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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. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    A possible solution to your problem: stop believing religious nonsense.

    June 12, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Science

      Maybe the dinobird will swoop down and take the ICR ,RCC and the Discovery Insti-tute away.

      Evolution again the Dinobird.............no god(s) needed.

      X-Rays Reveal New Picture of 'Dinobird' Plumage Patterns

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/11/pope-francis-gay-lobby-exists-inside-vatican/#comments
      June 11, 2013 —

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130611204530.htm

      Or the action plan will help

      Imagine No Religion 3: Peter Boghossian

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orW1AstN7AI

      June 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  2. Chase

    What you discribe is how Baha'is and other religious minorities are treated and encouraged by the government of Iran and by governments in other Muslim countries. I have seen individual Muslims stand up for human rights and speak out against injustice but I have not seen the Ulema do this, nor have I seen that Islam do this. You are mostly complaining about the opinions of others and free speech. I am proud to live in a soceity that allows the critizism of religion. Others have a right to critize Islam just as you have a right to disagree with it. Perhaps your argument would be more credible if you started exposing the treatment of religious minorities in Muslim countries, they don't have the same freedoms as you have. There are not new papers that would print their opinions. In Iran Baha'is are denied access to higher education by their government which is based on their intrepretation of Islam. I agree that Islam is the victim- it is the victim of Muslims.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Caroline Kennedy

      Well thought out, thank you. I also happen to believe cutting people's heads off and stoning women to death is a little on the extreme edge of justice.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  3. Chris R

    Don't fret – I disrespect your religion equally as much as I do Christianity, Judaism, etc. I can't decide which is a more evil force on this earth: Islam or Catholicism. Both subjugate women, promulgate and enforce ignorance, and generally spread social ills in their wake. Both are to blame for the plight of an entire subcontinent (i.e. Catholicism in Central and South America, Islam in the Middle East; some places better off than others, of course).

    "With or without religion, there will be good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things – that takes religion."

    June 12, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  4. davidtuck

    The editorial staff at CNN wrote at the conclusion of this article, "The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Melody Moezzi." To this I say, like hell they are! This Christian couldn't be more proud of his Muslim sister. Ms. Moezzi, I see great strides in human rights coming at an ever faster rate. Some day I believe that freedom and compassion will come into every corner of the world. I pray that you and I live to see that day. I know that you are tired and angry; please keep fighting and know that more of us are jopining you every day.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  5. Irrational Exuberance

    If you are tired of people saying you are following a religion which: inspires hatred, justifies abusing women; venerates a man who married a six year-old child, and according to the collected sayings had 'relations' with her at nine; and that sicne you are a follower of a religion which explicitly justifies lying in order to advance the cause of the religion nothing you say on the topic is to be trusted; then you need to ask yourself a question before complaining about how much it hurts.

    Are those accusations supported by evidence?

    Before you wind up writing an article saying how much it hurts that people are saying true things about your religion. Fix your religion so it isn't, at the very least, any of those things, then maybe you'll have a leg to stand on.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  6. Phil McCraken

    You're religion is a fraud that inspires hatred and compels young men to crash planes into our buildings, murder their own women whom they've sworn to love and protect, slaughter by the tens of thousands fellow followers of Islam because they can't agree on the rightful heir to a phony profit, cast little girls into burning buildings because they are not sufficiently 'covered', blow apart women and young children because they are too cowardly to take up arms against their enemies, and pollute what is left of the enlightened world with hatefilled and violent brands of your backwards theology that could only be described as madness.

    And your community continues to stand by silently. I don't think Islam qualifies as a religion at all. Only absolute godlessness or submission to the dark prince could allow the carnage and hatred inspired by your so called 'imams.'

    I'm more tired than you are. I'm tired of travelling halfway around the world to confront the evil minions of your so-called religion in armed conflict instigated by their evil acts. I'm tired of sacrificing the blood and treasure of myself and my countrymen to prevent the Muslim hordes from wiping each other out or turning their hatred on the West. I'm tired of your comrades crashing planes into our buildings and hearing your claims of innocence despite visible celebratory reactions in the likes of Dearborn and the West Bank. I'm tired of the bombings, beheadings, honor killings, civil wars, and wanton violence in which the Muslim world seems to relish long after the civilized world has left such carnage in the trash heap of history.

    I'm tired of you and I want you to go away. I want you to take your friends with you.

    June 12, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  7. fareed el mansoor

    the problem we face with tolerating muslims amongst us westerners is simple:
    everytime you force a more or less tolerant society (western cultures) to tolerate an awowedly intolerant ideology or religion (islam world by and large) you ipso facto render the entire society, the tolerant portion and the intolerant totally intolerant. this is a path to tyranny and loss of freedom, antidemocratic. an intolerant society is as breivik knew: totalitarian and nihilistic, the only solution is murder of the ....tolerant and intolerant.. do we really want to go there?

    June 12, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  8. avnrulz

    Go to a Muslim country and write the same article from a Christian POV; you'd probably wind up stoned or beheaded.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:36 am |
  9. JC

    You're all equally bonkers. There are no gods. Get over it.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:14 am |
  10. pickle

    The reason Islam fails is that Gabriel is made out to be a liar. Gabriel did not lie.

    Jesus died for the sins of those that would believe him and repent. Mohammed denies this.

    Two of the sentences above can be removed, and the truth is known.

    June 12, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • pickle

      Gabriel is a truthful angel.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:38 am |
  11. Joey B.

    This OP piece blows my mind. I'm not sure I've ever read anything so ludicrous, so off base, so deceptive. It's amazing to me that somebody sees the value in it. I"m as open minded and accepting of peaceful muslims as anyone out there, but what she is writing here is pure garbage and exactly why people don't trust so many good muslims.

