Welcome to the thoughts, rants and passions of a young Muslim woman seeking soulful enlightenment in cyberspace.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What’s a Woman to Do?

When I was younger, and I learned of cases of domestic violence, I would often tell my parents, “I would NEVER stay in a situation like that,” or, “why doesn’t she just leave him? How can she stay with someone like that?” But as I grew older, I realized how naïve I’d been. There are no easy answers for women being abused at home.

In a previous post, I mentioned a woman who had come to the mosque seeking reprieve from an abusive husband. I didn’t mention what happened after all the talking was over. She decided she wanted to go to a shelter. But the only Muslim shelter was hours away. So she and her daughter ended up spending the night at our place. And in the morning, my parents took them to the shelter.

Before long, we received another phone call. The woman wanted out. It just wasn’t working out. And so she went back to her abusive home after assurances from her husband that the two would go through counselling to deal with their problems.

Women living in traditional family structures often don’t have an easy way out. They can’t make it on their own because they don’t have marketable skills. They can’t just enter the workforce. And so they cannot provide for their family.

Unfortunately, we have not constructed real alternatives. We lack the social networks that allow women and children to find safe haven away from their abusive homes. There is not enough awareness about domestic abuse to empower the community to provide assistance. I know of only one Muslim shelter, and it is situated far from the city centre. Even if women are offered help to get to the shelter, women who do not know how to drive are virtually imprisoned there. Those who are able to drive often cannot travel the long distances required to get to the city centre, where most jobs are to be found.

Children are another concern. Mothers in traditional family structures may think their children will suffer. Displacement from their home, and from the routine that goes along with home life, can be traumatic for children, and their mothers are usually the first to recognize this.

Added to the guilt-ridden worries over their children, mothers are often fearful of the shame that will come upon their family if others know they have left. The taboo against divorce or even marital problems is quite strong. This is not a negative feature of the Muslim community, but there do need to be avenues for individuals to comfortably discuss and seek to resolve the family conflicts that trouble them. And the community has to be more receptive to the needs of divorced and abused women.

What about women who have the education and skills required to make it on their own if need be? If my future husband were to abuse me in some way or the other, I could always leave and start over. But would I? Or would I stay because of feelings of obligation? Perhaps I might feel bound by complex ties of love; human emotion is a powerful thing. I do not know. But I’ve become so sensitized to the circumstances of other women that I feel it would be inadequate for me to judge them one way or the other. There are no easy answers. And for some - I’ve come to realize - the best and most realistic solution may not include leaving.

Part 1: "Domestic Abuse: Don't Believe Me?"
Part 2: "Wife Beaters"


  • At 4/20/2005 07:29:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "And take in your hand a green branch and beat her with it and do not break your oath;" Q. 38:44

  • At 4/20/2005 10:30:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Anonymous, I wonder who you might be given that you've use this *exact* same translation of an ayah at other Muslim blogs.

    The following links taken from explain the ayah (one can also search the archives using key words to find the posts)


  • At 4/20/2005 02:32:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Seems like an awful lot of muslim men interpret this the way it is written here...

  • At 4/20/2005 03:44:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Frankenstein, I know spelling isn't your strong point, but reading too? How many times do I have to tell you you're not welcome here?

  • At 4/20/2005 03:58:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When the Jews, Christians and other infidels invented the Internet, it was predicated on being used by EVERYONE. That meant we allowed civilization despising muslims on-line as well.

    You're on a public blog honey, and I'll stay here until I feel like leaving...

  • At 4/20/2005 07:01:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Ha! This is my blog. You're here only because I've allowed you to be here. As soon as I get tired of you, you'll be deleted, little boy, and then you'll be left to deal with your separation anxiety on your own.

  • At 4/20/2005 08:53:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Frankenstein might want to do his homework. Much of what computers, internet and the works are based on are mathematical formulas invented my Muslims.

    Why are we wasting our time with a racist bigot anyways?

  • At 4/20/2005 10:06:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 4/20/2005 10:15:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    He was amusing me for a while there, so I figured I might as well have some fun with him. But now he's outdone his welcome. Poor fella, I feel kind of sorry for him! ;-)

  • At 4/21/2005 12:14:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I guess Flanstein once again found out that this 'honey' is in charge so he'll leave when SHE wants him to, not when HE wants to.

    It's sad he actually started posting as 'anonymous' thinking his hate wouldn't bate him out for the racist bigot he is.

  • At 4/21/2005 08:31:00 a.m., Anonymous writer_within said…

    Wow! A friend and I were discussing this topic just last night. I am very pleased to find out that Canada has such a facility. There were several here in the US but the masjid sort of got their hands in the whole thing and well the one nearest to us just fizzled out. I think it is sad we don't have viable options for sisters. Many get poor counseling from Imaams that blame the women for the husband's behavior and encourage them "to look a little sharper for their husbands, prepare good food, and smile a bit more". Arghh what sort of advice is that. And then also one has to take into account the families of some sisters who encourage her to stay in such situations. It's just so disheartening to me.

