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. John

    The fact is you people do not accept others beliefs you tolerate them. Whether or not you choose to accept that I do not care. Its a tragity whats happened to Christians in Pakistan, Iraq and Egypt. Religion of peace tell that to the ones burying their loved ones. Whenever muslims become a large majority or large portion of a population all hell breaks loose. You people are a scourge. Your intolerance of others and not being able to play nice is why you are hated and loathed. Maybe if your religion would chill the heck out wouldn't be so many issues.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • barb shrum

      John, are you saying Christianity is a religion of peace? Maybe you should brush up a little on that. Plus, any time you begin with "You people" you are hanging your ignorance out on the line for all to see. It's hard to change the way you think about things, I mean look at the resistance to positive change all over the place. Hard or no, change we must. Your tone is so combative, like you don't really intend to be heard in a constructive way. Like maybe you just want to pound your white christian chest and chant USA USA. Change is hard especially when those who need it most are ignorant and rigid in their own beliefs. Open your mind and try LOVE.

      October 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  2. John

    Sorry lady but the weight of history paints a consistent picture that Islam is not tolerant of any religion but it's own and has not problem killing people to force compliance with the religions dictates. In Christian countries Muslims are allowed to worship and build mosks. Coipuld cheistians build churches in Saudis Arabia. What is happening to Christians in Iraq Afghanistan Egypt Libya and elsewhere. Name a war or conflict going on where there is blood shed today that does not have Muslims right in the middle of it.

    October 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • barb shrum

      John, have you not seen the opposition Muslims face when they propose building Mosques in the US? Again maybe you need to brush up on current events. You are very selective in your (mis) information.

      October 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  3. They are seperate...

    This makes me sick when people are talking about Christanity,Judaism and Muslim. All three are totally different, however the media,educational channels(history channel) and others are placing them in the SAME SENTENCE. In Christanity, Jesus is God's Son, in Islam; God doesnt have a son, in Judaism, some acknowledge Jesus and some do not because most of them do not recognize the New Testament. When it comes to Christanity and Islam, there are two Gods, and their GOD is not our GOD so don't get it twisted. Why are Islam countries so messed up? Christians are not perfect, but out system is far much better than any other religion, and our county is founded on that belief system. Its amazing how Christanity has reached all over the world, and other countries are living basically normal lives and trying to follow the love and teraching of Jesus, the book of life. But 90% of Africa is all Islam, and look at their country/countries; a lost of many generations, a killing rate higher than other country in the world, and proverty so bad, that their belief system is just killing them slowly. As far as this article, I like to see her go back to her Islamic countries and live the same life here as she does in those countries..she would be another statistic...another woman beating,or severely depressed with no hope and no life, no chance–she wouldnt be on a front page and she wouldnt have a voice and her face would not be seen. It appears that when they come to this country they become LIBERAL muslims, only doing basic things like; Ramadan and praying 5 times a day. Most of them have dropped the hijad outfit, and becoming more open about who they WANT TO BE BE, not who they are! They are undercover; trying to live the American life, but so fearful of Mohammad, who by the way, in the quran killed a woman as she was breast feeding her child cause she didnt beleive that Mohammed was a true prophet. Moahmmed is a false prophet, and was never included in the book of life. As far as Islam and Judaism, they only have about 5 or 6 of the bibles stories in their book from torah(pieces form the first 5 books of the bibile), the rest is all about Mohammed and how they must live their lives. They plagarized the jews, and hate them and stab them in return.

    This is my question that no one can answer when it comes to Islam?
    How can you take a PART/SECTION of someones else teaching and writings, change it totally, and then hate on the people (Jews) that wrote it?

    Example..Islam is taught in their book that when Mohammed was a baby that the people had to hide him because people heard that he was going to be a prophet of GOD?
    Who story does that sound like??....UMMMMMMMMM..can you say MOSES!!! He stole the storyy and applied it to the Quran. There is NO PROHET that has the same story. Everyone prophet has their own meaning and their own journey, that we all can learn from.

