Tag Archives: Muslim women

Now… If I Wear My Hijab…Would You Kindly Shut Up And Sit Down?! By ejnosillA

As a recent Muslim convert, I have found myself in numerous, but friendly conversations about my Islamic beliefs. However, on one particular day at work, I had a conversation with a person who can really get on your last nerve sometimes. You know that person who is… just doing the MOSTEST… as the kids would say! Regardless of the subject at hand, this person wants to act as if they know more than you and gives you unnecessary or unwanted advice. You know that type who always has a condescending opinion – masked as sincere advice, but riddled in judgmental double talk and well… you know… heck… just going to put it out there… STUPIDITY.

You would think that if they are getting on EVERYBODY’S nerves, that they would realize it and go sit their azz down somewhere… Just Sayin’!

Before I begin, I want to go on the record saying I really truly like this woman and value some of her opinions. But, she can get on people’s nerves sometimes because she is so opinionated and aggressive. 

Let’s begin…

In my opinion, we were having a friendly discussion at work about wearing or not wearing a hijab, and she really could not grasp my reasoning. I have only been Muslim for 6 1/2 months. But, I’ve been an American Black female for 44 years, and at this point in my life, I am not ready to wear the hijab. I am easing my way into it or transitioning you could say.

This woman started telling me I should be wearing a hijab as a Muslim woman. I was thinking… now, hold on a minute Ms. Thang…  Aren’t you one of those Jehovah Witnesses? While looking at her out of the corner of my eye.  NO – THIS HEFFA DIDN’T JUST GO THERE I am about to light her azz up in a minute if she don’t take her crazy azz somewhere and go sit it down… She was really testing my patience today… Okay… where was I?… oh yeah…  since we are speaking about how we are supposed to dress… where is your skirt and why are those pants so tight? Heck… why is your cleavage sticking out of that blouse of yours and don’t you drink and party almost every weekend? Above all… aren’t you female? Are you even supposed to be working?

As I refocused, I tried to explain the fact that I was not raised in an Islamic country, and I was not raised Muslim.It was going to take time for me to truly conform to Islamic culture with regards to clothing.

I was raised Baptist not Muslim, and just like any religion, you must transition into it. There is no time limit on this transition; it’s solely based on the individual and their relationship with their GOD. Plus, as Black American women, we have our own flavor, and I want to incorporate that into my Islamic style of dressing.

Well, this double-talking fool… oops… person told me that once a Jehovah Witness is publicly baptized that their transitional period is over. Now I am thinking: okay… where is this girl headed with this conversation… I am not in the mood for her nonsense today… she stated that after the baptism they instantly and immediately begin to dress, behave and follow the laws of Jehovah Witnesses. She proceeded to say that you can tell if a woman is a Jehovah Witness by the way she dresses. And, I thought… Really? Because here you stand, and I can’t tell…

I was standing there looking at her as if she had lost her mind. She must not have remembered that four or five months after she had started working at our job, she had told me that she was a Jehovah Witness. So standing there in tight clothing and breasts spilling out talking about the “way a woman is supposed to dress” sounded ridiculous… along with her unsolicited judgments! At this point, I had had enough of this conversation. It was time for me to go punch her azz and move along to something more mentally stimulating…

But, in my motherly tone and persona… you know the one you use when you are trying to educate a child… I stated that we are all transitioning into different stages of life; whether we want to or not. It is a part of being human.

Well, she was standing there anxiously ready to get her next point across, but as Kevin Hart famously stated, “SHE WASN’T READY” for the setup! I asked her if from the moment she was baptized until now, had she not grown within her religion because once again… life is about growth and maturing? She began to look confused and dumbfounded.

Then I stated that where she is today in her faith was the result of transition and growth… right? She agreed.

Then how the heck could she not understand my transition within my faith?

I politely emphasized to her that I was confused that she was judging me for not wearing a hijab. I admitted that I was just not ready yet and may ALLAH continue to work with me… But,she was judging me, a person who has only been a Muslim for 6 ½ months while she sits there as a Jehovah Witness for all of her life… (I didn’t even mention the rededication to her faith) and she is not doing what is required of her. But, she is judging me.

My life is a daily struggle to learn all of the Islamic commandments.

Well to make a long story short, I explained to her that I really did enjoy our little debates because I truly love hearing others’ opinions even if we do not agree. See, I am the type of person that if I don’t agree with you on something, I will go home and reflect on it. If after this reflection, I feel that your view makes more sense than mine, I am woman enough to come and let you know. I love conversations that enlighten me and allow me to grow as a person.

Now, I guess you are wondering what the purpose of this blog post is… well let me enlighten you. First, Ladies, please leave others alone about their religious beliefs and practices. Especially, if you are not truly practicing yours! We all want to believe and make others believe that we got our stuff together in all aspects of our lives, but do you truly? Secondly, please do your homework before you start or go meddling with people. If you are going to start something at least present a sensible point of view and know what you are talking about! Lastly, just leave people alone! If they don’t ask you, then don’t engage. Ladies, stop starting unnecessary drama! Live your life and let other live theirs…

Just Sayin’!

Stay Blessed Queens!

ejnsolliaA is currently a graduate student majoring in Communications Studies. Her goals are to become a successful blogger, professor and to one day be able to give back to her community by developing a holistic community center. As a low-income, single mother of five, ejnosillA wants to help other low-income, single mothers of color become educated and empowered.

Should You Make A Fuss When You’re Touched On A Bus? Or, What Do You Claim When You’re Rubbed On A Plane?

Touched and Rubbed

Last year, many women were forced to reflect on hidden feelings about unwanted public touching after the rape and murder of a 23-yr old student on a bus in India caused worldwide outrage.

