Oh. So then why do you do this?

That was the question a friend asked me when he implied that I wrote for an audience when I write here, and I replied, “I don’t think I really write for anyone. I don’t think I’ve ever really written for anyone.”
Sometimes people comment or send me a message saying “I really enjoy reading you, even though I’m not part of your intended audience.” And it surprises me, and I think but if I don’t have one, aren’t you? I’m glad you’re here.
I must give the impression that I have an intended audience. As a matter of fact, I think I came right out and said it in one of these posts. I think I’ve said even more about who my audience isn’t. You can find that information to your upper right.
“I got the impression you wanted to lecture terrorists about how they’re wrong to be terrorists,” he said half-jokingly.
“Yeah, I’m sure al-Qaida is following my blog closely.”
Terrorists know damn well that they’re wrong to be terrorists. They know the excuses they give are… excuses. I don’t care about explaining that this isn’t what God wants, because they don’t care. I was never interested.
But another understandable assumption has been that I’m using this as means of reaching those who really, actually do believe they are doing is what God wants–because we are inclined believe that they do exist, and they do oppress believing that oppression is the Message. They aren’t the ones blowing themselves up, they’re the ones actively oppressing women because they believe it’s what Islam dictates, and they are a greater number than suicide bombers. They really believe it, and if they knew it’s not God’s will as they think it is, they would stop at once, right? Right?
It would be naive to think so. They know, too, that this isn’t God’s message. They know this as well as the terrorists know it. I’ve learned that from, among others, the Muslim guy who randomly told me that women are not capable of being logical enough to be proper witnesses when I pointed out to him the exact text in the Qur’an that states a woman’s witness is enough. I showed him, and he went straight to an irrelevant exploitation of evolutionary psychology that had nothing to do with God. It wasn’t even accurate science, but who cares if I’m the one rolling my eyes, because what do women know of the nature of sciency sciencyness?
Have we learned nothing from the confirmation bias of non-Muslim American men? It doesn’t stop there. When women make any progress, we are bombarded with cries of outrage from men who say they fear misconduct or disorder or “reverse” sexism, even though we all know that this is not a competition, that allowing women to practice their God-given rights does not take these rights away from men. And yet there is resistance. They tell us that feminism is outdated now, but they’ve been saying that for centuries. Feminism became outdated when men could go to jail for drugging and beating their wives. “What else do you want? You’re getting too much power!” Feminism became outdated when women could vote. “What else do you want? You’re getting too much power!” Feminism became outdated when women could apply for the same jobs as men. “What else do you want? You’re getting too much power!”
And feminism is outdated today. “Your movement is useless now,” a man tells me. “It used to serve a purpose but now–“
Yeah, you know what? The douchecanoes who lived back when women were not allowed to practice their right to apply for whatever job they wanted believed feminism was outdated after that last accomplishment too.
I’m not here for them.
The third impression is that this space exists to explain to non-Muslims how ignorant they are to assume that the creep who posts Quranic verses out of context in the Youtube comments section to “prove that Islam is a violent religion” is onto something.
Educating a privileged majority is not my responsibility. I am happy to engage with those who have good faith and are really interested without gloating a presumptuous agenda, but if anyone’s looking for something to just confirm their bigoted beliefs about Islam and Muslims–you’re going to go on believing it no matter what I say. So I choose not to waste my time with you. You can use my hostile, dismissive attitude to prove that all Muslims indeed have something to hide. There, I’ve given you some great material. You’re welcome.
“Are you just doing it to organize yourself?” he asked. “Sometimes it sounds like you’re talking to someone. Your other stuff”–he refers to my creative writing–“doesn’t.”
“Little girls.”
Little girls who are not aware of their own rights because they have been taught interpretations that submit to patriarchy rather than to God. Little girls who have been taught histories with portions erased and traditions that have been modified since the Prophet’s time. Little girls who’ve been taught to believe that God doesn’t listen to little girls.
And so we put Quranic verses back in their contexts and correct mistranslations. These are not reinterpretations, they are not “liberal” or “conservative” interpretations. They are, if anything, the original interpretations. The rights that God gave to women are not negotiable by men or subject to liberal or conservative interpretations. These rights are absolutely clear in the Qur’an, and it is only cultural and political ideology that has modified them to be used as political weapons.
“For little girls like me,” I said.

And for myself, because I need you.

8 thoughts on “Oh. So then why do you do this?

  1. I like this post. I was a little hesitant to engage with you about some of the questions I asked, because like you said, I don't feel it's your responsibility to educate non-Muslims (I assumed you were writing to a Muslim audience), but for all the googling I can do, you seem to have insights that aren't… common to a lot of stuff I've read. I'm actually going to use your explanation of the "two women's testimony =/= one man's" the next time my aunt brings it up (she married a Muslim and lived in Malaysia for 10 years, I keep telling her Malaysia does not equal every Muslim society ever). So I appreciate that you do write here, whether or not I am part of your intended audience.Random sidenote, what's a PDD? All I can think of when I see those letters is Pervasive Developmental Disorder and that makes no sense.

  2. Thank you! You've been nothing but wonderful here and you're more than welcome to ask questions.PDD=Privilege Denying Dude. You're not the first person who thought of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. I think I'll actually write it out.

  3. This is really awesome, and similar to the reasons that I blog, if I think about it. Except I blog for the boys, the ones who think women don't like to fuck and can't be nerdy and don't like nice guys, and that they've got to choose between celibacy and being who they are. Patriarchy gives everyone a raw deal, doesn't it? :)

  4. I'm just really really glad you're writing here, Nahida, and I look forward to reading your posts. Like the "two women's testimony =/= one man's" post made my day.(Oh, and thanks for spelling out Privilege Denying Dude. I figured you didn't mean PDD as in autism, etc.)

  5. Awwe thanks Galla! And I should have written it out earlier, but I didn't fully realize that privilege denying dude is not for what it's most commonly known to stand.


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