I left this Q in Laci Green’s ask box, and was so glad that she addressed it in the video description!
So, here is my response to the response. It’s a little scattered, but I hope it gets the general ideas across. [Edited for grammar].
I hate all religions too (except for The Church of the Subgenius and The Church of Satan, since they are atheist art groups, not real “religions.”) I especially hate abrihamic religions. I grew up in an orthodox Jewish community, and can justly hate that particular community for its close-mindedness, and also recognize that the root problem is the Torah itself.
Yet, I dislike it when people hate on the Jews specifically, because 1) I am Jewish, no matter how much I wish to escape that identity, and 2) It is scapegoating. When someone says, “Wow, those [Jews/ Muslims] are so sexist!” I get defensive. There is something sinister in the way one single group is implicated in a social evil, especially when it is an ethnic group. And the lines are blurred between religion, culture and ethnicity (and sometimes race), especially with Jews and Muslims.
Muslims are persecuted in this society: They are the victims of racial profiling and colonization (I don’t know how else to call the urge white women feel to “liberate” women in hijab). Probably in other ways too, but I am not Muslim so I cannot speak as such. When Islam is bashed in the US, it is within an already hostile social context, and is not usually taken as a comment on all oppressive religious sects. That is what islamophobia is about.
I’ve had bad experiences with religion, I’ve been hurt by it, I have friends who have been hurt by it. I really feel bad and angered by the people who stand by and perpetuate ignorant ideals proposed by religious doctrines. I blame the nature of all religion, not just one religion.
So… Thank you for the response, even if it was a non-apology.
Q: Sorry if you already answered this, but I came across your other channel and just watched the video where you say Mormonism is “probably one of the most sexist [religions] that I’ve come across, beside Islam.” Since you are white and have never been Muslim, could you issue an apology, or update the video with an apology in the description? I am an atheist too, but there is horrible sexism in many religions, and in secular culture as well. It’s not right to single out Islam. It’s Islamophobic.
A: You’re right, it’s not right to single out Islam. Many religions and cultures are extremely sexist and I despise them all equally. This wasn’t the intent of my statement and I apologize if it came off that way.
The video (which is kinda old and came before I learned how to be fully “PC”) is about my experience, and in my life, Islam has perpetuated more gendered violence and sexism toward the women in my life and family than mormonism ever did. Both these religions have wounded me and my loved ones deeply, much of which was on the basis of sex and gender. Just writing about this makes my heart sink. No amount of screaming “Islamophobia” will change that, and it’s actually a wonderful example of how childish and ignorant religion makes people out to be. People get so wound up in defending anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-human, piece of trash organizations that they can’t hear criticism for what it is: a human experience that is real, that is valid, that is unjust.
Yes I am white and no I am not Muslim nor have I ever been. There are certain experiences I can never speak about, such as actually being Muslim or being a person of color. I can, however, speak about my own, and to argue that I must have dark skin or have been a practicing Muslim in order for me to do so is more of the same oppressive bullshit.
I grew up in a multicultural family. My dad’s side of the family immigrated from Iran 20 years ago. My dad himself immigrated to America when he was 16. My family is Muslim on my dad’s side and Mormon on my mother’s (although my dad eventually converted to mormonism). I grew up in a climate where these two religions dominated my life in a really painful way.
I don’t owe ANYONE explanations of why I feel the way I do. I don’t need to rehash things that have hurt me and that I’ve moved on from. My feelings and experiences are perfectly valid on their own. If you want to call it “Islamophobia”, I’ll call you ignorant. This isn’t about quantifying pain, this is about my own experience with that pain. Calling that “Islamophobia” undermines what Islamophobia really is and how it operates. I fucking hate organized religion, including Islam, and all the pouting in the world won’t change that.
Laci Green, what you are confusing is religion with culture. people interpret religions differently. that’s why we have extremists that are way off base with their views of religions. we also have years of stereotypes that perpetuate and feed these beliefs that are not representative of what a religion states. “I don’t owe ANYONE explanations of why I feel the way I do. I don’t need to rehash things that have hurt me and that I’ve moved on from.” your feelings are not what is being argued here, nor are your personal experiences—neither of which you discussed when you made your statement on Islam. you simply stated that it was a sexist religion, and left it at that. what you need to understand is that me and the Muslim community i am a part of in North America, have heard this same statement from Western white folk who have not learned to distinguish cultural values from religious values all our lives. it contributes to your culture, which demeans and oppresses Muslims and belittles Muslim women by telling them they are allowing themselves to be oppressed. excuse me? you’re going to try and apply your Western feminism to my roots? to my brown skin? to my experiences? and then make blanket statements about the religion my family comes from, which will only perpetuate yet another misguided view? yours is the same view that Sarkozy has, and he sure loved that freedom of expression and liberation by telling Muslim women they could not wear their burqas because he felt it was oppressive.
and Laci, you cannot be ignorant to the fact that you, being a white woman, will have a more receptive and willing audience, simply because you are white. this is an aspect of white privilege that, if you were willing to see it, is pervasive in almost every aspect of Western media and culture.
