Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Muslim Burden

These days, if you look under any online article with any reference to Islam – direct or indirect – you will notice that the comment section is full of unbelievable hate, bigotry and xenophobic name calling against Muslims, provided that the host carrying that article allows comments in the first place. Based on writing style, references and demands made of governments, society in general and Muslims, you can easily deduce that almost all these posters of anti-Muslim vitriol are whites for whom white is the new black.

The targets of this hate are varied and singular at the same time. the common element in these hateful literary gems is Islam and their targets are Muslims in general, Muslim women, Muslim men, Muslims who immigrate to west, Muslims who never immigrated, Islam, Allah, Makkah, Medina, Arab Culture, attires associated to Muslims, Muhammad, Muhammad’s married life and last but not least Quran.

Here are some summaries of how hatred is thrown at some elements related to Islam and my responses:

Hateful Claim 1:

Muslims are always violent and every Muslim is out to kill non-Muslims.

My Response 1:

When was the last time you were killed by a Muslim just because you were not a Muslim?

Almost all highly publicised terrorist activities that are done in the name of Islam are perpetrated by the people who are influenced by Salafi school of thought or Salafism. It is a rather extremist branch or sub-sect of Sunnism, which itself is a major and extremely diverse sect of Islam. Many Arab states, including America’s overt and Israel’s covert ally Saudi Arabia, are politically dominated by Salafism. These states secretly facilitated the rise of ISIS or ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Before that, they heavily funded Arab and Afghan Mujahedeen in Soviet-Afghan war. After the end of the conflict and demise of Soviet Union, these Mujahedeen became unemployed and turned towards infighting and terrorism out of which Taliban and Al-Qaeda were born.

The problem is that the money talks. Salafis in Middle East have tons of it and they are still pumping it to spread their own extremist worldview. I do not know if they anticipated ISIS to get this out of control as it is threatening the same Arab countries that helped establish it, however, the fact remains that Arab money is not just talking. It is shouting its hatred in all venues available and accessible to the vulnerable young generations of Muslims. In today’s anti-religion society, most young Muslims have no idea what Islam is. Many, as a result, are exposed to Salafi propaganda machine which presents itself one and only real Islam and appeals to the thrill seekers amongst them. For many such young people, violence is extremely attractive way of getting noticed. A young Muslim kills a bunch of innocent people out in a street and gets killed alongside for the same reason as a young white man enters a schools and murders innocent students in cold blood and in the end gets shot, mostly by his own hand. In both instances, perpetrators might proclaim two very distinct reasons, however, the fundamental reason and motivation for such horrific acts are the same; untapped energy and lack of direction and narcissism.

Hateful Claim 2:

Muslim women cover their bodies because they are oppressed by men or they have been brainwashed.

My Response 2:

Western women like to exhibit their half or even fully naked bodies because they are oppressed by mass media run by men or they have been brainwashed into believing that they aren’t beautiful unless they show-off their goods in public or on warm beaches. Well that was a cheap shot. I apologise.

For many Muslim women, covering up in public is as normal as bikini on a beach for western women. Many highly educated strong Muslim women, who are extremely independent in their life choices, are choosing to follow the dress code known as Hijab as a personal choice. For them, it is not just a question of what their religion requires of them but also it is a principle of independence and personal identity. If you force a woman into what she might consider nudity, it would not only be misogynistic but also assault on her life, liberty and happiness. In your hate, do not forget that not all independent women are asking for freedom to go topless in public, some are asking for freedom to be covered-up and freedom to not put their most intimate parts on display in tight, minimal or no clothing at all.

Hateful Claim 3:

Arabs wear robes, which is somehow a bad thing, and they are towelheads.

My Response 3:

Not all Muslims are Arabs. In fact, only roughly 13% of Muslims are Arabs. However, I feel that it would be a disservice to my Arab ancestors if I didn’t explain the Arab attire to my fellow human beings with less skin pigmentation.

Just like in winters of Europe and North America when the temperatures dip below 0°C (32°F) bundling up doesn’t remain optional but a necessity, lack of which could have deadly results, in the summers of Middle East when temperatures soar above 40°C (104°F) baring it all to beat the heat does not remain an option and such an attempt quickly turns into a misadventure – even stupidity, if you will, and a deadly one at that. Arab clothing and headgear is the result of warmer climate and very hot summers of Middle East.

Before the advent of modern technology, Arabs had to work and travel in temperatures that were well above 40°C (104°F) on regular basis. In vast deserts of Middle East, it is not uncommon to find no sign of vegetation or trees, hence no respite from scorching sun, for hundreds of kilometers. In this kind of heat, if temperatures don’t kill you sunburn will. Arabs, over more than past two millennia, have developed their traditional garb not because of tradition or even religion but because of necessity and practicality. The Middle Eastern outfits are simple, practical and easy to maintain. They protect you from scorching sun and blowing sand and, at the same time, let breeze in and provide enough ventilation to help a human body keep a bearable, if not comfortable, temperature. In North America, many people, from various backgrounds, who work outside in summer, on really hot days often put a towel, handkerchief or some other piece of cloth under their baseball cap or hard hat to cover the backsides of their heads and necks from sun. Does this way of protection from heat remind you of something? It serves the same purpose as traditional headgear, called keffiyeh, worn by Arabs.