    But their govenrnent controls what they hear and what they watch and what they see. THEY ARE LOST PEOPLE!!! and through MUCH prayer only GOD (our GOD) can deliver them from their wicked ways, and find love somewhere in their hearts. Even atheists people have love in their hearts and don't go around blowing up religious buildings, killing innocent women,men and children- and they give to others and live a peaceful life.

    One thing I hate, are WANNA BE COPYCATS. There are millions of religions. But majority of all those religions are not WANNA BE, copycats. They have their own belief system, created however their culture/influences/lifestyles etc. created it.

    EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT and 99% of them has so much fear in the hearts and minds that they really believe that Moahmmed is "the messenger" from GOD...remember the world started in the middle east and it will end in the middle east..guess what???-Looking at the news..looks like they are the 1st to go!–sad group of people!

    October 13, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • peaceman4peace

      it seems like you have alot of misconceptions about ISLAM. Please whenever you get free and relax too than do visit this video link: http://www.vimeo.com/76133875 take care

      October 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • They are seperate..

        Correction, I have your people in my family..I am totally aware of what I am writing!

        October 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • peaceman4peace

          Do not judge a car by its driver, because a person who drives it might be an ignorant. So you can not blame a car to be bad. I think you have confronted with an ignorant people who even do not know about their religion. take care

          October 24, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • barb shrum

      I believe they are often referenced under the same scope because they are all born of Abraham, no?

      October 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  4. Jose M. Pulido

    Where are all my entries? Whatever happened to freedom of the press and freedom of speech? Even CNN seems to have been taken over by Muslims/Islamists.

    October 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  5. TiredOfPaying

    Good, I'm glad it hurts. Does it hurt enough yet to push for a Reformation within your cult? Because there is no greater threat to Humanity than the cult of Islam. I'd suffer through 1000 Hitlers if it would remove Mohammad from the world.

    October 10, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  6. BEthandy

    Believing in gods, souls, and after lives is the real problem. Who care what name you want to call your little belief system, it's still a wacky affront to reason, logic, and universal peace.

    October 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  7. Pravda

    Stunning that 4 months later CNN is still highlighting this article. Look at all the religions in the world and tell me, right now, which group is raiding, murdering religious leaders and burning down other religious groups places of worship?

    Sick that CNN has taken up the cause to support these animals...

    October 2, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Chloe

      It's not the religion, every religion has it's lunatics. There was a time African-Americans could not worship together with Whites, one reason Malcolm X became Muslim and started the Nation of Islam in the USA. The KKK is preserving it's White Christian values by murdering people too. There is too much focus on the Muslims in the Middle East today. If we carefully look around religion has been used as a weapon to kill and commit crimes all over the world, and is not limited to Muslims, and Christians. Sometimes a person's appearance resembling an Arabic person is enough to be treated with prejudice in the USA or even be followed by police, harassed at the airports, it does not matter if the person is not a Muslim or Arabic.The stereotypes need to stop.

      October 5, 2013 at 8:50 am |
      • Sam Harris

        Please do not bring up ancient history and talking about the crimes of Christians.. Fact is there exists TODAY no such violence else where as we see with the Nations of ISLAM. Islam is a virus, not even a religion its a political ideology bent on Global Hegemonic assimilation of all countries it enters. First there is 1% than 10% soon you have another Egypt that are killing Christians in the name of Islam.. France and the Netherlands are next ..

        October 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  8. Murky Skies

    What a load of jibber-jabber. I have rarely encountered such fantastical and trite self-victimization in the written form. Of the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world, beyond a few hundred decent people who have the courage (at the risk of their lives) to stare down their co-religionists and publicly condemn them for the incessant stream of blood they produce, 99% of Muslims are either cowardly or agree with the actions of their brethren through their deafening silence.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  9. hn

    Does it hurt when a cartoonist is murdered in broad day light for drawing a cartoon and the "moderate muslims" come out in droves to support the murderer?
    Does it hurt when a autistic Christian girl is arrested and molested after being falsely accused of misusing Quran page but no a single "moderate muslim" turned up on the street in the Islamic country where this happened?
    Feeling of hurt is not just your birth right

    September 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  10. ph

    Hard to turn your back and trust the animals that buy this nonsense:

    Quran 9:29
    Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture(that means you Jews and Christians) – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

    September 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  11. Kenneth Kellogg

    Dear Ms. Moezzi,

    You guessed wrong. Christians and Jews have been arguing for centuries over their faith. There has been public criticism, scorn, and even mockery. But we know that the principle of free speech is more important than hurt feelings.