  • At 4/21/2005 02:34:00 p.m., Blogger Leila M. said…

    Salaam sis

    I guess you've arrived in the blogosphere by having your Flanstein attack. Ignore him & be polite even with his vitriol, and he usually gets bored and leaves. He *wants* to fight, at least this is my own thoughts on it.

    As for domestic violence, I hear you. As someone who's been through an abusive marriage (before I was Muslim) and leaving, etc, I can say it rarely ends with the first raised hand-- most women remain for a time, and some of them stay forever. It's difficult and sad, but the attitudes of our community are probably the biggest fault, along with the legal system.

    This, along with other reasons, is why I'm extremely leery of these religion-based arbitrations (NOT mediations-- you sign an agreement BEFORE you go through the process!) in Canada. I can so see it devolving into something of a good old boys club when it comes to divorce settlements.

  • At 4/23/2005 12:43:00 a.m., Blogger Brian said…

    On some level I understand that it is sometimes difficult for a woman to leave in such circumstances, but no human being should be subject to physical abuse by anyone...much less someone who professes to love them.

  • At 4/24/2005 10:55:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Censorship and the muzzie community - has it ever been different? That's why muzzie countries are hell-holes...

  • At 4/24/2005 11:22:00 p.m., Anonymous Yummmmmmy Kebobs said…

    Hmmm. Let us not forget the many, many, many European book burnings (on orders of the Church)...oh and don't forget the "witch" burnings either...

  • At 4/24/2005 11:40:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Flanstein, I want to respond to you here, because you’re right, I really do hate censoring people and it’s unfortunate that I’m using that tactic with you. I will accept criticisms and opposing viewpoints as long as they’re in good faith. I will not tolerate hate-filled diatribes or racist remarks on this blog. Moreover, I have neither the time nor the energy to respond to verses from the Qur’an or reports of the Prophet Muhammad taken out of context. My purpose here is to elevate the discourse, not to denigrate it. What is your purpose, Flanstein?

    If you do want to contribute in a civil manner, then you are welcome here. But my impression thus far is that your intentions are to attack Islam and Muslims, and I want no part of that. I cannot defend everything Muslims do worldwide – I am not responsible for their beliefs or actions. It is ironic that you are disparaging the more “moderate” Muslims – ones who would not be able to understand or defend the distorted beliefs and actions of Muslims worldwide. The wiser course of action would be to seek out alliances with these Muslims in your fight against terrorism. If there is any good within you – and I believe there is good in every human being – then I ask you to end this indiscriminate campaign against Muslims and I invite you seek out more productive means to dialogue with and to understand the Muslim community.

    Please do email me if you’d like to discuss this further.



  • At 4/25/2005 03:57:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…


    My purpose is a simple one; to inform people of the threat that islam represents to civilization.

    My second purose is to let muslims know we will not accept their barbaric religion to rule us.

    Sorry if that offends you...

  • At 4/25/2005 07:09:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If it weren't for Islam, we wouldn't have the civilization we have today.

    Flanstein, don't you get tired of being so narrow-minded? Doesn't your stomach ache with all the hate inside?

  • At 4/25/2005 07:51:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…


    Thank you for the more civil tone. As I’ve mentioned before, what is offensive is the way you’re saying things. Hate-filled diatribes and racist remarks are offensive. So too are religious texts taken out of context. For many Muslims, Islam is the dearest thing to their heart. They do not believe Islam is a threat to civilization. If you want to convince Muslims of your cause, it would be wise to adopt a more sincere manner with the purpose of educating them about their dangerous religion. Attacking them will not serve your purposes.

    Having seen some of your analysis here, I cannot help but feel saddened that you have failed to understand the religion you feel is a threat to civilization. It is not that I believe you will abandon your claims with further knowledge – far from it. But at least your analysis would not be so blatantly incorrect. For example, the vast majority of Muslims do not want to overpower non-Muslims and rule them. Even Daniel Pipes, whom you quote quite profusely on your blog, argues that only a small minority of Muslims are extremist. Not all Muslims are bad people; in fact, most aren't. Again, you are doing a disservice to your cause if you do not have a full understanding of Islam and of Muslims.

    I would like to request one thing: that you explain a bit more about who you are, particularly what your educational and religious background is. Your blog doesn't say very much - simply that your interests are solely "Islam" and "terrorism". Knowing more would help to contextualize things. Right now I feel as though I am speaking with a monster, and that is because I have experienced your attacks and nothing else.



