After the 2001 attack of The World Trade Center on 9/11 the western world has been living in a state of Islamophobia; a form of racism, where Islam is being prejudiced because of certain characteristics from its worshipers who are preconceived as misogynistic. Even though women are being oppressed in most Muslim countries; the religion itself is not the cause of maltreatment. Islam is not what is oppressing women, it is radical Muslim men like the Taliban and Jihad that try to use the Islamic Holy Scripture, the Quran as an excuse for their crimes against women. People who want to understand Islam need to separate the religion itself from Muslim society and cultural norms.
The number one reason why people feel that Muslim women are oppressed is because they wear a burka or a hijab. A burka is a clothing covering the entire body of a woman except her eyes and hands and a hijab is a scarf which only covers the hair, neck and chest of women. Some Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia or Sudan enforce by law that women wear a burka, if they do not they can face legal repercussions (see Fig. 1). The Pakistani minister for social welfare, Zilla Huma Usman, was shot to her death in 2007 by Mohammad Sarwar because her head was uncovered. Her murderer declared "I have no regrets. I just obeyed Allah's commandment. I will kill all those women who do not follow the right path, if I am freed again."(Spencer) On the contrary the holy Quran states that both men and women should dress modestly. Men should not watch women with lust and women should keep their body covered from all men except those who are directly related to them. For instance, their father, husband, husband’s father or sons. Allah is fully aware of everything and willing to forgive you if you commit a mistake (24:30-31). The scripture does not say women who do not cover themselves should be punished or killed. Western women and feminists feel that Muslim women are subdued because they dress modestly and wear a hijab. So I asked my Pakistani friend Maryam how she felt about that and why she wore her hijab to school she said that it is because she is not subjected to American social norms and did not have to worry about whether she was judged based on her outer appearance, she knows it is because of her knowledge and inside beauty.
Fig.1. a map showcasing in which Muslim countries require women to veil.
In addition, another verse in the Quran that is being misinterpreted is Sura 4:3 where the prophet talks about polygamy. When the Quran was written wars were being fought and many children were left fatherless. The prophet Mohammed stated that as charity a man can marry up to four widows if he felt that he could care for them and their children justly. All of his wives and children must be treated equally, if he could not accomplish that, he should marry only one woman of his choice. Once again the Quran says how merciful Allah is and that if a man could not be equitable to his wives he should...