“Many religions and cultures are extremely sexist and I despise them all equally. This wasn’t the intent of my statement and I apologize if it came off that way.” do not blame your statement on our interpretation. you clearly stated that mormonism is the most sexist other than Islam, thereby ranking them and repeating the same view that Western media and white folks judging women of my community have stated for ages.
do you really think your words have no concrete impact on us? we are targets of racial profiling, violence, hate crimes, hate speech, and bigotry on a regular basis. hear it from us.
“to argue that I must have dark skin or have been a practicing Muslim in order for me to do so (speak on your experiences) is more of the same oppressive bullshit.” nobody is asking you to stop speaking on your experiences. we are telling you to stop speaking of ours. you claim oppression, sexism, this and that…..but you don’t even see that by disregarding what we say and what we’ve experienced, by not even pausing to ask us if we love our religion and if we are happy with our Muslim men, YOU ARE COMMITTING THE OPPRESSION. you are not listening to us, and you are ignoring the voices of women who are NOT the stereotypical Muslim women that you see. “There is a strong difference between acknowledging and including the agency driven by Muslim feminists. By altering the definition of liberation for them, many western feminists end up doing what their tyrannic predecessors did in terms of orientalism. This needs to stop.” —Mehreen Kasana
there is abuse among people of all cultures and religions, Laci. abuse is something so disgusting and pervasive that it affects people from every background. yes, it is impacted by upbringing, and yes, religious beliefs (or interpretations) do often affect them…but these are not the intent of the religion. do you know where sexism originates among Muslims? the scholars. they have perpetuated wrongful, twisted views of Islam inside Mosques and among sects for ages and built wrongful legislations based on them. they are the ones who divided women from men within Masjids. this was never in the Q’uran or any of the hadiths (which have also been toyed with over time). you think Muslim women do not speak out for our freedoms? real, brown, Muslim women who know their Q’uran? you think men of our community are not aware of this and are not fighting for this? take it from us. READ!: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/mpv-dv/
and read about some badass Muslim women in the religion and in the world who don’t need you to save them:
Shamima Shaikh: http://persephonemagazine.com/2011/07/14/badass-ladies-of-history-shamima-shaikh/
Women from the Q’uran: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/engy-abdelkader/legacy-muslim-women-leaders-empower_b_1284480.html
A Directory of Women’s Contribution to Classical Islamic Civilisation: Science, Medicine and Politics:
lastly, i will leave you with a blog post written by the wonderful, Pakistani Muslim MEHREEN KASANA:
“Hello, I’m a Muslim woman.
And I’m not oppressed by my religion.
What oppresses me as a citizen and as a human being is the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teachings, cultural distortion of basic theological beliefs and man-made rules directed cruelly at women only. What ties me down and suffocates me is gender discrimination done as a result of following back-breaking mores. But, above all, what oppresses me is the common man’s basic mistake of believing what he hears from malicious conservatives. You can help me from being oppressed by simply using your head for a change. When you hear someone say, “Oh, the hijab’s only a symbol of misogyny”, you can stop for a second, do your research and realize that, no, it’s a practice that the majority respectfully believes in for all sorts of reasons. You can also realize that the author of this post isn’t wearing a hijab at all. For a rational Muslim, it’s all about the freedom to choose. You can sit back and delete that ill-informed hate speech you had ready. You can learn that objectivity plays a key role when you’re studying other people’s religion.
By doing that, you can help me eradicate that silly image haters have built. You can assist me in informing people that I am not tyrannized by religion but by haters who understand little about my beliefs. Once you’ve done that, I won’t be oppressed anymore.”
I AGREE WITH ALL THE POINTS HERE MADE ABOUT LACI GREEN AND THE MUSLIM BELIEF. (I am only stating this as an outsider, trying to listen to what these women are saying.)
This. This. THIIISSS.
Laci does know a lot about sex, which is great, but she’s really ignorant about foreign cultures and religion.
This is proof that you don’t need to attend a renowned university to develop educated opinions. She’s incredibly uneducated about many things that she has called, “oppressive” in my religion.
ohmigod. just reading her response makes me want to gouge my eyes out.
ace commentary, tho.