Paying close attention to the debate over American Muslims, mosques, and religion and ideology leading up to this September 11th, something has been bothering me.
It’s subtle really. One of those talking points we’ve heard endless times on cable news and blogs and in facebook debates with family and friends.
They are barbaric. They STONE their women. They are not peaceful.
They, of course, being Muslims.
I have yet to find anyone who isn’t appalled by the stoning of a woman. I have yet to find an American not shocked by the treatment of a gender in some parts of the world, Muslim nations included.
But I’ve realized what, about this debate, has been bugging me:
All these American men calling out the stoning of a woman as “barbaric” while so many American women still suffer domestic violence at home. All these men of a certain generation, and a certain region, and a certain culture- using the stoning as if they are suddenly aware that women are often beaten, raped, treated as less than equals.
I watched a family member post about this on facebook- condemning (and rightfully so) the stoning of women by extreme Muslims all the while I was thinking “but your Dad beat your Mom, your Dad beat you…yet you sit on your high horse about how this culture operates…”
I’m thankful the treatment of women globally has become a concern for some of these friends and family members…many of whom I know for a fact either suffered or saw domestic abuse in their own homes. However their sudden and vehement disgust at how extremists operate in other countries rings hollow for me, when they seem to turn a blind eye to what has happened in their own families over the years.
Was it not my grandmother’s generation that saw domestic abuse ignored and endorsed by police?
Nothing but a family matter here, sometimes these women have it coming.
Was it not my mother’s generation that bore the stigma of the “women who left” and the “women who stayed” – where I can’t tell you how many times my Dad or Mom had to enter a certain family member’s home to hide or try to take away guns and grab kids.
Not too many years ago I sat in a “hardshell” Christian church where as a woman, I needed to be separated from my husband and son.
“Well that was just a different time and those people have different ways”- was the excuse given.
The things we dismiss in our own families, in our own history, in our own culture while we call other barbarians and evil and anything but peaceful.
While Americans are in an uproar over extremists Islamic practice, we seem to fail to realize our culture can be just a brutal and our extremists just as barbaric. Or worse, hidden below the surface, where instead of a public stoning we have an Aunt who “bumped into a door” or a niece “not allowed” to wear a skirt above her shin.
While the rhetoric continues to fly, and more seem to have epiphanies about the treatment of women, I hope they also look in their own communities and remember we are not so different. We are not so much better. And we certainly are not innocent.
I encourage you to drop the holier-than-thou act, pretending this land far away is so foreign and strange and evil, while your own country and men so pure and good.
The only difference I see is these men don’t care what the world thinks and openly treat their women poorly, while you hide the cuts on your knuckles and fan away your own cultural and family history as “things were different then” or “that’s just not how that part of the family works.”
There is no excuse. Ever. Not in Iran. Not in Saudi Arabia. And certainly not here in the United States.