Monthly Archives: April 2008

Talking today to a friend of mine who works at a clinic that performs abortions, she asked me a question that had me step back and consider some things.  “What’s up with all the Muslim women getting abortions? I wish you could be here and see how many come in – you would be shocked.”  The ages of the women vary – from teens to married women in their 40’s.  I was a little surprised to hear her ask that question because I had never really considered it to be a big enough issue for someone who wasn’t Muslim to notice.  But then in this city there are enough Muslims hanging around for the larger community to know at least some of the basic rules and regulations of behaviour.  Although there are so many Muslim guys partying that many people are suprised to hear we are not supposed to be drinking alcohol.

I think the focus for many years has been solely on the men in the community – the drinking, the drugs, the sleeping around and the women have largely been ignored (aside from the ‘does she or doesn’t she wear hijab’ drama). 

 I know people like to focus on the fact that some girls are pressured into wearing hijab by bullying parents, and I don’t want to detract from that issue, but there are many, many young women out there who wear hijab because they choose to.  That being said, it does not follow that they will always be content with this decision.  Wearing hijab can be a daily struggle for many women, a good old fashioned love/hate relationship.

This ignoring of the women has I feel, much to do with our assumption that the wearing of the hijab promises that a) that woman is a ‘good girl’ and b) that woman is now beyond those temptations that befall men routinely.  Women are not taken seriously as sexual beings, I have never heard anyone addressing women on how to maintain their chastity (although it has been repeated ad nauseum that keeping ourselves at home makes the world a happier place) .  Men are always cautioned or advised on how to deal with school and workplace situations, yet the same is not done for women.   Men are advised on how to control their sexual urges, the diffferent opinions on masturbation are presented, the merits of fasting are given, all from male points of views yet women are rarely, if ever included in these conversations.  So while men’s sexuality has been acknowledged and adressed, their women have been left struggling to find their own way.  This plays itself out negatively when we find women struggling with their personal demons – trying to remain practicing and faithful to their deen yet dealing with the temptations that are natural to both genders.

A friend of mine speculated that perhaps it was a lack of education that was landing these girls in the queue for abortions – I find it hard to believe but I know that there are still some girls out there that think you can’t get pregnant the first time, or a hot bath or something as silly will protect you.  I think there is also the bigger psychological issue at play with these young women.  To use contraception is to admit that you are sexually active, and that it is not ‘just this once’, but a regular occurence.  This can be quite difficult to come to terms with.  For a Muslim girl who is struggling with her iman, the same way the opposite gender does, the price to pay can be much higher.  If they end up pregnant what else can they do but get an abortion?  The thought of becoming an unwed mother is so impossible – it is not even an option to consider for most.

I have also known older, married women who have gotten abortions because they felt they had no other recourse.  Either their husbands would not let them use contraception, or they simply could not fathom  handling a sixth child, or they were getting divorced…everyone has reasons that I am not going to begin to judge.

The ironic thing is I have heard very few Muslim women champion a woman’s right to choice – quite the opppsite in fact.  Disliking abortion from a moral/spiritual standpoint is of course natural for people of faith, no doubt.  But focusing on this right to choice debate only serves to remove us from the actual issues at hand.  

Not a happy topic but at the end of the day we are only responsible for ourselves really – we can only do our best to support each other and to help each other through this life.  I can only pray that I am never tested in this way

On a happier note Sarah McLachlan is releasing a new CD and I am woohoo!! about it…   Here is her song Ordinary Miracle.  So release all your negative vibes for a moment and think of all those ordinary blessings that occur each day…countless, each one more wonderful than the last.  And the best is that Allah is Most Merciful. 

 

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Stalemate

So apparently I am bitter.  Not only am I bitter but I am bitter and jaded.  Woooo…..them is fightin’ words.  So to get a little context here –  a friend of mine recently had a discussion with some guys about their search for the perfect girl.  These guys are in their thirties but seem to gravitate towards women who are younger than them.  When this was pointed out to them, they told her that they stay away from women who are the same age as them because women in their thirties are too bitter and jaded.

