It came to me as a surprise when two men were hit by a car driven by a woman accompanied by two other female friends, in an alleged state of intoxication, and the focal point of the incident was the fact that these females were drunk Pakistani Muslims.
As I watched the live video footage of an eye witness trying to capture the incident, I couldn’t help but feel a rage building inside as he proudly shamed the three women. They were not being reported by this individual for the alone fact that they ran over two males and showed no remorse, instead he was shaming them for allegedly being ‘drunk’, ‘Pakistani’, ‘Muslim’, ‘women.’
I am not condoning the action of running someone over whilst being intoxicated, and showing no remorse having done so, however I am defending the right of these women to not be publicly shamed in the manner in which they have been.
“Look at them, absolute filth bags, you’d expect guys to do it, even though it’s wrong.”
The man behind the camera by his very own words evidenced how his concerns were surrounding the intoxicated state of these Pakistani Muslim women, stating that “you’d expect guys to do it, even though it’s wrong.” Could someone remind me of what is at the heart of this incident? Is it that two men have been ruthlessly run over, by an allegedly intoxicated woman, or is it that three Pakistani Muslim women were drinking? Clearly if they were male the attention would be diverted to their lack of remorse and the injuries suffered by the victims rather than focusing on their state of intoxication in light of their ethnicity and faith.
Whilst watching the video I scrolled through the comments underneath, to find an entire fan club singing his praises. “You did a good job brother.” “You are a good man and a great role model to Muslim brothers.” Wait. A great role model to Muslims? What was so great about exposing the sins of others?
The theme of comments stemmed into three directions, name calling, passing judgement on the women’s faith and concerns regarding their upbringing.
“Slags.” “Silly skregs.” “Tarts sickening.” “The coppers should bend them over and sell em to Afghanistan the dirty ‘hoars’.” “Nasty bitches.” “Skets.” “Slappers.” “Ratchet dogs.” “Just shows, filthy rats.” “Dirty bitches.” “Should have sparked them out…the dirts deserved it.”
Spelling aside, you could imagine my utter shock at the response of these ‘fellow Muslims’ who were preaching about the wrongdoings of these women, yet undermining the very foundations of their faith. They were able to see that drinking was haram (forbidden), but failed to see their bad-mouthing was also haram. Why are we so immune to the idea of bad mouthing others, and flaunting their faults before the eyes of the world?
“Why do you call them muslim.” “Pakistani yes but not muslims.” “No shame there are not proper muslims.” “Don’t call them muslims.” “Girls like that aren’t worthy to be called muslims.”“Don’t call them muslims man!!! If they don’t read or practice Islam they aint muslims.” “Expose them don’t worry about what people think.”
Why do we think that one sin, is worthy of judgement yet another isn’t? Why do we think that we are in a position to judge? Why do we think that we have a free pass from being judged ourselves? Why do we flaunt the sins of others whilst expecting Allah to conceal ours?
The shaming didn’t stop at these women alone, instead it continued into insults directed at their parents.
“Shame on their upbringing.” “That’s how they have been brought up by their parents.” “I hope their parents are proud.”
Ask yourself, about the times you’ve committed acts that you are not proud of. Did your parents teach you to commit those acts, or were they oblivious to your actions? Pointing fingers at others is easy, when you forget that fingers can also be pointed back at you. If that was your child would you be proud of your child’s actions? Also would you appreciate the actions of an individual who tried to capture your child’s face with the intention of ridiculing them on a public platform?
The camera man, made several attempts to zoom into the girls faces, with people commenting that they “cant see the girls.” I couldn’t comprehend the desire for these people to engage in the shaming process, and not even for the fact that they ran two men over, but for the fact that they were drinking. Some even decided to go as far as posting photos of the women they had assumed were involved in the incident, (taken from their Facebook accounts without their consent) causing further controversy due to mistaken identities.
Teachings of Islam
Being Muslim is something that I am extremely proud of, as Islam has taught me values that have led me to do great things and strive to be better. It has upheld women’s rights which have been of great misunderstanding for centuries, partly due to a lack of understanding and partly due to the behaviour of some which have wrongly represented the teachings of the faith. The problem here is not a problem of Islam, in fact it is a problem of misunderstanding and a lack of application of the teachings by Muslims themselves. This incident being a clear example.
Being Pakistani, has also taught me many things. Some which I am proud of and others not so much. It has taught me that culture is paramount. It has taught me that occasionally men receive special privileges that women could never receive. It has taught me that double standards are instilled into the spines of these men. Luckily my faith overrides these distorted views.
I may not be a Muslim scholar, but I do know that it is not up to us to decide whether someone falls within the fold of Islam or not. The section below the video was ablaze with comments saying that these women are not Muslims based on their actions. Yet these comments were coming from those who were clearly a leading example of how to act(!)
Bad mouthing or shaming others is not acceptable, nor is passing judgement as all judgements are up to Allah and Allah alone. Their actions are between them and God. It would not be considered good etiquette or manners in Islam for someone to make a judgemental decision about a person and their faith. Of course, it is part of human nature to form judgements, but to openly declare this judgement about a person and their faith would most definitely not be appropriate. You must consider what the purpose is behind what you are saying. Are you trying to help someone become aware of their wrongdoings, helping them correct their behaviour, or are you simply declaring their faults with no purpose other than ridiculing them in mind?
If you are sincere in your choice to advise and help someone, there is no harm if you advise them of what they are doing is wrong; if of course it is done with sincerity. But to simply do so in order to judge their actions up against your own, is not acceptable. No one is perfect. We weren’t created to be perfect.
The aim behind this response was to remind people that we all sin, and we all do things that we are not proud of. If a book of everything you have done to date, was presented to the world without your consent would you be pleased with what was being read?
The point is when someone commits an action which you regard as being against the teachings of your beliefs, then guide them by advising them, and if you’re unable to do so due to conflicting interests or other reasons, then simply refrain from harming them. Refrain from hateful speech, refrain from passing judgement, and refrain from shaming them. This is not what faith is about. This is not a true representation of humanity. People say such things are only small issues and there are bigger problems for us to deal with. But I say, if we changed the small things that build our foundations we would be a lot stronger.
I am certain that upon expressing my views on this matter, not everyone will agree. In particular some challenges may be met by those of you carrying XY chromosomes. However, having the privilege of being male in a culture created to suit you, you are unable to understand the power you hold over tarnishing a woman’s reputation by words alone.
When a man sharing my faith, decides to wrongly advocate beliefs which are in fact cultural and not Islamic, I as a woman believe that I am entitled to challenge his thoughts.