Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door
by Tom Beasley
Monday, April 04, 2011 at 07:25 AM EDT
Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door aired last night at 8pm on CNN. The CNN Belief blog has an additional perspective to highlight the segment. Ivy, an American, converted to Islam and began to wear the hijab. She had the following to say about the experience:
"I feel like I have more respect. Before, I could be pumping gas in my car and some guy would whistle or make some type of catcall. It was an uncomfortable situation," she said... When you put on a scarf ... [you] know that people can't look at you as a sexual object. The first time I put it on I felt more comfortable in my own skin."
She has had many responses to wearing the hijab, including being called a traitor and told to "go back home." However, many women feel that removing clothes is liberating — from the nature-loving nudists to the downtown strippers. While I can see why someone like Ivy might be less of a sexual object, she still remains an object. Many women who wear the hijab do so willingly, and they should have every right to do so. This is a very American view, as Europe, and in particular France, legislate or highly discriminate against the usage of the burka (a more concealing version of the religious garments). Who am I to tell someone how something should make her feel? Many women who wear these religious garments do feel empowered and gladly wear them.
And many captives fall in love with their captors. This is from a religion that has the following to say about women:
Wearing this headgear supports this religion. Even if dressing modestly is empowering, which any individual woman is free to feel, this particular outfitting only supports and advertises the support of a religion that relegates women to second-class status. While saying a woman is merely spawn from a man's rib might be metaphorically repugnant, the actual treatment of women in Islamic countries is gruesome. For example, the treatment for stoning women who are adulteresses (adultery has a wider definition is Islam, meaning any pre-marital relations as well), must be buried up to their heads and stoned. If they can get free — they may live. Men, however, are buried up to their waist and if they are able to wrench free, they too may live. This is but the simplest of examples. One might challenge me in that I construct a straw man, and that these Islamic countries are simply radical and do not reflect Islam. I would direct you first to the no true Scotsman fallacy, and secondly to the holy book, the Quran, itself. Muslims, by and large, however, will say that the Quran is only a book of good things but not divinely inspired, but instead written directly through the prophet and the exact words of God. So as with most arguments about the Quran, I cannot understand the Quran because I don't know Arabic. As a student of Ancient Greek, I try to imagine the faces of Christians when I try to make the same argument about the New Testament.
This article originally appeared on An American Atheist.