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Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: Anonymous, I just wonder...

Submitted by Annonymous (Sweden), Feb 28, 2006 at 06:02

Dear Armageddon,

I am trying to answer your questions:

(YOU SAID: I guess you are not an American but I suspect you chose to live in Europe rather than in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia or any other such democratic country that you have mentioned as an example of democracy where women are presidents and are treated much much better than in Europe or in America.)

My answer: You're right, I am not an American. But I did not choose to live in Europe. Though I don't like to discuss personal matters, I think I should tell you something about myself and my family so that you understand that Muslim women enjoy freedom too. I come from a non-Arab muslim society where women are not forced to wear hijab. Education is mandatory for girls by law. I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers and all of us were treated in the same way by our parents. My first sister is a lawyer, she did her graduation and Masters in my country, then did her PhD from Canada. Her husband (an educated Muslim) quit his job and took care of their two children when she was doing her PhD. My second sister is a doctor, she never got married. She is working in the UN, and has been posted to South Asian countries. My third sister is an Architect, so is her husband. They are both teaching in a University in an Arab country. I am the fourth. I did my Masters in Social Science from a university at my country of origin, then I did another Masters and also a diploma from USA and UK. I am working in an international organisation and I have visited and lived in many countries around the world. I am 35 now, married for the last 11 years (wtih the same Muslim man, my childhood sweetheart). I got all cooperation from my husband as regards my education and job. He took 3 years leave without pay from his job when I was posted to India. He took care of my daughter when I was studying in UK. My youngest sister is also a doctor, and married to another doctor. They are both working in a reputed hospital in my country.

All of us chose our husbands and were never forced to marry without our consent. Our parents allowed us to go out alone, bring our boyfriends home for tea or dinner. But we were not allowed to spend night outside, or come back late after sunset, drink alcholol or were indecent dress. This rule was applicable to my brothers as well. We had to wake up early in the morning, go to school, after school only 3 hours time to play, watch tv. Then we had to study for 2/3 hours, finish our homework, then watch tv (Hawaii 5-O, Dallas, Star treck or Remington Steel sort of American tv series were our favoutite, and we thought America was a dream country!!!! and let me tell you secretly that I fell in love with Pierce Brosnan!... My second sister was a great fan of George Michael and her wall was covered by George Michael posters! )We also had small disco parties at home and we danced with boys (usually classmates).

I am saying all these things to you so that you understand that we were normal teenagers like young girls in every society. But yes, sex was absolutely prohibited. My mother taught us not to go to bed someone unless you're married to him. She also taught us not to show our body to anyone but husband. We talked to male friends, studied, played but never ever kissed or had sex with them. When I was 19, I met my husband. We waited for each other till we completed our studies and got married at 24. Is this story very different from young girls in your society?

Armageddon, it really surprises me when you say that Muslim women are oppressed and uneducated and blah blah blah. Yes I know the condition of Afghan women in Taliban period, I also know of some Arab societies where they are not allowed to drive cars or vote. But this is not said in Islam, for God's sake! 85% of Muslims are non-Arabs! I have quoted Muslims in Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Turkey not as 'models for democracy' but to show you that these are the countries with largest Muslim populations- and in all these countries, women reached the top-most positions. Had they been oppressed and had the men held strong prejudice against female-leadership, these women could not have become presidents or prime ministers!

Someone commented that they became president because their fathers or husbands were president..! Ok, fine, but your country also has a son-president the daddy-presidents... and ex-president's wife is expected to run the elections. But you'll have to go a long, long way to get a woman president, even a black one! Democracy means providing equal opportunity to all irrespective of gender, colour and creed. Practice, however, is different in different places.

(YOU ASKED: Do you think Muslims should continue to immigrate to Europe ?
When Muslims will predominate in Europe, do you believe that Europe will have a better life than today ? It will still be a free continent ? Which one of the current Islamic countries do you choose as a model for Europe in the future ? Is it Bangladesh ? Indonesia ? Other ?)

My answer to you: Well, I am neither an anthropologist, nor a fortuneteller! I don't know, in the world of globalisation, who will go where. Migration is not a phenomenon in the post-second world-war era. Migration had always been there in the history of mankind. Otherwise, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa did not have any white population. People have always wandered from place to place for better life. They built colonies, stayed put. And, if you read history, you'll find that when people settled in new places, they have not necessarity hugged the way of life of that new land, rather they took their own culture, values and ways of life with them. For example, in America, did the settlers embraced the culture and values of Red Indians, or they continued with their European ways? In India, did the British people became 'natives'? In South Africa, are the white men following the African cultures and religions? So why you expect that Muslim women who come to Europe will start wearing bikini? And whats wrong if they cover themselves? If they don't show off their body, I don't think they miss much.

You asked, how I see/would like to see the future of 'Islamic' (!!) Europe. Again, I am not researching on the future of Europe. But there are researches going on. Read more books on the past, present and future of mankind, and you'll understand why great civilisations and empires failed (and fell) in the past.

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