Muslim Women

953 Words4 Pages
The American media has a tendency to portray Muslims in a negative light. Some pity Muslims while others feel pure disdain for them. This statement made by Ann Coulter (2001) following the September 11th terrorist attacks demonstrates the disdain for Muslims, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity” (as cited in Arab American National Museum, 2011). While this particular statement was directed at all Muslims, there are also many misconceptions directed solely at Muslim women. In this essay, I will discuss the issue of Muslim women and some of the ways in which their reality contradicts the common media representations of women in that area.

The first common media representation of Muslim women that I will dispel is that they have no rights. In fact, long before Western women even realized they were lacking in rights, Muslim women already had both cultural and spiritual rights (as cited in Arab Women: Potentials and Prospects, n.d.). This is so because to quote Akbar S. Ahmed (1999), “Islam is the religion of equality” (p. 151). Prior to Islam women were controlled by the rules of their individual tribes and some of those tribes provided many rights while others were quite chauvinistic (as cited in Arab Women: Potentials and Prospects, n.d.). The birth of Islam freed the women in chauvinistic societies and as Nouha al-Hegelan (1980) an Arab immigrant to the United States, said “gave them the dignity of humanity and the pride of being a woman” (as cited in Arab Women: Potentials and Prospects, n.d.). The rights provided by Islam include the right to initiate divorce, to inherit property, to voice their opinions regarding home and public life, to conduct business and even own...

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...ndividuals or certain Muslim groups that practice things that align with the Western stereotypes, but despite them practicing it, their actions are not the teachings of Islam. There may also be non-Muslim individuals or groups that practice those things, but again they are not following the teaching of Islam.

Works Cited

Ahmed, A. S. (1999). Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World. New York: I. B. Tauris.

Allen, M. (2006). Arabs . New York: Continuum.

Arab American National Museum. (2011). Remarks by Leaders, Scholars and Pundits. Retrieved October 6, 2011, from Reclaiming Identity: Dismantling Arab Stereotypes: http://arabstereotypes.org/popular-perceptions/remarks-leaders-scholars-and-pundits

Arab Women: Potentials and Prospects. (n.d.). Retrieved October 6, 2011, from Cornell.edu: http://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/arbwomn.htm
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