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. peacetoworld


    February 24, 2014 at 6:28 am |
  2. peacetoworld


    February 24, 2014 at 6:27 am |

    O mankind! Allah created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." Nobel Qur'an (49:13)

    February 4, 2014 at 9:49 am |
    • cheesemuffin

      Faith can only be (honestly)described at delusion. Faith is for frightened followers, and the resulting power is for the evil that promotes it.

      March 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
  4. David Busi

    I read her saying it hurts but I have a huge problem with sympathy. Why? Because when one of the so called handful do barbarism to innocent people the world over the enormous number of Muslims, twenty-five percent of the worlds population has a level of silence that is deafening. What we remember is the condemnation of the USA for the killing of Bin Laden or the handing out of sweets and celebration in Gaza and the West Bank following 911. The handful she speaks of have done horrendous damage to innocents the world over and I never hear the voices of condemnation from the majority. I hear them asking and demanding accommodation for ?Islam when they offer less than nothing to others. Islam is supported in Israel yet I don't see any synagogue opening in Egypt let alone in Mecca. It hurts? GOOD it is supposed to!

    January 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
  5. Weaver Michaels

    Is this woman serious? When Christians and Jews start hijacking planes, beheading "infidels" and bombing school yards I'll start worrying about them. Until then maybe she can ask Allah to stop blowing up innocent people.

    December 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • thecatwhispererblog

      Quit whining about how hard you have it. Civilized people don't behead other people or take planes into buildings or blow up schools. It's not "just a few Muslims" either. Why have we not heard from leaders in the Islamic communities denouncing these terrorists? They come out and say "violence is not helpful to the dialogue" and they're right – it's not helpful to the higher jihad to have a bunch of uneducated twits running around blowing things up and damaging the cause. MUCH better to conquer by building mosques on a battleground "win" or moving into communities and quietly changing the laws to more Sharia-friendly state. Instead of whining, why don't YOU do something proactive like denounce the vile man who killed the British soldier? Talk publicly about how if Muslims are going to move into western communities how they need to obey the laws of the land instead of flout them. Why aren't YOU one of the leading voices of freeing Muslim women from the strictures of fundamentalism in those miserable countries like Afghanistan? Khaled Hosseini has done more to aid the Islamic women's cause than you.

      January 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Listen, Islam is a false religion the New Testament even warns about (that and Mormons) in Galatians 1:8

    Any one following Islam must jihad in the country they live in until it is under Islamic Law. That is war. There can be no peace with Islam, ever.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  7. Bibletruth

    The reason that the middle of the road, so to speak, muslims do not cry out against the atrocities of "the fringe group" is because all a fringe group muslim has to say to the middle of the road muslim is " lets sit down and look at what the holy book says" and its story over. The plain fact is that the fringe group (terrorists in fact or in support) have the holy book 100% on their side, and every half intelligent middle of the roader knows it. You have just learned, if you did not know before, the secret of the strength of the Muslim fringe.

    December 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  8. Ike

    To all those who hates Islam, my answer is go learn about Islam.
    and those who blame Muslims for 9-11 attacks check out the following.
    And what happened to the investigation about missing Trillions of dollars that Donald Rumsfeld announced a day before
    9-11 go Google the Dov Zakheim the master mind

    And Check..

    Alan Sabrosky | Veterans Today
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/author/sabrosky Cached
    Biography Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College.
    Dr. Alan Sabrosky: Israel behind 9/11, Part II | The Ugly Truth
    theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/dr-alan-sabrosky... Cached
    Dr. Alan Sabrosky has written yet another brilliant article about a subject that I write frequently about here: the fact that the state of Israel and ...


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68LUHa_-OlA (New)



    December 18, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  9. Keegan Nunley

    I have been to UAE, its actually safe there, and many american are actually living there to, peacefully alongside the Muslim population.
    Most Muslims are people who live like Americans, work hard, take the kids to school everyday and try to keep food on the table and aren't really interested in religious crusades. Leaders of the Middle east and the Islamic faith need to be louder than the 2% who have hijacked the narrative of the centuries old religion. They need to be much more vocal against violence than they are now, they need to grab the ears of international attention when the say it. Remaining silent does the Muslim community a huge disservice.

    December 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  10. Sivick

    someone needs a hug...

    December 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
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    November 28, 2013 at 12:12 am |

    Islam is a violent religion. There's no way to candy coat the truth. Even among adherents of the faux faith, brutality reigns supreme. During a recent Hajj an Australian Sunni attacked an American Shiite on the very grounds of most holy worship in Mecca. It seems a devout Muslim isn't safe from attack in an Islamic holy place – from another Muslim.
    Does the reader know that Islam is the only religion on the planet with a doctrine to justify lying? Whatever one's opinion of religion, it does seem that truth should be paramount in its practice. A religion without truth is nothing more than empty ceremony and hate filled words (see Qur'an 9 if you want proof). Let's stop blaming Christians and Jews for the sins of the Saracen shall we? Is there no end to Muslim hypocrisy?
    and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    November 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Liv

      Hypocrisy? As if the Bible and the Tanakh don't include hypocrisy. There's a verse from the Bible that says: "Blessed is he who dashes the heads of the little ones against the rocks." Hey pot – quit making fun of the kettle. (For the record, I myself am Christian)

      November 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Ike

      That is your opinion!
      Islam was the religion of Abraham ,Noah, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and all of the other prophets.
      Do you know Islam is the world's fastest growing religion,
      Thousands of people converting to Islam every day, some by just reading the Quran some recent examples, check on
      Tony Blair's sister-n-law Lauren Booth converted to Islam
      Yvonne Ridley from captive to convert.
      Actions of few bad people due to their wrong actions in response to their own background or situations can not or should not be used to give a bad name to their beliefs or religion
      defame Islam or any other religeon

      December 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  13. alimaysa

    What religion do you recommend. Every religion has its fanatics and zealots. Do you recommend that religions be contained within geographical boundaries. As to the person ridiculing praying five times a day. People take smoke brakes 4-5 times a day that is how long it takes for you to offer your prayers. We all have our own reasons and logic for doing something.Muslims who choose to kill have their own distorted logic. They belief in avenging the atrocities committed against their fathers, brothers etc. As adults living in this world we all have choice. We can choose to learn about others and treat each other with love and respect. Irrespective of their believes or we can choose to practice blind hatred towards each other.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  14. Bart V.

