Monday, October 22, 2007

Misinformed or Malicious: Non-Muslim writers on Muslim Women

I spend a lot of time on search engines, trying to get our readers the latest on Muslim women (still, tips are oh-so appreciated!). So if you search for “Muslim women” on Google, you’re likely to find The Muslim Woman, a blog that reports news and culture concerning Muslim women. It’s not all negative, but it’s not a happy-go-lucky picnic, either.

My beef with this blog is the biased language used. Something tells me they’re not Muslim by the way they talk about us. When referring to the horrible incident of Shi’a women killing Sunni women in Iraq, the poster mandira13aug claimed:

“Despite becoming victims of permanent threat of shooting, bomb attacks, kidnappings and a group of Muslim women in Iraq could even think to kill another group of Muslim women? But this is a harsh reality and slowly becoming common practice in Iraq.”

So because a group of women belonging to one sect reprehensibly attacked women of another sect in one instance, it’s becoming “common practice”? I thought common practice was something that happened all the time, not just once.

The author also seems to think that “becoming victims of permanent threat of shooting, bomb attacks, kidnappings and rape” wouldn’t make anybody crack. How could a group of Muslim women even think to kill another group of Muslim women? I’ll tell you how. It’s a horrible thought, but it’s a truth: they are in an extremely unstable country! Living in fear, instability, and uncertainty will psychologically ruin anyone—so why is the author so shocked? Why isn’t the author shocked that groups of Muslim men are killing each other in Iraq?

And the title of this post is “When Women Losses [sic] Kindness, Lovingness…?” So because these women have participated in a horrible act that Allah will judge them for, they’ve lost all their “kindness” and “lovingness”? Does the author think that these women don’t love their children? Does the author think that these women don’t care for their elderly parents or their siblings? When someone picks up a gun, they don’t necessarily lose their humanity.

This isn’t the only post that uses language that ruffles my feathers. Take a look at other melodramatically-titled posts, like Pooja’s “Yemen: Women are being repeatedly assaulted by their husbands or fathers.” I guess Pooja thinks that Yemen’s national pastime is beating down the nearest female. Even though family abuse occurs in every nation in the world.

Another article, entitled “21st Century Veiled Phenomenon: Women Jihadist” by Himadree starts out with this sentence: “Women might be narcissist [sic], yet they can be a venomous threat if circumstances call for it.” I guess unlike mandira13aug, who doesn’t believe that Muslim women are capable of being women and using guns, Himadree thinks that women are both narcissists and dangerous snakes: “Muslim women are no longer hiding behind the veil but becoming a menacing threat to the society as a whole.”

With a statement like that, one can’t help but question these bloggers’ motives. Their profiles all reveal that they live in India. In a country that doesn’t always treat women like maharanis (and that has documented racism against Muslim women), wouldn’t it be more productive to blog against injustices against your own sisters? Poster mandira13aug doesn’t seem to think so: she also writes for We The Women, with similarly pseudo-news covered in opinion. On all of these blogs, I’ve only seen one post about women in India. And you can bet it was dripping with hope and inspiration

More current posts are positive and respectful (for example: “Bangladesh: Not an exception to the scourge of female subordination”; an intimidating title, but a good post). The appearance of positive news about Muslim (and other) women on these blogs leads me to conclude that they may not be purposefully malicious in their postings…perhaps they’re just really ill-informed or unaware of their bias. I appreciate their attempt at balanced news. But being ignorant and being racist are just shades of the same hateful color.