I was recently roaming through the airport duty free bookshop in one of the Gulf States which used to have strict censorship on reading material. Up until a year ago, I was unable to find some books or magazines on the shelves of any of the bookstores, and I was told by the managers that the government had restricted the material due to the content (often on cultural or religious grounds). Imagine my surprise that just a few metres beyond the immigration counter, where my passport was stamped signifying departure from the country, I find THE NOMAD. Attractive title for a desert demon like me.
Let me be clear at the outset - this is not a book review and the attraction began and ended at the cover for me. A little below the title was the name of the author - Ayan Hirsi Ali. This woman - nay, this opportunist posing as a woman, has made it her life's work to save Muslim women from the horrors of Islam. Of course she managed to escape the atrocities perpetrated by religion by claiming persecution and faking asylum papers, denouncing Islam, becoming a born-again-atheist, rose to fame as a politician and now writes about how bad Islam is.
It really sickens me that there are a growing number of so called "Ex-Muslims" (sudden growth after 9/11) making a point to run down the religion and claim to have had a raw deal and now want to enlighten and rescue the rest of us. The likes of Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan are punted and celebritised in the western media for the "wonderful" work they're doing to liberate the ignorant Muslims. They claim their personal journeys have led them here and that they cannot rest until the rest of us are saved. Strangely though, these liberators haven't stopped for a moment to ask if we Muslim women need or want their liberating! And if they have so strongly rejected the religion, and turned to atheism, why bother to indulge in religious rhetoric of any kind, why act as prophetic saviours? Shockingly, she claims that from her experience in visiting Israel and Occupied Palestine, she found Israel to be a liberal democratic state with lovely beaches where women and men enjoy equality and that it is the fault of Palestinians that they live in squalor because they're corrupt.
When the likes of Hirsi Ali and Sultan speak, the West is ever willing to listen and support their views, propagating it through media, Internet, and even assisting them in establishing organisations to support their causes. What concerns me more though, is the increasing number of Muslim women who are falling prey to similar jargon. No, I'm not speaking of women who want to be liberated by these opportunists, but rather, the Muslim intellectuals who get caught up in the limelight, the fame, the excitement of being asked their opinion on varying issues related to Muslim women in particular, and in multicultural fora where they unknowingly perpetuate the image of destitute, abused, controlled Muslim women who need to be saved by America, much as they have saved the Iraqis and Afghanis who are obviously living the American dream now!
Message to those ex-Muslims and the apologists:
I am a Muslim Woman
I am a proud Muslim Woman
I am a proud, educated, strong, liberal, dynamic, extraordinary Muslim Woman
Unashamed and unapologetic
I do not need you to be my saviour
I do not need your liberation
I do not want to live your American nightmare
Take your imperialism elsewhere
I choose Islam
I choose submission
Submission, not to you or man, or America,
I choose submission to the Almighty - my only liberator!
I am a Muslim Woman
and all your promises of grandeur are meaningless to me
Take your philanthropy elsewhere
It is not needed nor wanted here.