  • At 4/26/2005 08:51:00 a.m., Blogger Flanstein said…


    Let me ask you a simple question (and then I will answer yours) - as a fellow Canadian, would you prefer to live under sharia law or under the democratic law that now exists under our Constitution?

    If you had a choice, what would it be?

  • At 4/26/2005 06:22:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    I'm sorry. With all due respect, Flanstein, it really does not work that way. I think it's my turn to ask the questions. You'll first have to tell me about yourself. I'm interested in your educational background and your religious affiliation. I'd also like to know which organizations you are involved with or interested in.

  • At 4/26/2005 08:47:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…

    Fair enough:

    Agnostic (raised a Roman Catholic) middle aged man with a b.a. in English Literature and a masters in Communications. Run my own business, have a wide variety of friends, don't belong to any clubs and coach hockey.

    Two cats, a lovely wife, no children and I love going to France. Against the war in Iraq, despise Fox news and am happy to be a Canadian. Lefty views on all the big social issues, but a fiscal conservative.

    Now to my question; would you rather live in a Canada with man-made laws, or one under sharia?

  • At 4/27/2005 12:31:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Interesting picture you paint, Flanstein. Socially liberal but fiscally conservative? Odd combination – it must be difficult to find a party you can vote for. Perhaps you can fill in this picture a bit more...why have you singled out Islam for critique? After all, Judaism and Christianity have their share of extremists. Are you not worried about the threat they pose? And I’m curious about your identification as an agnostic: what made you dissatisfied with Catholicism, or religion in general?

    I do intend to respond to your question, but in order to properly do so, I feel I need to understand where you’re coming from.



  • At 4/27/2005 04:26:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…

    Why have I singled out islam? What an odd question...

    Here's a clue, who dances around dead infidels holding their victims burnt entrails shouting "allah akbar"?

    Airplanes full of humans are hijacked and crashed into skyscrapers full of humans, hotels are bombed, 12 year old children’s birthday parties are blown up, bus loads of children are massacred. Who were the culprits? Mormons? Animists? Jews? Hindus?

    Somebody executed thousands during the miss world riot while asking some of the victims to recite passages out of the koran. If they could not comply, they were butchered on the spot. Were the villains Quakers? Buddhists? Bahai? Pagans? Atheists?

    The targeting, torture and massacre of schoolchildren in Russia was perhaps the most barbarous act in 2004. Who were the culprits? Unitarians? Scientologists? Catholics?

    Then of course there is the massacre in N.Y. the hundreds of Australians BBQ'd in Bali and hundreds more blown apart in Madrid. Who did that I wonder?

    Let’s not forget all the innocent people beheaded on video (shouting alla akbar) while they danced around in joy.

    The common thread between all of these horrific crimes is a religion I believe is a grave threat to civilization - islam.

    Equal rights before the law do not exist under Islamic law. One citizen, one vote does not exist under Islamic law. Freedom of worship does not exist under Islamic law. Minorities -- that is, non-Muslims -- enjoy rights and protections at the pleasure of the Muslim community that are ever-subject to the capriciousness of a rights-canceling fatwa. Indeed, Islamic law is not the basis of a religion, as the Judeo-Christian world understands religion, but is rather the basis of a controlling ideology that is nothing short of totalitarian.

    Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, a Saudi journalist in London said: “It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists,” he writes, “but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims. We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women.

  • At 4/27/2005 06:18:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now Flanstein write something good about Muslims and Islam because 1 Billion of us are not about to go away. How do you propose to establish World Peace Flanstein? Through occupation, detention camps and a eventual Holocaust.

    Don't you have better things to do with your spare time like; walk your dog, goto a fancy restaurant or catch the latest flick.

    Why do you hate Muslims and Islam? Why so much hate? I'll pray for you.


  • At 4/27/2005 10:49:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    I intend to address your comments, but I haven't the time now to do so. I'll get back to you within the next day or two.

  • At 4/28/2005 03:58:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are wasting your time with him, Saffiya! PLEASE update your blog rather than talk to him!

  • At 4/28/2005 04:42:00 a.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Wow. Sabrun jameel:-)

  • At 4/28/2005 12:11:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…

    "Now Flanstein write something good about Muslims and Islam because 1 Billion of us are not about to go away."

    I would write something good if I could think of anything. Wait....Irshad Manji is a Muslim who I admire...

    "How do you propose to establish World Peace Flanstein? Through occupation, detention camps and a eventual Holocaust."

    It's not my job to establish world peace, but rather to inform a few people about the evils of islam...

    "Why do you hate Muslims and Islam? Why so much hate?"

    Read my last post again - it's all there...

    "I'll pray for you."

    Please don't. I view praying to whatever god you believe in as a singular waste of time...