    June 12, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • wjshelton

      " I"m as open minded and accepting of peaceful muslims as anyone out there..."

      No, you're not. Just look at what you wrote. You are closed minded and intolerant. Quit lying to yourself and the rest of us.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:36 am |
  12. Oren

    So when a 'real' muslim does something stupid, we're supposed to ignore it. It would be helpful is 'real' muslims were as outraged as we are at the 'jihad' being practiced on innocents. But you don't hear a peep out of them. That spellls acceptance and the trashing will commence, guaranteed.

    June 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • wjshelton

      You don't hear them because you aren't listening. Take the plugs out of your ears. Open your eyes. A good place to start would be rereading this article with an open mind.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:33 am |
  13. George Tabor

    What does she base this statement on? "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." What terrorist acts is she speaking of that were done by non-Muslims?

    June 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Oklahoma bombings, Olympics bomb, anthrax letters, Unabomber, etc.

      June 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  14. LJ

    I'm saving all my sympathy for Lee Rigby and family. Don't have any left for you.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  15. GOOD NEWS

    There is only one true Religion: "Universal Peaceful Islam."
    Moses, Jesus, David and Muhammad have thus clearly and unmistakably foretold about this.

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    June 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  16. Huh

    While both Christians and Jews have carried out holy wars in the past and are responsible for many atrocities, the reason why Islam is a "problem" where the others are not is they don't have several large groups of militant extremists that continue, in this age of reason, to kill and commit atrocities on a nigh daily basis against both foreign nations and their neighbors. Christians and Jews, for all the problems they still have, aren't a constant unrelenting threat to peace and prosperity across the world. And when extremists do rear their heads, they are denounced strongly by the remaining body where Islam stands silent, as if in tacit agreement with the actions their extremists take.

    June 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  17. One step further

    Think for a moment of "Allah" not as a literal being but as a symbol of an Islamic faith based person's "personal best", or "highest atainable goal in life"..think of the symbols we use in our lives.

    Simply because the author is using Islamic symbolism does not mean her interpretation of that symbolism is the same as the interpretation of someone else who is using the same symbols.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  18. light

    For Christians please read this:

    If you as a father or mother has to choose one of the below two choices, please tell me which one you will choose:

    1-all your kids are to die.

    Or

    2-You'll be beaten to death.
    Normally and logically all of you will choose the second one.

    Why that choice? Because dying for one time is better than dying every day.

    Those who lost their kids are dying every day to the rest of their life.

    Also Those who are sick with dangerous diseases are dying every day.

    Those who lost their wives or husbands or beloveds are dying every day.

    And too many others are suffering and dying every hour because of the pain of the soul not the body.

    Actually the suffering body is nothing comparing with the suffering soul.

    Actually That concept destroying your faith from the base……………how?

    We can ask for how many hours the Christ suffered? Two hours? three hours? ten hours?

    Actually If he was sick for many years, or if he lost his family or if he lost much of his beloveds and dears or if he passed all these things then we can say that he suffered for the human kind.

    But suffering by beaten for few hours for all the human kind for all the time a little child can not believe it.

    That is why you can find too much atheists in your sociaty because what they found in Christianity is against the logic and the brain.

    If the forgiveness is by beaten, then what a cheap price for forgiveness.

    For Christians please read this:
    If you as a father or mother has to choose one of the below two choices, please tell me which one you will choose:
    1-all your kids are to die.
    Or
    2-You'll be beaten to death.
    Normally and logically all of you will choose the second one.
    Why that choice? Because dying for one time is better than dying every day.
    Those who lost their kids are dying every day to the rest of their life.
    Also Those who are sick with dangerous diseases are dying every day.
    Those who lost their wives or husbands or beloveds are dying every day.
    And too many others are suffering and dying every hour because of the pain of the soul not the body.
    Actually the suffering body is nothing comparing with the suffering soul.
    Actually That concept destroying your faith from the base……………how?
    We can ask for how many hours the Christ suffered? Two hours? three hours? ten hours?
    Actually If he was sick for many years, or if he lost his family or if he lost much of his beloveds and dears or if he passed all these things then we can say that he suffered for the human kind.
    But suffering by beaten for few hours for all the human kind for all the time a little child can not believe it.
    That is why you can find too much atheists in your sociaty because what they found in Christianity is against the logic and the brain.
    If the forgiveness is by beaten, then what a cheap price for forgiveness.

    June 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Christ died for you and me

      And this comment is an example of "logic"? I'll take the truth of Jesus' dying on the cross for the sins of mankind over your blabbering.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Darin

      " I'll take the truth of Jesus' dying on the cross for the sins of mankind over your blabbering."

      What about the other son of Gods that have done the same thing? Or are you so dumb you don't know there are others.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  19. J Ndluli

    I wonder where the writer (Melody) is living? Maybe in the USA or UK. Regardless she is enjoying the luxury of a democratic environment, built on the foundation of a Judeo-Christian society. I am sure though, that Melody is not resident in the Islamic country of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Libya or Egypt or Iraq or Saudi or Yemen or Algeria etc. In many of these countries there are weekly suicide bombings, attacks on 'opposition' Muslim worshipers, etc. Foreign laborers are exploited, women's rights are restricted, punishment by beheading occurs, the conversion from Islam to another faith is punishable (death) by law, etc. Truly, Melody needs to stop playing the martyr and recognize that there are at least two sides – to every opinion uttered or view held.

    June 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  20. light

    hjkl kgl

    June 11, 2013 at 2:13 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.