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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. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    hindu atheist, criminal self centered by faith need to voice their opposition to hinduism racism by faith, or their hinduism, absurdity to be civil is nothing but their hindu criminal hinduism, deception to hind fool humanity.

    June 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • HINDU FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTlTUTION

      muslim atheist, criminal self centered by faith need to voice their opposition to muslimism racism by faith, or their muslimism, absurdity to be civil is nothing but their muslim criminal muslimism, deception to mus fool humanity.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • STFU

      hey Melody , here comes your true Pakistani Wahhabi muslim throwing obscenities at everyone, he represents a true face of muslims, go argue with him.

      June 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  2. Reality

    From a better-educated, wiser, more mature, 21st century former Muslim:

    Islam and it laws give women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her autobiography, Infidel.

    "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hirsi Ali escaped - and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."

    ref: Washington Post book review.

    some excerpts:

    "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly beaten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their screams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

    "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had castes. The Untouchable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were untouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were touchable: we touched them see? but also horrifying to think of yourself as untouchable, desp-icable to the human race."

    "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were killed by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exaggerating."

    "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Somalia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feudal mind-set based on tribal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypocrisy, and double standards. It relies on the technological advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

    June 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  3. Allan Foster

    This woman does not want to apologize for things she did not do; yet, I daresay, feels quite fee to bring up the snake-handlers in West Virginia every time someone speaks favorably of Christianity. She had better learn that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    June 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  4. deepsea35

    I understand, and sympathize with your plight. However, many people have stolen your name, and commit atrocities worldwide. You can try to convince everyone that it wasn't you, but you will die of old age before you can convince every single person. Instead, seek out those who stole your name, and stop them. Until you do, the burden you carry is the fruit of all the seeds that they continue to plant......in your name.

    June 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    Are not celestial cosmologies made up of atomized cosmologies whereupon certain celestial cosmologies, many atomized cosmologies began to congeal and coalesce to begin forming cellular cosmologies? Are we not but physical cellular cosmologies of atomized proportions living upon a celestial domain of outer cosmologic proportions? When will we be able to mindfully be ever aware of cosmological proportionalities within spatial relationships of the atomized and celestial and even the cellular cosmologies? For as our bodies are machine-based formularies of atomic wonderments, does not our bodies' machinery need real life operators and real living mechanics to keep our mechanized bodies running in top notch orderliness ways? Go Figure!

    June 6, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • G to the T

      Ummmm... I'm going to go with no. The "as above, so below" concept is interesting (you should check out Chinese cosmology sometime, it lines up nicely with what you are saying) but I've yet to see any practical results that would make think it's a valid outlook...

      June 6, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • lionlylamb

      G to the T,

      Well, at least your post is not emotionally condescending. Still, I do see in your wordage that there seems to be a top-down agenda in your viewpoints. My perceptions leads one to consider that we were built from the insides out by Beings living upon the atomized cosmologies wherever is found doable upon the celestial cosmos and not just upon our earth.

      I am having a somewhat hard time for saying that the Beings living within the atomized cosmos are as being Gods. For it is my perception that the inner life Beings upon the atomic orders of spatial relativities are as mortal as we are. They live and do die just as we do and yet their lifespans are such that a year or more goes by upon their timelines and but a nanosecond goes by within our timelines. It would explain our sciences perspectives within their viewing of atoms in veils whereby science sees an electron orbiting in multiple orbital velocities giving science a skewered perception of veiled understandings. Go Figure!

      June 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  6. Topher

    Might I make two suggestions that would go a long way in changing the way we think about your culture?

    1. Would you be willing to publicly condemn those that are "extremists"? Just since 9/11 there have been more than 21,000 terror attacks by Muslims. With an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world ... if you have just 1 percent of those being extremist, you've got 16,000,000 to deal with.

    2. Would you be willing to publicly condemn Hamas?

    June 6, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  7. Question for Melody...

    ...Did you get permission from your husband/father to write this article, and where is your burka?

    June 6, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Derrick Townsend

      You are an ignorant person. Please refrain from socializing with any type of life form.

      June 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  8. Amac

    If you don't want the heat from people killing for Islam, either change them or change yourself. Religion is a choice.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  9. Carlos

    Moezzi–If you want to be taken seriously support the gay rights movement. Until then, adios!

    June 6, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  10. derp

    As much as I detest everything about this woman's religion. She is kind of hot. I'd probably knock her around in spite of the whole Islam thing.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  11. Cpt. Obvious

    The outrage is misdirected. Have outrage at those using your religion (or "highjacking" it, if you feel you must connote that) for their own violence. If more of you moderate muslims distanced yourself from the violent acts and those sects that commit such violence, then you'd not have to play the victim at all.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Ned

      Distance is not the solution. They need to eradicate the source of the problem from within. Until these fanatics are silenced for good, Islam will always have a blood red stain on it.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  12. Tea Party Patriot

    Palin / Bachmann in 2016. We can make this happen everybody !!

    June 6, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • midwest rail

      Why do you hate the poor bat colonies in Europe ?

      June 6, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Boiy Blue

      Any two dems could beat those two ass-clowns

      June 6, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  13. derp

    "How might the public have reacted in a different context, had Blair replaced the word “Islam” with “Christianity” or “Judaism”?"

    Well, when christians and jews start flying planes into buildings, bombing marathons, and hacking up innocent soldiers, maybe you will hera christian and jew used in that context.

    Until then, get used to it, your "faith" is barbaric.

    June 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  14. William Demuth

    I imagine a member of the National Socialist Band bemoaning the disrespect he received

    I am just a member of a band, I have NOTHING to do with the extermination of Jews. Only the extremists within the party like the Gestapo and the SS have blood on their hands.

