If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'm angry.
I know that's not unusual but I really need to vent.

There are a lot of Muslim community organisations here in Australia that claim to work for the well being of the Muslim communities here. One of them is a Muslim women's organisation that gets government funding to provide services to Muslim women.

While these kinds of organisations may do some good work, they are often staffed by inexperienced women who have a particular view of Islamic teachings. Very few are secular Muslims. Most wear the hijab or the burqa. That's fine. I have no problem with that- while I do not agree with it I will always defend a woman's right to wear it if she so chooses- just as I would defend a woman's right to wear a bikini if she so chooses.

The problem is that these organisations often only provide services to like minded women. Often the kinds of 'services' they provide serve, not to assist women to integrate and participate in the broader community, but to keep them in their place. I call these organisations The Enablers.

They advocate for Sharia divorce courts. Why? We have a legal system in Australia to deal with divorces regardless of religion.

They advocate for Muslim women only swimming sessions at local pools. Why? Most pools have women's only sessions but they will not mix with Western women.

They advocate for Muslim women only English language classes. Why? Nearly all higher education institutions are mixed sex.

But what really pisses me off is that they often have first hand information about women and young girls being beaten by their husbands and fathers. And they do nothing about it. They work under a shroud of silence and enable these abusive conditions to continue. They prefer to deal with problems themselves and will not admit that they simply do not have the capacity to find solutions.

I've met a lot of Muslim women who do not wear hijab and who have gone to these kinds of organisations seeking assistance. They have been treated as outsiders, as somehow less Muslim and therefore less worthy.

It's not unusual for Muslims in the diaspora to take the moral highground. Heck! Every Muslim I meet tries to make out that they are more Muslim than the Muslim I met before them! But it really starts to get serious when there are women and girls being beaten and the only people offering assistance are there to keep them where they are. It's shameful.


Terry Crane said...

Not reporting abuse of a minor is a crime in Australia, yet I am certain our Government has no guts to prosecute a Muslim organisation for something like that.

Yet I can tell you that all ethnic communities, although maybe not that criminal, do operate on the same principle "help people to get better, but not better then me". And those who integrate _do_ get better then them, so do not expect any help in this direction.

Integrate, and you get to know much more much better people, including those of you background.

IMO, the Governments in Australia practically traded the rights of Muslim women for public safety. One would expect that growing up in gender-segregated communities do not eqip Muslim males with social skills required for attracting free and independent women, and the Governments fears that tens of thousands of desperate family-less Muslim males will start an "intifada" in Australia.

As far as those Enablers go, they are nothing more then the cases misdirected aggression. They want to express their unhappiness, yet fear the repurcussions. So they object what they can object safely - Israel, Jews in general, Government etc.

The Usual Suspect said...

Thanks for your post.
There are a lot of Muslim men and women like me who refuse to let the Enablers take over the face of Muslims in Australia.
Muslims have been in Australia for hundreds of years and have helped build and shape this nation.
Here is how I see it- Muslims who migrated to Australia in the 60's, 70's and 80's migrated at a time when their own countries in the Middle East were fairly modernised and embraced modernisation. Egypt was extremely modern as was Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. Women often wore western dress and were well educated.
However, over the decades, the Mid East has become increasingly more fundamental thanks to the Taliban in Afghanistan as well as a growing sense of injustice at US foreign policy in the Mid East.
Newer migrants from the Mid East have grown up in these regimes and have a very different approach to the Koran and to Islamic teachings. Many more of the women wear hijab or burqa and their approach to Islam is a lot more rigid.
It is only in the past decade or so that I have been judged by other Muslims (mainly newer arrivals) for not choosing to wear hijab and for the way I practice my religion.
The face of Australian Muslims has changed.

The Raccoon said...

Take the power back, TUS!

Be with strength and courage :)

The Usual Suspect said...

You rock!