In conclusion, traditional clothing of Arabs was born out of practicality rather than religion and if someone from Middle East insists on wearing it in cold winters of North America it is not because of religious obligation but out of sheer pride on traditions and also because modern indoor climate control technology lets them do so. Some North American Muslims of mostly Indian background tend to wear Arab clothing with a belief that this garb is somehow Islamic, which is another sign of religious ignorance of modern Muslims.

Hateful Claim 4:

Muslims do not condemn terrorism and even tacitly support it.

My Response 4:

Imagine a scenario. Forget about scenario. Remember all those attacks on Americans on foreign soils where many US citizens were killed and injured and the attackers claimed that the attacks were in retaliation to US foreign policy? Since the end of Second World War, US has always been involved in one armed conflict or another with its boots on the ground on foreign soils. All those soldiers, while serving their country, end up dying for dubious reasons which are often extracted from the whimsical ideologies and beliefs of some hawkish politicians who managed to get elected with empty promises of better lives for average Americans.

How would an average American feel if someone came up to them and asked them to condemn and apologise for the actions of their government? An average American has nothing to do with the actions of US government and the reactions to those actions. No one is justified in asking any average American, who is not on a powerful position in government, to condemn unjust violence brought upon peoples of other countries by successive US governments.

All of the terrorism committed in the name of Islam is result of actions of different governments or reactions to those actions. US government is always one of those bungling administrations.

Just because US governments are killing people in the name of US, why should an average American be asked to vocally condemn such atrocities?

Just because terrorists are killing people in the name of Islam, why should an average Muslim be asked to vocally condemn such atrocities?

Hateful Claim 5:

Muhammad was a pedophile because he married a 6-years-old.

My Response 5:

First of all, the concept of pedophilia is very new and modern, and is not applicable to something that took place more than 1400 hundred years ago. People, in their raging hatred of Muslims, forget that marriage at much younger ages, especially for women, was common throughout the entire world. Even today, in many US states, even though a woman is considered officially adult at the age of 18, she can get married at the age of 16 with parental consent – a legal paradox which will make her husband technically a pedophile.

The most commonly cited source about the age of Ayesha, the supposed child-bride of Muhammad, is herself. Her claim that she was 9 at the time of consummation of her marriage cannot be historically verified. Some historians have refuted the claims about her being so young at the time of her marriage and have put her age between 16 and 19 at the minimum.

One explanation for Ayesha’s age is that like many Arabs of her time, Ayesha had a habit of using short forms of words in her conversation. This practice of diminution of words was not let down even for the numbers. Therefore, 16 became 6 and 19 became 9. This practice can be seen in North America during the conversations about motor vehicles and residential units. Price of a car can be 37 (meaning $37,000) or 14 (meaning $14,000). A new condo could cost you in low 200’s (meaning above $200,000 and below $250,000).

Muslim clerics, throughout varied cultures where Islam eventually became primary religion, have been promoting Ayesha’s supposed young age as a way of allowing for child marriages and to provide a religious cover to a cultural practice which eventually became first a transgression in the eyes of the society then a crime in the eyes of the law.


Muslims don’t believe in Jesus’ crucifixion, however, he, being a prophet of Islam, provides them a guiding beacon with his patience and resilience against all the opposition and oppression which he endured. Those terrorists, who claim to be Muslims and followers of Muhammad and yet kill innocent non-combatant non-Muslims in the name of Islam, have forgotten that Muhammad’s charity didn’t ask the religion when he gave up his only meal in several days to feed a hungry, when his shoes were full of blood and he refused to wish ill of those people who made him bleed, when he tended to a sick old woman who used to throw garbage at him from her roof as he walked past her house.

Muhammad’s charity, Jesus’ suffering, Job’s patience, Abraham’s sacrifice, Moses’ strength, each and every one of these historical figures is a guiding beacon of Islam. All these prophets were sent by the same God to many different people to guide them to the same path of piety and care for fellow human beings. Some modern Muslims, in their quest for an Islamic Utopia, which never existed and they falsely believe that it did right after the time of Prophet Muhammad, have gone overboard and have brought destruction upon all those that they deem obstacles – including other Muslims – leaving a trail of dystopian carnage behind them. These so-called Islamists will never be able to realize the utopia that they seek for nothing of this sort is possible, and also because those who seemingly peruse a dream of caliphate are in this struggle not to achieve a goal but the violence that is supposed to achieve that goal. It’s not the destination but the journey that matters.

The ordinary Muslims, who have nothing to do with terrorism, who don’t even understand the reasons behind terrorists attacks and are even victims of majority of terrorism, should not be expected to apologise for things that did not do. However, an ordinary Muslim who is working hard to provide for his or her family is expected to constantly show remorse and be contrite for things he or she has nothing to do with. That’s the Muslim burden. A clown wears ridiculous makeup to show that he is funny, regardless of whether or not he is able to get any laughs. Sometimes it feels like ordinary Muslims are expected to constantly wear some kind of apology makeup to show others how embarrassed and sorry they are for the actions of what some other people did in the name of Islam. This burden is getting too much to bear.