I don’t know why I should be surprised – there had to be a reason so many guys list 19-25 as there preferred ages no matter how old they themselves are.  And I thought it was that they wanted someone they could mold, and feel superior to.  Instead all along it’s been our fault that once we hit thirty we’re past our prime according to muslim male standards.

Well…I told my friend that us women have some steretyoes too.  The most prevalent one among my friends is that if a guy is single and still claims to be a virgin after thirty he’s on the downlow or impotent. 

I guess that leaves us at a stalemate eh?

The sad part of this is that there are a lot of girls who are looking outside of the muslim male population because of these types of attitudes, among other issues.  Muslim men have always known they have the option of marrying outside without raising too many eyebrows, but don’t worry we’re catching up.   

Women in their thirties, at least the women I know are far from bitter – they are vibrant, beautiful and full of joy.  Men in their thirties…well I guess they could have fasted a lot….?

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Spring is here

The weather has finally turned and spring is in the air.  I spent the day out yesterday walking downtown and finding little park benches to sit on and enjoy the sun and a good book.  the city definitely comes alive in the summer – yesterday there were tons of people out on the paths jogging and walking their dogs.  I wish I had a dog sometimes…but then I remember that you still have to walk them when it’s -40 outside.  Maybe I’ll stick with fish.  A beta fish that swims round and round in a tiny bowl and doesn’t really require much aside from some food every couple of days.  A sign that I can’t handle too much commitment.  Tonight I went out walking again – I think we did 2km.  So much fun…and useful.  2km should be enough to burn off cake right?

Today I painted for the first time in a year too.  It felt good to go at it again.  I feel like my creative juices are running again after a long time.  Part of spring arriving is the restlessness that comes with it.  I always feel this way at this time of year.  Maybe it’s because everything seems to be in a state of renewal, including me.

Maybe I can finally convince someone to go camping with me this year.  D invited me last year to go with him and some friends but he is a boy and I was like what are you nuts?  Do you want me to get run out of town by my people? 

Randoms:

I miss the little ones – especially this little face…

I’ve been watching a good number of British movies lately – catch The Baker if you can.  It’s worth it.

I’m reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (I didn’t realize the church of Oprah had chosen it too, which is a good thing because I probably would have avoided it) and Sugar: A bitterweet history.  The first I am enjoying so far, the second is okay – the subject matter is interesting but it’s not very well written. 

And I am going to see if I can score this from the library at school – I don’t know if my passwords are still working.  It looks really interesting.

 

 

 

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Milestone

I took the eleven year old out yesterday.  It was her birthday a while ago and I promised her a day all alone with auntie- without her siblings.  We had a good time – movie, bookstore, being spoiled by Auntie.  Typical outing.  Her Mom sent me an email when I got home that had me laughing.   A case of kids say the darndest things, guaranteed to have you laughing and trying to explain yourself at the same time.

Here is an sample of the emails going back and forth:

Mom:   By the way S mentioned to (her dad) and I that you are a “cougar”.  To this I just remained quiet and speechless – what exactly was going on in the car?

Me:  Ha.  Oh my God.  Chris Brown.  Very cute 18 year old.
        I happened to mention he was cute.
        S said he was sexy.
        I almost died.
        I told her I’d take him off her hands.
       She said “Auntie that would make you a cougar!”
       D almost drove off the road.
       I said “yes S…that would woudn’t it?”
       Big big sigh.  I am so old.

I don’t know what was more traumatizing – having her call the boy “sexy” or me a “cougar”.  Kids grow up way too fast these days. And I may have to start making Botox appointments.

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I have a total bias against the big W

‘ A former Wal-Mart employee who suffered severe brain damage in a traffic accident won’t have to pay back the company for the cost of her medical care, Wal-Mart told the family Tuesday.’ (see entire story here)

This is why I hate shopping at Walmart and will only do so under duress.  I’d rather go to Zellers which never stocks their shelves or Giant Tiger which is….well Giant Tiger.

This is another reason why you should hate them: 

 

 

 

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