My Personal Encounters with Muslims and their Treatment of Women - Part I
by Sonja Harris on September 22, 2010 at 7:12 PM
The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” Genesis 2:18
The other night I opened a video sent in by a dedicated Conservative in Action that has prompted me to write this article. So much information and videos on the horrible situation of Muslim women is sent to me that I often wonder if it can ever change. We should count our blessings to live in this great country where we all have a voice if we choose to use it. The video he sent is probably the most disturbing I have ever seen, the stoning of a 17 year old Iraqi girl. It even invaded my dreams. A less graphic video is enclosed and still I do not recommend viewing if you are faint of heart. This human tragedy can come to America if we are not more diligent and become better informed. The Ground Zero Mosque controversy has opened the eyes of many Americans to Sharia Law and the ‘religion of peace’. The men watching this barbaric act are just as guilty as those who actually perpetrated the murder of a defenseless girl. It was appalling to see so many filming with their cell phones.
After viewing the video, I thought about the young girl not being allowed to live her life as she wanted. This thought triggered some old memories from the days I was working from my studio as a portrait, event and wedding photographer in the early years between 1984 and 1994 and the encounters I had with ‘Arabs’ that I now understand were Muslims. There are three that really stand out worthy of recounting. These are the most revealing and give a good look as to how Muslim men view women. It is also a shocking realization of how totally naive we all were. Living in San Antonio I had heard about the ‘language school’ at Lackland AFB where men from the Middle East came to learn how to speak English. That was the extent of my knowledge for the ‘Arabs’. It is important to distinguish between domestic violence which is usually a crime of passion and stoning which is part of the ‘religion of peace’ and is written in the Quran and is methodical.
The ‘Middle East’ meant a far away place. I can remember lumping all of the Middle Eastern people into one big group and calling them Arabs. It took me a while to differentiate between the Iraqi, the Egyptians and the Iranians. Local newspapers ran stories and maps describing the Middle East so that we could familiarize ourselves with that part of the world. I twirled my world map so that I could acquaint myself with the geography. Never, never did it occur to me to read the Quran nor did I give their religion a single thought. Basically I had no knowledge of their culture and without consciously knowing it, I was embarking on a learning expedition. The enclosed Mideast crisis map dated September 23, 1990 and article reveal how innocent America was. Not one clue of what was to come just eleven years later.
TEXAS, MASSACHUSETTS AND CALIFORNIA ARE USED TO SHOW SIZE
September 23, l990
Understand that two of these encounters were extremely offensive to me but I reacted like so many conservative Americans had been programmed to act. Mind your own business, do your job and smile. No wonder the Muslims see us as weak! No wonder they can verbalize such hateful words and think that they can get away without being caught or admonished.
I will start with my luckiest encounter with a Muslim in late 1988 during a portrait sitting. This encounter gave me insight into what Muslim men think about women, especially American women. A designer in San Antonio asked me to do the photography of several royal robes that he had beaded and worked so hard to recreate from the original designs by the Russian jeweler, Peter Carl Faberge and the duchesses who wore them for the Lutheran Coronation, a Christian organization.
The designer brought along his assistant who happened to be from the Middle East. His job was to help the designer arrange the trains on the robes so as to capture the beauty of the sequined and beaded designs on each gown. He began to talk and I listened. He related to me how he liked being in San Antonio, the usual small talk, but then he said something that grabbed my attention. He told me how he liked the beautiful dark women in San Antonio and how he enjoyed dating them. He spoke of his girlfriend and his close relationship with her. I asked when the wedding would take place, always looking for clients. His reply astonished me because his answer was so cold, so matter of fact. “Marriage, no I will not marry this woman she is an American and all American women are easy. They are good to have sex with but not marry. I will go home and find a virgin to marry.” What an answer, but what great information for a single woman to know. I put him in the category of ‘jerk’, never connecting him to his ‘religion of peace’.
The saddest encounter was with an ‘Arab’ officer stationed at Lackland AFB who I was told regularly held parties for his men at local Mediterranean restaurants when they graduated from the language school. A friend introduced me to him so that I could have the opportunity of photographing the next event. I was invited to have dinner with the officer and his family as he wanted to meet me first. I agreed. I often met clients in their offices, restaurants, and homes to discuss their photography needs so this was not out of the ordinary. I went to his home and I met his wife and his young son. His wife was fixing dinner while the Arab officer showed me their home. Disbelief is what I felt when he led me to a closet and opened it and said these are the beautiful dresses for the women I bring here to have sex. He actually verbalized this to me while his wife was preparing dinner. Not a word did I say….I was still in shock when he led me to the dinner table. This is what I remember next. He sat in front of me with his son by his side. His wife came in and placed the platters of food on the table and walked out of the room. He served me a portion on my plate and for his son and for himself. I waited for his wife to return to sit with us. He looked at me and said, “You can eat now if you like”, and I replied that I was waiting for his wife. He said, “No, she will not sit and eat with us. You may sit with me only because you are an American and a business woman.” More shock to my brain. I sat in silence and politely forced the food down because I had difficulty swallowing. My brain had much more trouble digesting what had just happened. I did get the assignment.
Section 3 15. If any of your women
Are guilty of lewdness,
Take the evidence of four
(Reliable) witnesses from amongst you
Against them; and if they testify,
Confine them to houses until
Death do claim them,
Or God ordain for them
Some (other) way.
The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime but if married persons commit it, the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah's Law).
PART II THE WEDDING to follow