    You're exhausted? Sorry to hear that, but this isn't over by a long shot. Let me be blunt: there is indeed a problem within Islam. The radical Islamists are a cancer on your faith. (Have you noticed that they are now killing more Muslims than non-Muslims?) It will take time, but they will join the slave-holding South and Communism on the ash heap of history. It is up to you and other moderate Muslims to decide how much of the rest of Islam will go with them. Yes, it's annoying when the neighbor's dog digs up your garden. But when your house is on fire, you might want to focus on the bigger problem.


    Kenneth Kellogg

    September 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Chloe

      Arguing about religion? Does the Holy Roman Crusades ring a bell. Religion has been spread around the world with blood shed. Let's not act prejudice. People like you will never heal the world but cause more trouble. We need to stop pointing fingers at each other and move on. One of the biggest problems is that the news sensationalizes certain events. Do not forget that even soldiers in Afghanistan pee-d on dead bodies and randomly killed civilians, but can we blame Christians for their behavior or do we condemn them for breaking the law.

      October 5, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • TiredOfPaying

        You say that its time to stop pointing fingers and move on, then mention the Crusades. Hypocrite. BTW, the First Crusade was in response to the muslim invasion of Spain. Personally I can't wait for the Last Crusade to get started.

        October 10, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • They are seperate...

        we are not perfect...but we live a more BALANCED life!–you can always find some situations that are ungodly, but we do not live completely out of touch with GOD. Our system as far as giving to the poor and homeless shelters, and helping children, and many others–show that we TRY to live a GODLY life...what can we say about Islam?????ummm..dead internet waves?? no responses–I didnt think so!


        October 13, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  12. Steve Finnell


    The three thousand who were added to the church of Christ on the Day of Pentecost continued in devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching.

    Acts 2:41-42 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

    These Christians devoted themselves to the apostles' doctrine.
    They did not devote themselves to the teaching of Moses.
    They did not devote themselves to the teaching of Abraham, Job, Noah, John The Baptist, the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Mormon Church, creed books, statements of faith, the Judaizers, the Watch Tower, the Pentecostal Church, the Pharisees, the traditions of men, etc.


    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    September 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  13. Meh

    Muslim, Christian, Atheist...none of you guys want me to enjoy talking about Zeus so...(sticks tongue out) 😛 , ,,

    September 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  14. thereISnoGOD

    "A plea from an exhausted Muslim woman"

    Don't be a muslim then. There are no gods. It's 2013 – use common sense.

    September 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Whatever

      There are some gods my way in 2013, I like to keep four or five around in my mind as a past time. She can pray to whatever ones she wants.

      September 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  15. the dude

    I agree- there is no problem with being muslim, or catholic, or christian, or a follower of zeus...no problem at all except for one small and minor thing.....

    THERE IS NO GOD– never was, never will be.
    All religions are poison that seek to oppress and control.

    if you willfully choose to follow any religion, you are insulting everyone who was ever killed maimed tortured or molested by religion and its followers.

    September 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Whatever

      That's like saying if you make love then you are insulting everyone who has ever been forcibly assaulted.

      September 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  16. DustyOnes

    If you don't like it, then convert

    September 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      Why should she convert? Should Christians convert because of the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church? Is a religious path so easily changed by convenience just by putting a new pin into a different hole?

      YES, I have left the faith of my birth, but it was not through convenience, but through soul-searching. Religion and spirituality is not a fast food mall.

      September 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Whatever

      Dusty Ones...saying if you don't like it then convert is like saying a woman deserves to be harassed for wearing short skirts. No, sorry it doesn't work that way. Perpetrators are still perpetrators you can't blame victims.

      September 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  17. nclaw441

    I support fully the right of those of the Islamic faith to practice their religion. What I expect in return from the writer of this article and other Muslims of good will, is the immediate, loud, profound and unmistakable denunciation of those Muslims who, in the name of Islam, commit acts of terror, whether such acts take place here in the US or elsewhere.

