I strongly recommend reading that article.
It will probably be a generation or more before we discover how many times Muslim men in North America and Europe have beaten or killed their wives and children. Aside from the dominant culture's seeming hesitancy to appear "intolerant" of non-western customs, Muslim women may be understandably hesitant to embarrass other Muslims and Islam. Even after they learn that routine beatings aren't acceptable in their new country.
I make a distinction between
- Muslims like the people who put organizations like American Islamic Forum for Democracy together, and
- More traditionalist Muslims of the sort who equipped two women with Down's Syndrom with remote control bombs today
I think that old-fashioned Muslims, particularly in America, face a terrible choice.
- If they choose, they may become part of a vibrant culture which has already welcomed them.
- Or, those Muslims may try to turn back the clock, and live as many of our ancestors did, a thousand or more years ago.
- The few noisy hotheads who are genuinely anti-Islamic will make it difficult for many Muslims to feel accepted.
- Understanding western culture may take time: for example, that the right to build mosques, pray daily, and read the Quran is part of American law, but that assault and homicide are not acceptable religious observances.
- Learning to live in a world where not everyone lives in the seventh century may require a radical and profound re-thinking of what Islam is: and I've gotten the impression that Islam hasn't encouraged that sort of intellectual curiosity for a very, very long time.
- Muslim women who will, like it or not, discover that being beaten isn't acceptable.
- Infidels who regard killing one's children as reprehensible; and, more to the point, illegal.
- Everyone who has embraced the last several centuries' progress in human rights; particularly those changes which came from a revolution by some British colonies, in the 18th century.
"Shariq Siddiqui, the executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, says some Muslims manipulate their faith and culture to justify abuse.
" 'I hate to use him as an example, but Usama bin Laden is doing this at a macro level, and Muslim-American men who abuse women are doing it at a micro level,' says Siddiqui, who works with Muslim domestic violence victims through the Julian Center, a non-profit agency in Indianapolis.
"But many are reluctant to quantify to what degree Muslim faith perpetuates the problem.
"Practicing Muslims, even battered women, do not want to portray Islam as an abusive religion or demonize all Muslim men.
" 'There's domestic abuse in every community,' says Rafia Zakaria, an Indiana University scholar and writer who is working to educate Muslims about spousal abuse."
Finally, at the risk of seeming anti-Islamic, here's a Houston-area organization created by "a few determined women" who want to "help women, children and families in crisis."
DAYA Houston (www.dayahouston.org):
"Serving South Asian Families in Crisis
"DAYA promotes healthy family relationships in the South-Asian community by providing services that include counseling, referrals, legal advocacy, and financial support to women and children affected by family violence and sexual assault. Daya also promotes awareness on topics relevant to the welfare of South Asian families through educational seminars, publications, and outreach events.
"Help Line: 713-981-7645
"A crisis counselor is available to answer your call Monday-Friday, 9 AM-5 PM.
Our voicemail system is available after hours and on weekends."
Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.