Radio 101: Challenging Western Views of Muslim Women
Radio 101 is WFDD's education program for high school students. Radio 101 reporter, Saratu Garba shares her experiences traveling internationally.
Many Americans think Dubai’s laws are repressive, but I think their laws maintain the cultural balance there. Dubai is a majority Muslim country and its citizens should show more modesty.
Ladies are not allowed to interact with men who are of no relation to them.
Khadija Shams-Deen is a family friend who lived in Dubai. As a Muslim, she has a straightforward understanding of this rule.
It’s just an Islamic law to protect the ladies.
It’s harder to follow Islamic laws strictly here, because dealing with the opposite sex is almost a requirement. My Muslim friends and I adapt by limiting our interaction with males to conversation and little games. It’s never felt like a restriction.
I’ve always found it ironic that both Muslims and non-Muslims feel like the other group doesn’t treat women well.
In the case of many Muslims looking at the West, women are commodified.
Dr. Jerry Pubantz is a Political Science professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
They are put out on display. They are not respected in that sense. Whereas from the Western point of view, Muslim women are hidden away, have no rights.
Not every Muslim has a negative view of Americans and Europeans, though. Dr. Pubantz says there’s an internal war within Islam. There are Muslims who think anything from the West has to be eliminated, but there’s another side to Islam.
There are reformers who say Islam has to somehow accommodate itself to the 21st century, to find a peaceful solution to the problems we face.
According to one poll., 55 percent of non-Muslim Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam. However when asked if they understand the religion, only 15 percent said they did. It shows how susceptible we are to believing anything we hear without fully understanding the circumstances. But Dr. Pubantz sees some hope.
There is a far more laissez faire attitude among younger generations. I think religion is seen in that way, that this is a private matter and not one they should really make judgements about.
To create mutual understanding, people who are more accepting must change those who aren’t. It’s a task for my generation.
For Radio 101, I’m Saratu Garba.