    This seldom happens. If it did, more people of other faiths would support Islam and understand that what Islamic terrorists are doing is not supported by most Muslims. When you sit silent, it suggests you do not oppose what was done.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Thinking things through

      "I support fully the right of those of the Islamic faith to practice their religion. What I expect in return from the writer of this article and other Muslims of good will, is the immediate, loud, profound and unmistakable denunciation of those Muslims who, in the name of Islam, commit acts of terror, whether such acts take place here in the US or elsewhere.: (I am not sure if my response went thru the first time but...)

      Yes, and I want all men to do the same, loudly and everywhere, profound and unmistakable denunciation of all those men who abuse women, in the US and elsewhere.

      nclaw441, I hope you get my point. Men shouldn't have to do this; nor should Muslims. But if Muslims have to, so do men. Honesty, after all.

      September 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
      • peaceman4peace

        I do agree with you, that is a realistic approach. there are some good and bad people any every nation, if some one does a cruel thing that is down to an individual, we can not blame the whole nation for it or in other words we can not put all the people into the same mold.

        September 24, 2013 at 3:33 am |
      • TiredOfPaying

        Really bad example, as any man should respect women. But comming from the backward cult of islam, it makes sense. After all, women are below camels in the islamic heirarchy.

        October 10, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  18. ayra

    I'm sorry for all of these ignorant d***heads. I can't believe that people refuse to be sympathetic and understanding. Look at yourselves. You suck. I agree with her, and I'm not even islamic. I'm tired too. Im sick and tired of people like you who won't shut up about religions you know nothing about. How many of you have actually even read the bible cover to cover? "Let he without sin cast the first stone…" seems like most of you asshats missed that verse somewhere. More than anything, I wonder why you care. Why do you care if she practices islam? Does it affect you directly? HER lifestyle choice? She isn't the country of Syria and she isn't Iran. And did you know that those aren't the only Islamic nations in the world? Several of the States' major allies are of a Muslim majority. I commend her, for putting her heart out on the line. To actually tell you a**holes that it hurts her. She's got more gall than any of you because she can admit her weaknesses.. and look at you, berating her for it. You could simply say, "i'm sorry, but I disagree." and call it a day. But you don't and you won't because it makes you feel better to beat on someone else. You guys are no better than high school bullies.

    September 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Who

      You have a misplaced compasion.

      September 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Andrew

    There are many actions in the Old Testament of the Bible that are punishable by death. (around 40 by my count). So why are Christians not clamoring for people to be stoned when they commit one of these offenses? We ignore the parts of the Bible that we think do not fit our times. Some Muslims (like those who run the theocracies in the Middle East) follow every law in the Koran to the letter. In a sense, they are more "religious" than most Christians who claim to follow the Bible.

    When you are a part of a religion like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, you have a holy book that (in theory) guides your everyday life. I'd like to see Christians ACTUALLY live the Bible for once.

    September 12, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Elmo Labador

      So....Your argument is that Christians do not stone gay people so we should shut-up about Muslims who do?
      The core religious beliefs of Christians is to love people, not judge them....The core beliefs of Islam is to conquer
      and kill people who are not a member of their faith... The concept of "moderate" Muslims is ridiculous, you either are
      a Muslim and support the Koran or you are some other religion... I have read a great deal of the Koran and if you would
      read it you may have a better understanding of the goals of Islam that do not include sharing the world with other religious

      September 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • peaceman4peace

        what would you say about [GREAT SCHISM]? this is one of the example among themselves(even did not spare member of their own faith, what would you expect from them to treat people belongs to the other faith?. so where is the love?

        September 14, 2013 at 1:51 am |
    • TiredOfPaying

      I'd like to see muslims STOP living the koran. But I'm sure I'll read a story today about muslims beheading, suicide bombing or otherwise persecuting someone today, just because they are not muslim.

      October 10, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  20. tensai13

    Some mind altering drugs are more poisonous and deadly than others – Islam is like Meth.

    September 11, 2013 at 4:51 am |
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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.