Racism from Born Muslim Men is Hurting Latino Muslim Women by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente


Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente. Racism against Latin WomenOne of the first things a newly Muslim woman convert learns is that Islam makes people equal and the only thing that differentiates a believer from another believer is their level of piety. They also learn that Islam raises the honor of women to levels that no religion has done, that they, as Muslims, have rights, and they are encouraged to get marry since marriage is a half of the Din.

However, when it comes to Latino Muslim women of marriageable age, some have not received respect in terms of their honor, their rights as Muslims, or equal treatment as with other Muslim born women. It seems racism and stereotypes about Latina women are stronger than faith and piety.

When Religion disguised Deception

Samia lives in Argentina and knows about this: “I met a Muslim man from India at the mosque. He told me that he wanted to marry. He met my parents and after two months we got married. A week after our Nikkah (Islamic Marriage), he told me he had to return home, that his mother was ill, and he would return back to take me to meet his family. He emailed me months after, to tell me he has married another woman in his country chosen by his family.”

Farah is a divorced mother and lives in Mexico. She married a man from Morocco that she met in the mosque. After 4 years and with a little child, the husband of Farah left. Once in Morocco, he married his longtime fiancée, a girl known by his family since the time of high school and brought her with him to Mexico: “I do not receive financial support nor does my child have communication with his father. He just forgot everything.”

Karima, a Caribbean Muslim Woman, felt traded: “There was a time when I was having a hard time getting a job. I received an email from the Sheikh who offered me $100 American dollars a month to marry a Pakistani citizen, so the man can get the Visa. I wonder why this Sheikh was not recommending a legitimate marriage for me or helping me to get a job? Why I was good to sell myself to a man for a fake marriage? I think my ethnicity has a lot to do with it. This hurts me very much.”

Would They Do This To a Woman “Of their Own”? Racism as a Factor

What drives these men to act this way in the context of Islam? While it is not possible or fair to generalize and label a group of people based on a behavior, I think racism is a factor; not functioning as the main reason, it hides behind deceitful speech about religious duties owed on behalf of family and culture, and is yet evident.

It is widely believed, though not always publicly admitted, that Muslim converts are lower, because we are not Arabs, because we do not speak Arabic and are therefore less able to understand religion and, for this, less valuable to form families within the framework of Islam.

There is also a particular bias against Latina women on the part of Muslim born men and women: for many of them, we’re prostitutes, cheap and available for sex; in this perception, media representations have much to do, because we are described as highly sexualized for Hollywood, magazines, and pop culture.

This leads to a dismissive perception of cultural differences. Latinas are educated in mixed environments – engaging in conversation or activities with the opposite sex has no negative connotation as it does in other cultures where the honor of a girl is on trial if she talks too much to a fellow student. Also we’re a welcoming culture where expressions of emotions and affection are open and common. What for us is a beautiful feature is taken by others as flirting, lousy behavior, a permission to take advantage or sexual invitation. It is unfortunate that Latina women are judged with parameters that are not part of our identity.

Sorry, but They ARE Muslims

I often hear stories like this: A man comes to South America and marries a local girl. He makes all the acts, he even meets the parents. They never said that they are already married or engaged in their countries or have no intention for a long term commitment. I’ve heard some saying: “I’m looking for a Latina to hang around with, while my father finds me a suitable wife.” Problem is, the Latina doesn’t know about this. She thinks he is serious.

It is not enough to say that those men are not Muslims. These women met them at the mosque, or in religious environments. Those men identify themselves as such and that plays in favor of the deceiving, because that makes them more reliable in the eyes of the women they approach to.

Some Advices From Our Peers

Naima, from Puerto Rico, is married to an Egyptian man. She admits stereotypes exist: “I’m very happy with my marriage, but I took all the precautions during all the process. I was deeply informed about everything. I live in Egypt and I know the average opinion here about Latin Women. Sadly, hijab doesn’t make any difference”.

Maryam is a Chilean Muslim married to an Iranian for 3 years. She says the key is to learn and apply the Quran: “New Muslim converted girls are often more concerned with finding a husband than reading the Qur’an. The Qur’an commands knowledge. Knowing our rights can reduce risks. A man who has a serious interest will have no problems with you finding out all the information you need, until you feel safe and satisfied. If you see he looks down on you or is shy to show you his mother… don’t lose your time. “

For the good Muslim, cultural differences and racial stereotypes should never be more important than the Islamic values of honesty, good intentions and compliance to what the Noble Quran established for relations among believers. The Quran clearly says that believers, men and women, are friends and supporters of each other. This command should be above everything.

Muslim men, who go through life abusing the feelings of women because they consider us inferior due to our ethnic, social or cultural background, should be named and ashamed as men and Muslims. They abash Islam. What they do to a woman, they do to all women, their mother, sisters and daughters. No woman deserves that. No Muslim woman deserves to be treated otherwise than as if Paradise was at our feet.

Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente is a Writer, Mentor and Community Educator in Capacity Building for Grass Roots Female Leaders and Advocates. A Muslim Feminist who is an Independent Researcher of Gender and Islam in Latin America on Feminist Hermeneutics, Muslim Women Representations, Queer Identities and Movement Building. She blogs in Spanish at Mezquita de Mujeres, a site dedicated to explore the links between Gender, Religion and Feminism as well to Women from the Global South as Change Makers in their communities.

