SEXISM AMONGST ARAB AMERICANS
FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
In America, we deal with sexism everyday. In the work place, at home, in our cultures, at school, etc., but my main focus in this research paper is sexism among Arab Americans. Being an Arab American myself, I have dealt with this brutal issue all my life. Not being able to go to prom, to the movies on a Friday night with my friends, to hang out in gender-mixed functions all due to the simple fact that I am a girl has caused internal conflicts leading to feelings of distress, shame, and sadness. This paper will introduce the reader to the depth of sexism among Arab Americans. You will learn about Sharia Allah Laws and the impact they have on women, the rights that women are deprived in this culture, and sexism in education.
Sexism is discrimination based on a person’s sex. This practice could be the result of an upbringing with beliefs that one gender is naturally superior to the other. Sexism can bring forth sexual harassment, rape and other forms of sexual violence. Although women are usually the targets of sexism, there have been cases of men being targeted as well.
The place where sexism is perhaps mostly demonstrated is the Middle East. Women of the Arab culture have practically no rights or any means of defending themselves. A Middle Eastern woman's role is nothing more than to breed and be a housekeeper for the man of the house. In some countries, women are legally not allowed to drive or even receive an education. The main religion of the region is Islam, and in the Qur'an it emphasizes that men and women are equal, women are still treated as possessions of their fathers before marriage, and that of their husbands once they are married, emphasizing that at no point in their lives do these women have their own sense of identity.
Syria is a prime example of a Middle Eastern nation that practices sexism. “Sexual abuse has long been a hidden crime in Syria. Official statistics on spousal rape and abuse are virtually nonexistent, although recent studies show that one in four Syrian women surveyed reported that they have been victims of sexual abuse” (Barber & Xie, 2013).
Sharia Allah Laws: the Impact on Women
Sharia Allah law is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia deals with crime, politics, and economics, as well as sex, cleanliness and health, diet, prayer and fasting. Although different cultures practice Sharia differently, in its strictest form it is considered the direct law of God—as opposed to our judicial system who practices their understanding of the laws. “According to Article 508 of the Sharia penal code; ‘If there is a contracted marriage between the man who commits the rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping, or sexual harassment, and the victim, then there is no charge or the punishment is stopped.” (Barber & Xie, 2013) In other words, there is no law against spousal rape; instead the law promotes the rapists to marry their victims. Since the law has no control over domestic abuse, honor crimes (which consist of adultery, refusal of an arranged marriage or a marriage of free will) have occurred more frequent than ever before. Victims of honor crimes have also consisted of gay, lesbian and transgender people. In Syria, between 300 and 400 cases of such honor crimes occur annually. Article 129 of the Syrian penal code allows judges to reduce the seriousness of the penalty sentence when “honor” was a motive for the murder. Women have no opportunity to defend themselves, while men have no other socially acceptable alternatives to regain their honor except by attacking the very objects of their dishonor.
Rights that Women Are Deprived
"Imagine you're a woman whose husband breaks her nose, arm, or leg, and you go to the Qadi to lodge a complaint. When the Qadi asks you about your complaint, and you say, 'He beat me,' he responds reproachfully 'That's all?' In other words, [for the...
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