Most women have been “touched” by an unknown man in a public place, and unless the man was aggressive or violent, they said nothing.  Women endure humiliating public touching, often not knowing what to say or do.

How and why can men freely touch women they have never met with impunity? I was forced to think about this issue and how it lingers in society while traveling yesterday to Kuala Lumpur via Frankfurt.

Sitting comfortably by the window, I got an “uh oh” feeling when an odd man sat down in the aisle seat.  But, how many times have I gotten this feeling and was wrong about the man? And, how many times was I right? I took comfort in the seat separating us, but that became a moot point when at 1 am the lights went out for the 9-hour, trans-Atlantic flight, and the man decided to stretch out across the middle seat. “Well, at least his feet are towards me and not his head, ” I said to myself. Well, that changed, too, when he turned around with his head next to my lap.

I tried to relax, watch movies, think about how to pay off my credit card debt, etc, when the man changed the position of his arms and “just happened” to run his hand across my thigh. I screamed. A few people looked up and thought I was having a nightmare or was frightened by a movie I was watching. No one paid any real attention to what was happening. In fact, moments before a flight attendant had walked by and smiled at the “sleeping man” scrunched up close to me, failing to see the  look of horror and terror on my face.

The man remained quiet after I screamed, which having experienced the problem before, clued me in to his lack of innocence.  An innocent man – or one with a better M.O. – would apologize profusely, explaining he meant no harm.  This man said nothing. But, he sat up retaking his place, making me sit wide awake thinking, “Did he mean to touch me or was it a mistake? Maybe he didn’t say anything because he was embarrassed or because it’s late at night…”

When the man’s foot reached way across the middle seat to my seating area and began playing footsie with my foot I started beating the man and crying out “You better stop that! I’m not putting up with this! You’ve got to go!!” I lept up with my (large) behind turning on the overhead personal light and made the man get out of his seat. No one said anything. No one came to ask me what the problem was.

And, I was the one who left. Not the offending man. I found a flight attendant to tell her to change my seat. Looking for the attendant, I was worried she might not believe me. The man remained sitting in his seat with soft puppy eyes looking at me and the world, as if to say, “Is there something wrong? I was just sleeping in my seat. I don’t know why this woman is making such a fuss.”

Dressed conservatively in a shalwar kameez top in preparation for my work in Malaysia, I thought the German Luftansa attendant would think, “Ah! these conservative, Muslim women are always getting upset if a man so much as bumps into her!” And if the attendant did notice my cross dangling from my top, she would have surmised I was an American Puritan, unable to handle men. How many male friends do I have who have been falsely accused by women for doing something inappropriate? But, I knew I had the 2012 New Delhi Gang Rape on my side. Public awareness about men raping and groping on buses, trains and planes is at an all-time high. I found the first female attendant I could and she put me in a new seat immediately, apologizing for the problem and asking where the offending man was.

Of course, nothing happened to the man. How could it? What proof was there, and the look on his face would have everyone thinking he was a saint.

I remember my first memory of feeling uncomfortable on a plane by a man sitting next me and telling my mother. She replied in a way that made me think it was “all in my head” but had my brother switch seats with me so I wasn’t close so him. The man continued to stare, and I continued to be uncomfortable. The dilemma remained: Is this man ogling me or is it “all in my head?”

Since the first airplane incident I have encountered men on Paris metros with skills in touching women I thought were worthy of Olympic medals. They rode buses and subway trains gently placing a finger between a woman’s thighs, right on her mounds or between her labia, remaining motionless. When it happened to me it took me a good 10 minutes to realize it was a man’s finger and not the edge of a woman’s purse or bag that was touching me. I didn’t realize it was a man until there were no more women around me and it seemed like this quiet, gentle-looking man was always nearby, looking like he was paying absolutely no attention to me.  I thought “Wow. How does a man like that acquire such a skill? How long did it take him to be able to do this without women realizing what he was doing? Does he continue to ride around all his life virtually unnoticed? Do some women like it – the calm, undemanding, anonymous and motionless touch – saying nothing? And are there women who acquiesce? Or, does the man eventually up his game, becoming increasingly aggressive, then violent and eventually start raping women when he can’t get enough women to acquiesce or his fantasy doesn’t always go the way he wants?

Then there was the time in the Medina of Tunis. I was with up late with friends enjoying mint tea from high above in an old city building thousands of years old rented by a few friends. It was too late for me return home, so I agreed to stay over.  Couples paired off to separate rooms leaving me and one of the men to share the large arab living room that looked out over the Medina. I didn’t think much of it. He had his side of the large room filled with soft cushions and low couches, and I had my side. But, late in the night when I was enjoying what I thought was a cat stroking up against me – enjoying the feline touch, wondering how the cat knew how to be so gentle and accommodating  – I woke to up to see the man sitting only in his underwear touching me.

Maybe a more sophisticated woman would have known how to calmly explain she wasn’t interested in pairing off, like the other couples had. Or a more confident woman would have relaxed and enjoyed the gentle touches explaining she wanted nothing more, like my friend told me the next morning is what she had done because she already had a boyfriend and only wanted to enjoy another man’s attention and touches. But, I wasn’t one of those women. So, after turning the situation over in my head for a few seconds, I realized the man hadn’t spoken to me (as far as I could remember) the entire night and therefore was not really interested in me but just thought I was an “easy foreign, Christian woman” or thought he could take advantage of the situation. Plus, he was next to me half naked. And, I did the only thing I knew how to do: Let out a blood curdling scream.

And the rest is history. The man was upset. Denied everything. A woman friend told me I was  acting ridiculous. The man wasn’t going to do anything to me. Another female friend apologized. I left. My virtue intact. But, always thinking back on the entire situation and the gentle caresses in the middle of the Arab night.

So, how do you make a fuss when you’re touched on a bus?