Ruined by Reading

My Big Fat Pakistani* Wedding

Posted in Culture, Feminism, Personal, Religion by M on August 3, 2009

After my reaction to the Doha Debate on women’s choice to marry whomever they want, it should be apparent that I really don’t like Asra Nomani. Which is cool, because I’m pretty sure if she knew me, she wouldn’t like me either. I pray (and wore hijab for a brief period of time), so according to her and her documentary, that makes me an extremist.

Thanks to MMW, I ran across an article she wrote for Marie Claire – My Big Fat Muslim Wedding. In it, she discusses Islam, and says that Islam’s idea of marriage oppresses women. She frames this in a story about her own personal love life and failed marriage.

She starts off by incorrectly labeling cultural practices as Islamic, and thus marrying the two (pardon the pun), making them inseparable for the rest of her article.

There’s a photo of me as a toddler, my sullen face peeking out from layers of bridal finery—part of a tradition that sets Muslim girls on the path to marriage.

I see this as Nomani insinuating that this is an Islamic practice. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. I’m assuming it is actually a South Asian practice, because Arabs and other Muslims definitely do not preform such rituals or practices.

To me, abiding by the dictates of my culture and religion meant finding a love that would be halal, or legal, according to Islamic law.

Here, again, she’s confusing culture with Islam. Culture definitely influences the way everyone practices their religion, but it is not an Islamic teaching that a woman marry within her culture or find a match that meets her cultures requirements, it is purely a cultural practice and preference.

Nomani goes on to gives the details of her failed relationships and how she lost her virginity. This is just my personal opinion here, but I find it pretty tasteless and classless to divulge such information. No, it’s not because she’s a woman, or because she’s Muslim. I just think it’s distasteful to use such things to try to make some kind of point.

Nomani eventually settles down with a guy who is suitable. Meaning, he’s Muslim, and he’s South Asian. Of course, this marriage fails. Why? Because of Islam, of course. It’s not her family or her culture which pressured her into such a relationship, it must be because of Islam, right?

She eventually falls in love with a non-Muslim who she describes as knowing Islam better than most (and probably better than her as well). I honestly hope she can be happy, and I do feel bad that she wasn’t strong enough to stand up to her family and follow her heart in the first place. But she is not a victim of Islam like she claims – she is a victim of her culture.

It irks me to no end that people like her have an international stage to spout their nonsense and further their agenda. Obviously, it’s because she’s easy for Westerners and ignorant people to sympathize with. I know many non-Muslims take crap for fact from CNN, Fox, etc., but it’s much worse that it’s fellow Muslims like Nomani are feeding into this incorrect and ignorant ideas.

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3 Responses

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  1. izzati said, on August 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Lol that woman is stupid, then. What kind of person blames failures like that behind her love life on Islam?

    A victim of culture isn’t necessarily a victim of Islam. People with their greed and ignorance have been using Islam as an unfair scapegoat.

  2. Veens said, on August 11, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I see what you mean. If I were to read what she has written, maybe I would feel sympathetic. Because I have 0 knowledge about all the things attributed to Islam.

    I am really sad such people are spreading nuisance around.

  3. Nina said, on November 18, 2009 at 7:34 am

    I saw her on the Doha debate, and I was not at all impressed. Now I have just read the article (via the link you provided in this blog), and I am even more unimpressed!

    I like your style of writing btw – will defintely browse through your articles :)


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