    I can empathize with your situation, but you ahev to understand that the events of 9/11 went far beyond simply a 'terrorist attack".The attacks on the WTC towers alone, killed people from 83 different countries. That's a huge portion of humanity that will carry a grudge for generations to come. These were not soldiers lost in battle; they were men, women & children , with many simply airline passengers. I have no doubt that you were as shocked by the terrorism of that terrible day as anyone. Then there were the attacks on a commuter train in Madrid, & a bus in London. And Muslims will say; no doubt correctly; that the men responsible are not true Muslims as the Qu'ran does not teach such violence. But that is irrelevant when such actions are done in the name of Islam. To add insult to injury; western nations send billions in aid, & have done spo for years. But the illiteracy rate within the Muslim community remains at 60%, & nothing progressive ever comes out of most Muslim countries except oil, & our presence in their lands is viewed as insulting. Living an American life on this continent ; it is likely that you & so many others have been able to adapt your religious lives to the American lifestyle. But what we see are countries with a vise-like grip on their populations. There can be no greater means to fully control the people than insist they all belong to & practice the same religion , under threat of death if not obedient, & then compelling people to pray five times a day. Five times a day? That inevitably puts a crimp in productivity, & fosters endless poverty.But even with simple things here at home; can you appreciate why people are stunned when an airport cab driver refuses to carry passengers who might be carrying a bottle of wine? And as far as aid goes, we see no changes from decade to decade. What on earth happens to the huge sums of money & endless resources sent to countries whose people by & large; despise us? Melody, we just do not hear of any positives coming from what seems like the pinnacle of intolerance, & it's not the fault of the media. Finally, from a personal perspective; whether religion or culture, there has to be something dreadfully wrong with societies that seem capable of producing an endless cascade of suicide bombers. All that being said; your article explaining the obvious, that the vast majority of Muslims aren't hell bent on destroying the west. It's a step in the right direction.

    November 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  15. aasii

    So, our world societies consist of ignorant people...

    November 9, 2013 at 4:02 am |
  16. jack

    among followers of every religion there are good person and bad person. but generally west tries for islam destruction

    November 6, 2013 at 7:43 am |
  17. richard millert

    We can only hope the future will see islam quarantined in the middle east

    November 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  18. tenaciousdeucer

    The problem is that there are more than a few countries where such laws and mores do exist in the name of Islam. There can be no argument against the fact that pockets of Muslims create Sharia law subcultures in western nations or that mosques in the west raise funds for terrorist organizations. Clearly, women and children in many Muslim countries are treated as chattel. Furthermore, It is absurd to claim to be part of a religion but then not expect to be lumped in with that religion when the ish hits the fan. If you don't want to be associated with the pervasive negatives of Islam by other people then you should actively disassociate with Islam or direct your frustration toward those who are giving your kind a bad name.

    October 31, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  19. exporensis

    Look: I am a Hindu, though secular, and married to a Muslim: I still get the cold shoulder after many decades from many Muslims esp. the bearded ones.
    I am reminded of THE caste system too often, even though I hold no part of it.
    Hindus continue to be accused of being "polytheists" because The Abrahamic faithful of all 3 faiths refuse to accept that we believe in one Supreme creator and He ,too, is male! (Param Pita Param Eshwar). English language has been bent to continue the polytheism myth and lie.
    Muslims consider themselves almost totally cleaner and holier than the rest of the world!
    We all who were colonized by the Christians and Muslims blame the two religious groups for the invasions and theft of our homelands and destruction of our prayer houses and security for centuries and continuing.
    Sectarian violence is more common among Muslims than other communities anywhere today.
    Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and many other Jammat-i-Islami variants are actively violent towards non-muslims today.
    Predominantly Muslims countries and Islamic states treat non-Muslims in horrific ways and refuse to let us emigrate to their lands while they expect all others to house Muslims!
    Why cant' Hindus build temples in Saudi Arabia and similar Islamic states?
    In short, we "infidels" also have gripes like yours to remind Muslims , Christians, and many nations and racial groups!
    Please give up on your "Islamophobia" chant; it is not convincing.
    Under threat of the jihadis, we are genuinely afrid, because we can't tell who is friend and who is foe when people and palces are being blown up indiscriminately.
    I remind you that most communities continue to be victims of the old invade, steal, and occupy mentality.

    October 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Peta

      Most definitely, every Muslim and their offsprings, regardless of wherever they are sprung) should be quarrentined to their Muslim countries, by force if necessary. Muslims are a plagued on the planet.

      December 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  20. Jack 2

    here's the firts lie: 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

    October 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Polecat

      Really? Check your statistics. Comparison of ideology between Christian and Muslim below.

      "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who
      disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads
      and strike off every fingertip of them."
      "Allah" (Qur'an 8:12)

      "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
      Jesus (Matthew 5:14)

      January 19, 2014 at 10:28 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.