It came down to me saying, "I don't want people looking at me like that right now ... you don't understand what people will think of me, and you by extension." And it still makes me sad. Because I love swimming. And, despite so many non-Muslims ardent claims to the contrary, it's not my religion interfering with my ability to just go when I like.
post #7 of 41
i agree with you that it is a huge problem.

but i will put this out there also. there are a lot of us (americans and non-americans, non-religious and religious alike) who do not have an issue with islam, who know that your home is where you choose to make it, and that islam and muslims are not an issue at all. what is an issue is the politicizing of religion (whatever the religion) and using it as a weapon against others. it's vicious!

so, remember for every 'hater' that you experience, there are 10 silent supporters who would speak up if we were there!
post #8 of 41
What Zoebird said.
post #9 of 41
I also agree with zoebird...I am not muslim but just wanted to stalk your thread...lol.
I think the biggest issue is the media explosions with the terrorists....it instills fear in people and people just can't seperate from the fear for 5 seconds to realize that not all Muslims are terrorist...I feel for you ladies...I truly do. It's sad that only bad news makes the news.
Be strong and proud and don't back down from what you believe.
post #10 of 41
A dear friend decided recently to take off her hijab and this is part of the reason. I have been with her out for coffee when a random person passing by in a vehicle flipped her off. Just flipped her off from her spot in traffic as we sat in the window of a cafe. About 4 people inside the cafe saw it and all commented...but it's almost daily for her, and she has gone back and forth on exactly these ideas. Is it a barrier? Is it a flag that makes her more obvious? Swimming is a whole other story. The whole thing is sad.

Our mosque hosts an annual interfaith gathering, inviting other houses of worship. A conversation is planned around a theme. We discuss our similarities and differences based on holy books (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, UUs and Buddhists have had speakers). Then everyone eats. People come from other, more rural counties, and the event has grown quite large. I like that they take their experiences home with them and pass them along. Our community is small enough that it's quite diverse, so there is a good bit of education about "where Muslims come from" as well. We mix it up in terms of seating at the meal part (some of us take that on as our job at the thing), so the conversation goes on long after the presentation ends.

It's today. Wish you could come.

I feel it too. I have become one of those "stealth" Muslims, especially at work. I dress modestly but don't wear a scarf, and it is a mild topic of conversation. People absorb small bits of what I will and won't eat, that I don't drink, and my presence probably does prevent ignorant outbursts from time to time. (It doesn't always; there are still some people who don't recognize their own misconceptions, of course. Funny enough, all the people with issues attend the same sort of place of worship, and I have heard some of the sermons from their pastors. Scary stuff.)

We've been discussing "going back," but not for social reasons. More to do something entrepreneurial and make a different kind of living.
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody--both the Musliims and non-Muslims--for your support.

Liquesce--I've actually gotten the most positive inquiries about my faith (and clothes) when I've been wearing my Muslim swimsuits... either my "Burqini" (hate that name) or Splashgear one. I usually explain I wear them for two reasons... 1) my faith and 2)the fact that I've had over 35 precancerous moles removed. I know of at least one women who went and ordered the Splashguard shirt because she liked how it was longer than the typical rash guard shirt. Of course, I will say that think they are not meant for the ocean. I had a horrible time trying to keep my Splashgear pants up when we went to play in the ocean a few weeks ago. Part of the problem was no doubt my baby bump...but the waves seemed to want to take the pants off regardless. That's why I always wear a "regular" one piece under the Muslim gear.

ljooj: That sounds very cool. Our community is involved in a lot of Interfaith stuff--but only certain churches participate. We had a guy try and blow up the Mosque with a pipe bomb a few months ago (never caught by the FBI even though he's on tape), and one of the nice surprised was that the Pentecostal church across the street donated $5k or $10k (can't remember which) to the reward fund. They've been our across the street neighbors since the mid-70s, though... and always very nice. Before the Islamic Center bought more land, they used to let us park there on Friday and Eid.

Glad I'm not the only one, at least--hoping it gets better for all of us, although I doubt it. Just saw an article in the LATimes about an Alaskan weatherman and his wife arrested for being terrorists. They seemed so "normal"... so I'm assuming the wondering if we're some sort of Muslim sleeper cell thing might increase.
post #12 of 41
I'm not Muslim, but I wanted to just add myself to team "believe what works for you and your choice of clothing to illustrate such belief doesn't offend or frighten me whatsoever". I've been in a facebook war with a few folks over their rantings about the mosque being built near ground zero. I immediately pointed out that there are two churches within a half block of the OK Federal Memorial, and ten more within half a mile. McVeigh and Nicols were Christian and yet...where's the outrage there?

I'm so sorry you are so persecuted and stereotyped in this country. It's sad and ironic and goes against everything this nation is supposed to believe in.
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
Liquesce--I've actually gotten the most positive inquiries about my faith (and clothes) when I've been wearing my Muslim swimsuits... either my "Burqini" (hate that name) or Splashgear one. I usually explain I wear them for two reasons... 1) my faith and 2)the fact that I've had over 35 precancerous moles removed. I know of at least one women who went and ordered the Splashguard shirt because she liked how it was longer than the typical rash guard shirt. Of course, I will say that think they are not meant for the ocean. I had a horrible time trying to keep my Splashgear pants up when we went to play in the ocean a few weeks ago. Part of the problem was no doubt my baby bump...but the waves seemed to want to take the pants off regardless. That's why I always wear a "regular" one piece under the Muslim gear.
Me too. I don't know why I'm being so weird about it now. Or, I do I suppose ... the existence of supportive people doesn't act in a way that cancels out antagonism. And I relate that to feelings on broader hijab because it has to do with just not feeling it with regard to being that conspicuous in a not necessarily but still plausibly hostile environment. (Hence also why the black abayas have been packed away for so long in favor of less comfortable but more 'friendly' appearing clothes. And why more boho headwraps have re-entered my scarf style repertoire. Etc.)