  • At 4/28/2005 12:13:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…


    Now to my question; would you rather live in a Canada with man-made laws, or one under sharia?

  • At 4/29/2005 04:42:00 a.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Why the nasty tone, Flanstein? Comments like that make me wonder why I entertain your prejudices and hatred on my blog. In any case, there are a few problems with the argument you’ve posted a few comments above, and I wish to address them now.

    First, I should note that some of your allegations are quite vague. You haven’t backed them up with any proof. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that they are all true. Even so, your logic is flawed. Here’s why:

    Even if this journalist of yours is right that “almost all terrorists are Muslims”, you are missing a very important part of the equation, and that is, “NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS” (caps mine). Most Muslims aren’t terrorists. Not recognizing that is a significant flaw. I am disappointed that you haven’t noticed this very basic lack of logic in your argument. Here I must pause to lament what I think is one of the flaws of the university system. It should be more selective about the people it churns out.

    Another element of your illogic in argumentation: Let’s assume that all terrorists are Muslims. Just because their religion is a common element, it may not be the real reason for their terrorist acts. You must prove the correlation. This is particularly crucial because the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists and do not express terrorist sentiments. You cannot thus generalize the terrorist actions of a few to the whole Muslim community. In this case, you may have to dig deeper to find the real cause. This may be poverty, dissatisfaction with life circumstances, humiliation, lack of education, extremism, etc. It may or may not be Islam. You must remember that people use religion to prop up whatever argument they want to make. Even President Bush does that.

    Finally, your tactics seem ill-conceived. Why are you attacking those who are condemning terrorism? Look at your quote by al-Rashed. By quoting him, you are clearly demonstrating there are reasonable Muslims. This damages your argument, my friend. You should be seeking to work with peace-loving Muslims to help them eradicate terrorism. Instead, you pull them down. The fact that you focus your attentions on decent Muslims makes me think you are fearful that a more peaceful interpretation of Islam takes root. Perhaps that is the greater threat to your cause.

    To conclude, I have to say, Flanstein, your arguments are quite simply inadequate proofs for attacking Islam or Muslims. Moreover, your tactics are worse than the Muslims you attack on these blogs. Your manner of writing makes Muslims look even better than you do. Most of them do not resort to nasty behaviour. It’s quite unfortunate that you do.

    You ask me about Shariah law. I wonder why I should respond to someone so hateful. Why do you even care? I’m an evil being – or am I even a ‘being’ in your eyes? I do not know. Nevertheless, I will provide a response when I have the time. I’d like to write something more substantial about it – not in this comment section, but as a post on its own. Unfortunately, I haven’t the time right now – I am in the midst of exams – but I intend to address it at length when I can do justice to its complexity.



  • At 4/29/2005 04:48:00 a.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    On second thoughts, let me provide a brief answer which I will elaborate upon in an upcoming post. I think people misunderstand the Shariah. Shariah law is a system of justice. If interpreted in the current context in Canada, it would not be very far from Canadian law. The goal of justice would be the same. The definition of right and wrong would be similar. The main difference would be in terms of purpose: Shariah law is justice for the sake of God, while Canadian law is justice for its own sake.

  • At 4/29/2005 03:51:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I said:
    "I'll pray for you."

    Flansten replied:
    "Please don't. I view praying to whatever god you believe in as a singular waste of time..."

    Explain, Why praying is a waste of time?

    I said:
    "Why do you hate Muslims and Islam? Why so much hate?"

    Flanstein replied:
    Read my last post again - it's all there...

    So you do hate Muslims and Islam. What do you love? Really, I am interested, satisfiy a curious mind. You'll be surprised that probably some Muslims(yes, those freaks) share some of the same thing you love.

    I said:
    "Now Flanstein write something good about Muslims and Islam because 1 Billion of us are not about to go away."

    Falnstein replied:
    "I would write something good if I could think of anything. Wait....Irshad Manji is a Muslim who I admire..."

    Cliche, if ever heard one. Irshad Manji does bring up valid points but she has a very bad haircut and come on, Flanstein, she is opinionated, she probably won't even agree with you. She knows everything to know about everything.

    Have a good day Flanstein,

    Looking forward to your reply.


  • At 5/01/2005 09:15:00 a.m., Blogger Flanstein said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5/01/2005 01:49:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Had you wanted to sincerely respond, you would have responded here rather than on the main page on a totally unrelated topic and in a very rude and derogatory manner. As I said, I've tried to take the time to understand where you're coming from, but I can no longer tolerate someone looking for a forum to spread their hatred and racism. Your comments will be treated like spam and duly deleted regardless of their content.

  • At 5/01/2005 07:37:00 p.m., Blogger Flanstein said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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