    I am innocent, and my adulation of the Fuhrer is my right, but I am at my core a moral Nazi, and reject any guilt from my affiliations

    June 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Head over Heels

      Well its not about you. It's about Muslims living in the west. Don't feel like you have the right to make everything about you. No one is talking about what the nazis did to the jews. How long will you milk that goat? But if you feel your obliged to talk about that all day long, then look at your hands first. what you do the Palestinians. Stop the massacre, bloodbath, abusing children, killing pregnant women etc.... continues ....countless times.

      June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  15. William Demuth

    Good. It is supposed to.

    The pain is a message that many of us loathe your faith and want it relegated to history.

    We expect you to change, and if you wont, we intend to continue to inflict greater and greater pain until you do.

    June 6, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Head over Heels

      Well if that's your day today objective. Go on. But I feel pity for you that you don't have important things to do in life other than bashing a certain group of people who follow a certain religion. Well people will believe in whatever they want. It's a free country. What amazes me is that, you so much make a fuss about extremists trying to make people accept and practice their ways. But you yourself make threats no less. So paradoxical and pathetic. People don't live their lives for you or to adjust the way they live to make it pleasing to your eyes. Your ignorance is spilling out. Just try to educate yourself about others.

      June 6, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • G to the T

      No worries HoH – Bill hates all your religions equally. You don't have to feel like he's calling out just Islam. Oh, and I'm pretty sure he's not Israeli so I have NO idea what Palenstein has to do with this.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  16. Talha Ghannam

    Reblogged this on On the Path of Knowledge.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  17. georead

    Why be a muslim anyway? Be something else. It's not like there is a lack of other choices around.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  18. Ned

    Dear Melody,

    Just because you don’t follow your book of fables the same way as the extremists do, doesn’t mean that you get to wipe your hands clean of the atrocities they commit in the name of it.

    If there were radical Christian or Jewish groups, whose purpose was to exterminate muslins in the name of their book of fables, operating in any civilized nation, do you think those nations would put up with it? The answer is NO they wouldn’t! They would do what is right and shut them down, jail them, or enact laws prohibiting their hateful behavior.

    So until the Muslim nations of the world rid us of these extremist groups, you’re unfortunately stuck with the negative stereotype of being a terrorist, because your fellow Muslims will continue to blow themselves up in order kill as many innocent people as they can while chanting 'Allah Akbar'. Until then please forgive me if I don’t shed any tears for you.

    June 6, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Cognitive errors

      Dear Ned,

      The only reason Mandy or anyone else would ever be stuck with a negative stereotype is due to a cognitive error on behalf of the person stereotyping them. It is a common fact in psychology that the only behavior each of us are in control of is our own. As we all move toward a more logical and rational world it is each of our duties to be aware of how we think and why.

      http://powerstates.com/10-cognitive-thinking-errors

      Please review powerstates cognitive thinking errors.

      June 6, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • Ned

      @Cog
      There is nothing on that page that covers what I’m talking about. Muslim nations have the power to change other people’s perception of them, but they choose to do nothing. In doing nothing, they allow more incidents to occur, and with every incident the stereotype becomes less of a stereotype, and more of an accurate depiction.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • Head over Heels

      The same could be asked to you. What have you done to change what your country does in the eyes of the extremists? 94% of terrorist activities in the US have not been done by Muslims. In the US a person has a chance of 1 in 514,147 to be killed by a "fire arm discharge". While its 1 in 20 million of being killed by a terrorist. Even more less by a muslim terrorist. Sources to that are:
      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/15/how-likely-are-you-to-die-from-gun-violence-this-interesting-chart-puts-it-in-perspective/

      http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/06/chances-of-dying-in-a-terrorist-attack-number/

      June 6, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • derp

      "While its 1 in 20 million of being killed by a terrorist. Even more less by a muslim terrorist."

      2753 dead on 9-11.

      316,000,000 people in the US.

      1 in 114,783.

      Muslim terrorists have ALREADY murdered one out of every 114,783 Americans.

      Which moron came up with a 1 in 20 million?

      As an atheist, I dislike all religions. Only a half wit buffoon would fail to be able to see that right now there is a big difference between muslin extremism and every other religion since the death of Hitler.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @derp

      I think that most muslims, even "moderate" ones, believe that 9-11 was perpetrated by the us government and/or the jews.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • derp

      It wasn't?

      June 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Ned

      @HoH
      What have you done to change what your country does in the eyes of the extremists?

      When is the last time you saw a Canadian blow up a bunch of innocent civilians in the name of same fairy tale?

      Get a grip! If you can't differentiate murdering in the name of religion from everyday crime then I suggest you change you name to Head up My Ass.

      June 6, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  19. Reality

    We are still waiting for Ms. Moezzi's response-

    Ms. Moezzi,

    Read the following very carefully and then respond if you can to what is noted:

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    June 6, 2013 at 5:39 am |
  20. LIGHT

    The antichrist is playing with words,letters and numbers in a very high profissional way .

    I will send a small surprise for you all.

    Take a look on the CNN logo and concentrate very well,you can read it as.................. 911!!!

    June 6, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • Magic Eye

      Funny - it flips to a stylized CW for me...

      (and now everything looks aqua colored)

      June 6, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • Science

      Hey LIGHT.................to funny................... an anti what = BS

      June 6, 2013 at 6:30 am |
    • Science

      Hey LIGHT................so you know NO fairy in the sky NEEDED !

      Life On Earth Shockingly Comes from out of This World

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144326.htm

      June 6, 2013 at 6:41 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.