In short: I really miss just blending in.
post #14 of 41
Another non-Muslim horning in on your thread... there are a lot of us who feel the same as zoebird and Theoretica, even though our voices aren't as loud.

I want to ask, though - what should be do? Because as with anything else, I think those of us who have the privilege of not being hated because of our religion should be fighting against it. I try to educate myself, I'm on CAIR's email list for action alerts, I make sure functions offer alcohol-free and pork-free dining options, clearly labeled, I'm pretty experienced at defending Islam when people I know make ignorant assumptions about it... but what else? How can I help women who chose to wear hijab (like some of you) feel more comfortable in my community, my university, my city?
post #15 of 41
Awesome post Dar, thank you! That really summed up what I was feeling but am clearly not eloquent enough to put into words
post #16 of 41
and, when someone does speak ignorantly against islam (or related) *i* do speak up. i have told a young man to cut it out; i've told a woman to stop being ignorant; and i've told a woman who was harassed for her dress that *i* thought she looked lovely, that i respect her dressing modestly for any reason and in particular for her faith, and that all others are just being ridiculous and i'm sorry for it.

pork and alcohol free is easy at my house anyway. being vegetarian, it follows the rules nicely. DH does eat meat, and we do ahve pork, but it's just bacon and we never serve it. i don't keep the kitchen/utensil rules, though, so i hope any jewish or muslim friends (or vegan for that matter, or vegetarian) would be ok with it. afterall, i only have one pot and pan.
post #17 of 41
What I personally do to not feel overwhelmed by Muslim hate is turn a blind eye. Take it or leave it, I am not saying it is the best thing, but it is what works for me. I don't have a TV (not just for this reason, for other reasons) so I don't watch all the media spewing whatever they are spewing. I listen to NPR news and they are really fair in their coverage of Muslims and have pro Muslim type of stuff sometimes. I loved this piece they broadcast about discrimination/hate against Muslim. Beautiful. http://chicagopublicradio.org/conten...?audioID=43281


I also find it a lot easier dressing Islamically in a big city, or places that are diverse. People here have seen it all and nothing much surprises them. Maybe you would feel better moving to a different city or region that can provide a more tolerant attitude or bigger Muslim community? The way I see it, it is our duty as Muslims to practice Islam as best we can where ever we are. And if our location is preventing that, Allah made the earth wide. I am American and I don’t want to leave my country but I also know that means I won’t be “normal” here, but in my eyes, I would rather put up with standing out here than having to live in another country or compromise in my religion. It definitely can wear you down always feeling like you are different than everyone. That’s why I try to attend gatherings of other Muslims regularly if for no other reason than to see other people wearing hijab and feeling like I do belong somewhere. Stay strong sisters, remember you wearing hijab today will make it easier for someone else to wear hijab tomorrow.
post #18 of 41
umsami I believe you and I am sorry things are hard.

If it helps you, I get a lot of flack for not going to ____ church, or not being of ______ political party and/or for being different, too. I know it is not the same as what you are dealing with but you are not alone. Hatred hurts.

FWIW, I always go out of my way to say hello to Muslim women and/or families. I want them to know they are welcome and that there are friendly faces around. I understand that it must be hard at times and there are many people who genuinely care and pray for the safety of Muslims. We also have many conversations helping to break stereotypes and encourage peace and acceptance of Muslims.
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
How can I help women who chose to wear hijab (like some of you) feel more comfortable in my community, my university, my city?
I would like for someone else to have a better response, because the best I really have myself is "nothing." The problem isn't a lack of positive support or neutral people. Those are plentiful. The problem is antagonistic people seem to be growing more and more comfortable with expressing their antagonism. And that certain notions of what it means to be Muslim, what it means to be American, what it means to be a terrorist, and how these three things can and can not overlap, have been becoming more and more cemented as popular fact. To the extent that, for example, when a man flew a plane into a building in Texas the presidential response was to swiftly reassure the public that there was no connection to terrorism (a.k.a.: the man wasn't Asian, wasn't African, and wasn't Muslim, therefore -- despite committing a clear terroristic act -- was not a terrorist). What can you do with that? I haven't found anything yet, beyond us each living our own little local lives and hoping with time things settle out for the better before getting worse. When people are protesting the building of a mosque in California, and it's fueling a sense of trepidation amongst Muslims in Vermont ... what can ya do?

I mean ... I appreciate inclusive gestures. Tremendously. And more than anything I appreciate people not going out of their way to react to my Muslimness at all. (<-- Emphasis that.) But the problem is this kind of low-grade group hysteria that keeps showing itself to be a widespread sentiment. And it's the widespread nature of it more than the individual local manifestations that just feels a little ominous.

To me. Like I said, I'd like for someone else to have a better answer than mine. The best thing is probably nothing external, and to just follow the ways of chimomma and ignore it. Personally I'm just really, really bad at that.
post #20 of 41
s I'm not a muslim (or a christian or any religion tbh, but I just wanted to write and say sorry on behalf of all the hate you get from so many people. Honestly, it kind of amazes me sometimes - even my own family who should know better and are generally very accepting of minorities. I actually went off on the lot of them for spewing hate/misinformation the last time we saw them, and they got all huffy on being called on it.

So yeah. Just huge hugs and all that...
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