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June 5th, 2013
03:44 PM ET

A plea from an exhausted Muslim woman

Opinion by Melody Moezzi, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I wasn’t surprised by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent statement about a “problem within Islam.”

It's not as though I've never heard anything like it before. I hear it all the time.

Still, his words - in response to a recent attack in London that left a British soldier dead - made me wonder: How might the public have reacted in a different context, had Blair replaced the word “Islam” with “Christianity” or “Judaism”?

I’m guessing not well.

But Muslims are used to having their faith openly denigrated by public officials.

We’re used to people failing to distinguish between “Islam” and “a few Muslims.” And we’re used to being called terrorists despite the fact that the vast majority of terrorist acts on American and European soil have been carried out by non-Muslims.

But being accustomed to abuse doesn’t mean we bruise less. If anything, being beaten repeatedly in the same spot makes each successive blow all the more painful.

I’ve written many reasoned commentaries in defense of Islam, Muslims and Muslim women in particular. This isn’t one.

Today, I’m going to do something different. I’m not going to cite relevant verses from the Quran. I’m not going to quote scholars. I’m not going on the defensive.

Today, I’m tired. So tired that I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. Not because I seek pity or sympathy, but because I think people should understand. Because maybe if they really understood, they’d stop.

Today, I’m going to tell you what it feels like to live with hate and hostility directed at you on a daily basis.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to turn on the news and hear people repeatedly call your faith hateful and violent.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be vilified any time a man named Mohammed commits a crime.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to wait at a subway station next to an advertisement calling you a barbarian.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to find a death threat in your inbox.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to know that the police are infiltrating your places of worship, finding nothing and still targeting you.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be told that you can’t be a feminist and that so many of your gentlest brothers are misogynists, criminals or worse.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to see your people being slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands by state-sponsored terrorists, only to be called terrorists themselves for the crimes of a handful among them.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to have your own people call you a heretic when you’re fighting to defend their rights, while others call you a heretic for doing so.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be told to go back to your country when you’re in your country.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be asked if you walk 10 spaces behind your husband or if he beats you or if he has other wives.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to have people assume you hate them when you don’t.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be expected to know why a stranger committed a crime because he claims to share your religion.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be required to apologize for something you didn’t do.

I’m going to tell you what it feels like to be told that you don’t belong when you know there’s no place you belong more.

It hurts.

Editor's note: Melody Moezzi is a writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. Her book, "Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life," will be published in August.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Melody Moezzi.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (666 Responses)
  1. David Alexander

    How it feels ? How does it feel to be a 14 year old girl shot in the head because you want to learn to read and write. How does it feel to be a 14 year old girl forced to marry an 80 year old man. How does it feel to be an aid work and shot because you want to administer a simple injection to a child to stop polio. Your religion is nothing more than attempt to force people to live like its 1400. You my dear are a whiner !!!!!!!!

    July 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • A in Pa

      And complety in denial about her religion. Just because her religion works for her, she lives in a safe happy home with moderate religious observations, does not adress what the religion actually stands. "I'm going to tell you what it feels like to have your own people call you a heretic when you’re fighting to defend their rights, while others call you a heretic for doing so." So she is called a heretic by her own people as she "fights to defend there rights", and still defends that system?

      July 27, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  2. SGTrena

    Ms. Moezzi, I apologize for my countrymen. I'm absolutely embarassed to be an American right now.

    Are we so culturally unaware or so willfully ignorant that we prefer to assume all Muslims are terrorists? How do Christians feel when crazy cult members usurp and pervert the Christian religion for their own fanatical needs? Perhaps we should begin blaming all Christians for the bad acts of the few, such as Westboro Baptist or Jim Jones? Such hipocrits we are when coming from a place of fear and ignorance. Such judgmental @$$es we are when we don't agree with another's beliefs.

    Did you know that Islam and Christianity have a great deal in common, including the presence of Jesus? Know any muslims personally? Have you bothered trying to get to know any? Most are just like you and me. They'd rather not live in a culture of violence either. But unfortunately some charlatans have perverted their religion and put a bullseye on all of their backs because all of you are busy acting like they are the dirt on the bottom of your shoes. You should feel so proud holding so tightly to your ignorance OVER your self-professed belief system. What self-righteous hipocrits.

    Perhaps more self-professed Christians should consider re-reading their bible and asking themselves what Jesus would do? Because he sure wouldn't act like ignorant inbred scapegoating finger-pointers. 'Course he might still have taken pity on you. Hard to say.

    July 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  3. OzarkGranny

    Reminds me of how the Jews must feel.

    July 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  4. TroyOwen

    Well then WHY DO YOU STAY A MUSLIM?
    If it hurts so much be free of it!

    July 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  5. headinhome7

    In Islam she can`t be a leader,just an object. Plus,whens the last time she`s heard Yeshua Akbar or Yewea Akbar b4 a terrorists attack.In Islam,women still live in the 7th. century.Islam is an EVIL religion.

