The American Muslim Woman
In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on the city of New York and its Twin Towers, the existence of Muslims in the United States has increasingly increased apprehensions among the American people. Muslims are lumped together and the American perceptions are based more on stereotyping than actual empirical research, according to Esposito, “All too often the coverage of Islam and the Muslim world conclude there is a monolithic Islam out there somewhere, believing and thinking as one, “The imagery embedded in American’s “has profoundly affected the perception of Islam and the Middle East.”(Esposito, 2009) Points and the concerns about the danger of terrorism have caused for Muslims and Americans to equally be affected in a negative way. Tempers have flared, hatred has been aroused, and hate crimes have been perpetrated against individuals suspected of being linked to terrorism. Often women have been the victims of this prejudice and opposition. Some Americans are deeply persuaded that Muslim women are guilty not only of violent behavior but then also of being suppressed and inferior to men. For these reasons I decided to portray the circumstances of Muslim women in the United States, before 9/11 and after. Hopefully one day the American 2 people will cultivate a more accurate understanding of Islam and the Muslim women in the West. “We are now engaged in a worldwide effort to focus on the brutality against women and children by the Taliban,” declared Laura Bush, the First Lady of the United States, in November of 2001. She addressed the nation with a theme that echoed the Western characterization of Islam and its females. It identified the oppression of women as intimately linked to what is often portrayed as the violent nature of the religion and affirmed that the cause of liberating Muslim women from their bondage is part of the American mission to the Islamic world. Mrs. Bush argued, “That the cruel oppression of the women experienced in Afghanistan is a central goal of the terrorists who would like to impose their will on the rest of the world.” Saving the women of Islam became part of the post 9/11 western agenda. The issue at hand is not whether repression of women has been present in Muslim cultures or whether it is unique to these societies. It has existed and continues to exist in some Islamic countries, as is true of other cultures, and some American Muslim women have been working in collaboration with their counterparts in various parts of the world to help institute the parity between men and women that they believe to be fundamental tenet to Islam as revealed in the Qur’an. Western association of the religion of Islam with the violent oppression of women has been used by more than one American administration to provoke emotional support for American adventures overseas. The by-product has been misunderstanding and 3 discrimination by the American people. Muslim women must contend not only with the rising level of anti-Islamic sentiment, but also with the increasingly popular belief that Islam treats women like second class citizens. The appeal for a better understanding of the true relationship of women in Islam, and the acknowledgement that many traditional roles and expectations for Muslims women are changing, most notably in the West, are a high priority of the American Muslims who are trying to determine how they define themselves. Understanding Islam is the first step in bridging the religious divide that America currently faces. America must get to know the people of Islam and their cultural imperatives. Our...