There was a time in my life when the issue of Islam promoting violence against women (including the sexual use of widows and orphans during/after war) was a huge barrier to my ability to authentically love my Muslim friends. When I saw the hijab, heard the call to prayer, or saw a Qur'an, I thought of these passages like reflex. I felt disgust, pain, and impatience - like, "How long will you give loyalty to this man?"(The Shahada makes it clear that Islam is loyalty not only to Allah, but to Mohammad as well.) To me, these symbols represented loyalty to a man whose words and behavior brought pain into countless lives...It was very difficult to see. Today, I want to share a video of Nabeel Qureshi speaking at a Crescent Project event. Nabeel shares about what it was like to encounter these passages about violence for the first time. Having legitimately never heard or known. I'm sharing this today because we live in the Information Era, where it's so easy to assume that you and your friend are starting a conversation with the same basic/essential facts and understandings. But this is a wrong assumption. It's necessary that we ask good questions, listen well, and try to authentically understand what our friends believe (and why.) I had to let go of my belief that hijab = knowing truth about Mohammad and accepting this as good. I had to relearn love. Love gives benefit of the doubt; love is patient; love is slow to speak and quick to listen; love doesn't make assumptions. I hope this video is a blessing to you today. What stood out to you?
Yesterday after work, I met my new Muslim friend for coffee. This was our 3rd meeting, and she had met me at a mutual friend's going away party. She is leaving to go back home next month, as she is was part of research work here at our local university. She was sharing that her children attend private school back in Cairo. I asked her if they studied Islam, and she said yes and that there are Christians in the school as well, but they have separate classes to learn about Christianity. She then explained that they all get along there and that some people think that Muslims are terrorists, but really this is not true. She then explained that some people see the head scarf and they think this. So, I asked her has anyone here been rude to her. She then shared with me a shocking story. About a month ago, she was walking alone late in the evening before dark, near her apartment here in her town. All of a sudden, a man grabbed her lower waist from behind! She had no idea he was behind her and she started screaming and he ran away and got in his car across the street and sped away! I asked her if she had reported it, and she looked at me, and said that it all happened in about a minute's time and that she did not have a good description of him except that he was a light skinned black man and weighed about 170 lbs and had an older dark blue car. I asked her if she had shared this with her husband, back in Cairo. "No, he would not let me return here if he found out." She had shared it with a few close friends here. She then shared that she no longer wears the clothes she wore that day because it reminds her of the incident. I asked her if she would show me where it happened when I drove her back to her apartment. As we were driving back, she shared with me that this takes place many times in Cairo, but the women do not report it. I knew where this was going...so I asked, "Why, because it is considered a shame?" She replied, " yes, we would not tell our husband, or anyone." Listening to her last night and seeing her expression on her face when she retold the story to me just makes it more real how shame dominates and intimidates Muslim women. It also made me realize how she had trusted me to share this story with me. It made me realize how God had protected her and how she could have been raped or even murdered, had the attacker been able to go thru with the evil plan that he had intended for my friend. I do not know what we can do as Christian women to reach our friends who have the shame to deal with over what we see as something to report to the police! I wonder if some of the men here in USA are targeting Muslim women because they know most likely they will not report the attempted attack or rape?