    July 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  6. RichardSRussell

    I don't hate Muslims any more than I hate UFO "abductees" or lottery players or Florida swampland investors or people who think their e-mail contains the secret of happiness (probably involving böner pills). They're all gullible suckers who think that exceedingly dubious propositions must be true simply because they WANT to believe them. In a more benign world, they'd deserve only our pity.
     
    But this is not a benign world, and by lending your voice and moral support to the benighted concept of FAITH, you reward and encourage those who rely on faith to inflict serious harm on their fellow human beings. Islam is not alone in this, of course. In the USA, it's much more a failing of Christians. But the horrific quant¡ty of atrocities that can be laid at the feet of unthinking devotion to irrational ideas is staggering, and it's religion in general that pushes it.

    July 21, 2013 at 2:35 am |
  7. jlb

    Thank you. As an American convert everyday is a new experience in hate. Just as everyone else wants to be judged as an individual we would like to also.

    July 14, 2013 at 6:13 am |
  8. Kelly

    Melody acts if she thinks that these people who commit acts of terrorism do so for some secular reason, they just happen to be Muslim. She ignores the fact that they frequently quote verses from the Koran as justification, frequently yell "Ala Akbar: as they carry out there atrocities, have frequently attended mosques where they listen to hate speech, and the list goes on an on. Muslims are identified as the terrorists because they self identify as such....... Look in the mirror Melody, or more accurately look at your Muslim community, for the answers to your questions as to why...

    July 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Lindsay

      So using that logic, all Christians should be hated because of the actions of the Westboro baptist church?

      July 16, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • SGTrena

      You are so self-righteous in your idiocy. Guess if a few Christian extremists usurp and pervert your bible we should derrogate all Christians? Hmmm...let's see Jim Jones, Westboro, crazies with the high top sneakers, Timothy McVeigh...the list goes on and on. By your logic, perhaps we should round all Christians up and place them in a re-education camp for a few years. What a hipocrit.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

        SGTrena – "perhaps we should round all Christians up and place them in a re-education camp for a few years"

        That is the best idea I have heard yet! Excellent suggestion!

        July 30, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  9. Sandler Ernst

    Too bad my sympathy for muslims went away after 9/11 and then the boston bombing. they are part of a backwards culture. its their fault

    July 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Realist

      Too bad how we conveniently forget 50 years of unjust oppressive Western foreign policies in the Middle East before 9/11 happened.

      July 12, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • abdul

      well, you need to look what you have done to others too.
      ciminal eveywhere you go. you can't tell how do they look like or by their believes.
      i think you need to read more how muslims are treateed like in Buma and other different countries on the other hand, go and ask how we treat our guests like.

      you really need to read news moe than fiction stoies

      July 18, 2013 at 7:20 am |
      • headinhome7

        Isalm treated their guest in Syria (The Catholic priest) with a kindly beheading. Treated a family with 15yrs. in prison (Egypt) for converting to Christianity.You kill each other in Libya,Sinai,Syria,Lebanon,Turkey,KSA,Iraq. What r we 2 believe about Islam but what they speak.They speak DEATH and VIOLENCE. Please,tell us where we get it wrong?

        July 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  10. Margaret

    This article hurts. Everyone should be judged by his or her own behavior, not by some generalized hatred towards their group of origin. I am a catholic, and I just hate that everytime my faith is mentioned, there are comments about pedophilia: as if there weren't any decent priests. And my protestant friends have to endure being linked with ignorant, anti-science fanatics. But the truth is, we are all just people, most of whom are just trying to live as decently as we can. We need to commit to stop the casual hatred.

    July 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      And she couldn't be exaggerating or fabricating stories of persecution or anything.as Ive said before: lawyer, activist, writer,muslim ....

      no her story is damage control of sorts after Boston....they are trying to spread here in the states and stupid crap like Boston, the run down beheading in London etc. make it hard to put up those mosques .....

      July 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  11. Skorpio

    CHRISTIAN ARABS ARE MUCH DIFFERENT TO MUSLIM ARABS. The same nationality, culture, tradition, language but moral and ethical values are totally different and OPPOSITE.

    July 7, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  12. home team

    So it all comes down to you feeling out of place and unwelcome. Lets look at this logically. If opportunities were reversed how welcome would Christians be in majority muslim counties. There are over 2000 mosques in the United states but you cant have a church built in Saudi arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Palestine.... In fact if you even speak of Chris's works you may be arrested and beheaded "rule of Law" in some of those countries. So we mistreat you? some of those countries would beat you in the street for learning to read, So we insult you, your faith may at its core have peace but those practice it have little but hate. They despise those who disagree, they hold the west in contempt and refuse peace at every corner. You may feel this burden but you must first take an honest look in the mirror. Have you ever seen cartoons in america or London spreading filth about muslims saying they are evil and want to eat children. In the western world Have you ever seen Kindergarden children handed mock weapons and walked down the streets in parades chanting death to Christ or Jews or Buddhists ?

