9 Reasons Why American Muslim Women Should Celebrate This Fourth of July

 

It’s a gift to be an American Muslim woman and at least 9 reasons to celebrate this Fourth of July. Even when the politics are numbing and nasty. Even in an age of terrorism and rising attacks against Muslim women in America. Despite the ugliness, there is still greatness to be celebrated.

Because let’s be honest.

In many Muslim countries, the freedoms that America offers Muslim women is too difficult to attain in the Islamic world. 

What American Muslim Women Can Be Thankful For

Note: No Muslim countries are identified in this list and the following is specific to Muslim women. 

1. Freedom To Be. It is a known fact that some Muslim countries are cruel and crude to minorities, including Muslim women. At least in America, gender rights are a Constitutional right. And girls and women can celebrate their unique practice of Islam with or without the hijab, with or without religious rituals, and with or without adhering to ancient familial customs that their parents bring with them to the states. 

2. Jobs For Women, Too. Financial freedom is not a given in Muslim countries with high unemployment rates, unequal access to employment opportunities, and much more. In some countries, jobs are reserved with those who can bribe authorities; individuals from reputable families / tribes; and men over women. And when women are allowed to work, they confront harassment, unequal pay, and etc. In American, Muslim women with a decent education and unique skill set find work that is satisfying and rewarding.

3. Personal Security Matters. Sexual harassment at work and domestic violence is a crime in America, punishable by the law. In many Muslim countries, women are touched on the street and coddled at work. Some Muslim women in elite positions have illicit affairs with men to hold onto their position. At least in the states, women dealing with abuse can turn to the law.

4. Engage In An Honest Debate. To question male authority is shunned in many Muslim countries, and women simply have to obey rules set for them by men (read clerics). In America, religion is debated openly and cultural (ancient) traditions disputed. An honest, open debate empowers women seeking change. 

5. Get An Education. The American public system is available to everyone. Though public schools are not all the same in the United States, they do allow Muslim girls to learn in a safe, protected environment. The same can’t be said in many Muslim communities where girls are forced to stay at home or sent to a traditional madrasa instead.

6. Own A Home. In some patriarchal Muslim countries, men own property. Though Islam allows women to buy land and a house, many women can’t afford it and are forever dependent on the men in their family (i.e., husband). In America, we know that women own property and do not need male guardians to do so.

7. Go Anywhere. What a joy to be able to move across America and live in any of the 50 states with hundreds of cities to choose from. Personally, I prefer the Southwest. In some Muslim countries, women have few options to move and are home-or-city-bound. 

8. Drive A Car. Most American teenagers learn how to drive at ages 15 or 16. Even Muslim girls are seen behind the wheel and women in burqas or fashionable veils swing into parking lots in oversized SUVs. In some Muslim countries and communities, men drive; and in countries where women can drive, it’s just too dangerous to get on the road.

9. Choose Your Partner. In many Muslim countries, girls are forced into an arranged marriage because it’s the custom, not necessarily the law. And staying single is not an option. Neither is divorce. In some communities, if a Muslim girl is not married by the age of 30, her unmarried status brings shame and embarrassment to the family. However, American Muslim girls are getting married later and have the right to choose their partner. Yes, falling in love is encouraged here.

 

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