    July 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  13. American Pie

    Really?
    This is typical "victimhood" claimed by mainstream Muslims in the west – how the so much wrong is being done to their civil rights and how they suffer such injustice at the hands of non-Muslims. So predictable and disingenuous in comparison to what some Muslims are doing in the world. They have nothing to say about why some fellow Muslims are k illing so many Christians in Nigeria or b eheading monks in Syria or why radicals are b lowing up other Muslims in Pakistan or why a lot of Muslims are holocaust deniers.
    What about the injustices to these victims?
    The drivel coming from a Muslim lawyer – hopefully the educated type is shameful.
    Islam has a lot of rot within that needs to be sorted out by Muslims before they start whining about treatment of Muslims in the west. In comparison, Muslims states are still dwelling in 7th century b arbarism.

    July 2, 2013 at 5:33 am |
  14. Tom1940

    Well said. When those "of the faith" who coexist peacefully in foreign societies are disparaged, threatened, intimidated and in general "violated" and treated as "less than" – it is a crying shame. Injustice inflicted upon those souls is a crime in civilized society. It should not be tolerated. Nor should those who are a minority of a particular faith or religion living in Western Societies be allowed to make war on that society and not expect backlash, "lumping together with" all persons of ethnicity, religious faith, nor in sympathy with – etc.
    There should be no war between Shia and Sunni, but there are. To the point of bloodshed – all in the name of the Prophet.
    I wonder how this makes the Prophet feel? I wonder how Jesus feels when a missile strike from a drone kills one (or many) of the persons believing in another faith? Great "unanswered" questions.
    I've thought that if the women of the world "chose" not to procreate, nor participate in activities that led to procreation, until the men in their lives chose peace instead of war – if it would make a difference. There would be violence. But there is the knowledge among women, that "he has to sleep sometime", then it will be my turn. Or if the husband would wonder how "wholesome" his next meal might be if he forced his will upon his mate! One wonders and ponders what the world would look like in a few months, a year, or two? There would be change! I'm not sure what that world would look like. I'll bet better.

    June 30, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  15. Fajardin

    When you are brave enough to shout loudly to the world, I am Muslim, and I am against suicide bombers who target civilians, women and children. Whether it is done in Israel, in the US, in London, it is not acceptable , whatever the god of the koran tells his people to do. What 's your hurt compared to the thousands killed in a wanton manner in the name of their 'prohphet'?Those who died had nothing to do with the politics of Israel, US, England. No one hates the Muslims, only the ones follow the orders of the god of koran to maine and to kill.

    June 27, 2013 at 12:22 am |
  16. Hate

    Hate starts, it snowballs someone throws it out there, the person who gets hit with it throws it back. All it ever does is escalates unless someone somewhere decides to stop it..even then we all must be on board otherwise it will just grow and grow.

    Someone somewhere has the strategy to divide and conquer. Do you want to let them do it?

    June 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I'm against hate and cancer, times infinity.

      June 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  17. tsouris

    You don't have to tell me. I know.

    I am a 73 year old Jewish women and I live with insults and anti-semitisim every day. And a large part of this comes from moslems. So before you start crying about your problems what are doing about anti-christian and anti-jewish hatred coming from your community.

    June 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Hate

      Everybody hates hate. Hate escalates. Hate needs to stop on all sides.

      June 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  18. The road to happiness

    if you know Islam ,you will follow it

    June 23, 2013 at 6:18 am |
    • squeeky

      I don't follow anything. I'm my own person with my own brain. THAT is the problem with Islam, teh same as with blind followers of any so-called faith. If you don't question anything, if you think that you really have a dixie cup and string to god's ear, you will be able to justify anything horrible you do. And that is what too many muslims are now doing. When the next bombing that blows the legs off of innocent people is perpetrated by christians, I'll raise the same alarms. In the meantime, the most gruesome acts being committed in the name of an actual religion is being perpetrated by adherents of islam. End of story.

      June 24, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  19. Dad Dee Oh

    Truth hurts, maam. Tony Blair maybe right. Something's wrong is going on within Islam. And as longs as muslims hold onto denial mode, these wrongs will go on. Nobody in his right mind should think that muslims in general are bad. I think that all muslims intrinsically have a good heart. The problem lies in the teaching, maam. There are lots of ifs snd buts in the writing for the followers to be at peace with thieir neighbors. Compare it to the New Testament. This is not to say that all its followers obey it, but the scriptures command its readers to "love the enemy". Why can't muslim hierarchy sit down and amend portions of koran ? There's nothing wrong with correcting. Like taking out "Jihad" from it. That would be a good start.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  20. LIGHT

    the Arabic language is the language which the Christ will speaks in upon his coming back.

    June 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Why, because it's first in alphabetical order?
       
      Sorry to disillusion you, it's gonna be Apache.

      July 21, 2013 at 2:40 am |
    • GOD

      Yes its me........I am tired of all the bickering......PEOPLE WAKE UP!!!!!! THERE IS NO MAGICAL MAN IN THE SKY!!!! THIS APLLIES TO MUSLIMS, JEWS, CHRISTIANS ETC....MOST OF YOU ARE WELL EDUCATED AND SHOULD GET IT BY NOW......REALLLY!!!!!!
      P.S. THERE IS NO SANTA EITHER........JUST SAYING

      August 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.