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Categories: Feminism and Religion, Gender and Sexuality, Islam

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75 replies

  1. Thank you for writing this. It is a tough call. But it needs to be said and then it needs to be addressed.

    I cannot say ANYTHING to support that racism of born Muslims, as we also have this problem in the North.

    However, when it is clearly also impacted by sexism leading to this level of abuse we need a combined action plan. By that I mean, just to develop awareness amongst Latina Muslim women converts is only one part.

    We also need legal support and spiritual advice.

    We need Muslim men both Latino and Born to step up to the task by accepting responsibility for this ill and its consequences in the community. They need to start holding their brothers accountable, calling it out and take steps to eradicate it, including legal ones.

    A similar project was done against domestic violence in Philadelphia. At the community level they would name the perpetrators and recommend not supporting their businesses or their persons within the context of the mosques and Muslim establishments.

    Sometimes alas, men do not listen until other men are telling them this will NOT be accepted in our communities.

    good luck

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    • My dear Amina:

      How are you? I’m starting a new life without gallbladder but with renewed energy. Thanks, as always, for your insightful comments. I have stopped my social activities until September, and soon I will communicate with you.

      This problem is something that is spoken everywhere, often I get emails about this, but nobody dares to address it seriously. The women I talk to know they will be isolated, as no one wants to “bother” Arabs, Turks, Indians, etc. .. or make them feel “unwelcomed” because they are seen as superior. Unfortunately, the losers are women. I collected several testimonies, here only put three for reasons of space.

      I believe that in these cases also influences the attitude of the converts who make an idealization of Islamic life and born Muslims as the “ideal model” to the point they say that “in an Islamic country can better live the Islam “. In other hand, there is a “colonial” attitude towards us. We are asked to be Arabs, Moroccans, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Indians, if we want to be accepted as Muslims; but none of them try to understand the Latin culture beyond stereotypes.

      As you say we need honesty and accountability in the practice of Islam as ethics. I think in a mosque as an open spaces where people can learn, share thought, express spirituality but at same time, to receive support, because religion is part of life and we carry it along our daily journey. If we talk about the community or “Ummah” should be present not only in the discourse and Eids.

      I would like to know more about that community in Philadelphia. I am preparing a paper for Postcolonial Studies Conference to be held in Buenos Aires. My statement will be on “Gender in religious spaces” and I’m looking for mosques with “good practice” to present as examples.

      I hope to talk with you when my medical leave get lifted. Receive a big hug and a warm Salaam.

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  2. This is a great article, I am a born Muslim but still some men are just evil they would ve done the same to their wifes regardless . I feel so sorry and ashamed that these people are using the mosque to accomplish their schemes. Thank god we believe that they’ll get their punishment from god. I think that Muslims are just like everyone else and when you want to marry regular rules apply not all Muslims unfortunately go by the Quran, someone who fears god would never do that to anyone.

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  3. very sorry to hear and read about it sister.

    Its truly painful and tear jerking that after so many hardships of converting to Islam, this is what they are met with. I am born muslim from Pakistan nd never been abroad, but via youtube and social media have knowm so much about revert muslims and their suffering. And in my opinion, Latin Muslims and people in general are very humble and nice n loving. They are also very observant muslims.

    I really feel about this region as general since there has been so much trouble and bloodshed in terms of gangs, cartels,drugs and prostitution. It has been literally shredded.

    I dont think so i will be able to marry any one of other culture but if I will, i will prefer some one from South America. My heart has this wish buried deep inside.

    This continent is so new and amazing and intriguing to me.And all Lation Muslims i found online (not a lot, very few) tend to be very humble, caring and sympathetic. How can any one be rude and harsh towards such people. Not to forget, there is also a lot of grace in the women in this region.

    I pray that Allah make all muslims empathetic and non prejudiced. And also parents do not be bias in the marriage of their kids. And all muslims should whole heartedly support new Muslims from all races and specially from Latin America and be the proponents of cross culture/race marriages since it will make our Ummah stronger and also bring smile on the battered/struggling Sisters…..

    May Allah also soften the hardened hearts of many Muslims Men.

    Aameen

    JAzak Allah for the article sister, it deserves more publicity and sharing.

    Assalam u Alikum

    A Brother…….

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    • Thank you very much. Inshallah many men can leave pride aside and understand when we call this problems out is not a against them nor against Islam and our silence just contribute to the abuse and abuse is something we can’t admit within our communities in behaflf of the principle of zulm or no oppression.

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  4. As salamu alaikum, I wanted to make clear these situations are not only happening to Latino women, is more than known that African-American sisters, Anglo-saxon sisters and even non- Muslims women, are dealing with the same problem. I was one of them until I got out and learn my lesson. Muslimahs are not studying their dean with understanding allowing these men to do what ever they see fit.

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    • Oh course it happens to other women, but as a Latina Muslim Woman I am focused in my ethnicity and the cross roads that implicate it for good and bad. Latina women are always misrepressented and undervoiced. Anytime we talk in our behalf, people pretend we include in other groups or voices as “brown women” or “women from third world” or “converted women” and that make us dissapear and favours our invisibilization. So, for me is very important to highlight the particularities on ethnicity and in this way improve the chances to make our voices heard and our singularities recognized

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  5. There are Jerks in every segment of society, it is not racism, It is hypocrisy of Muslim men. My daughter also married to a guy. They were very religious, but whole family was involved in the game of temporary marriage for him to get citizenship. He never even consumed the marriage, He wanted to get legal and get rid of the Canadian wife to marry the cousin in Pakistan he was engaged since childhood.

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    • I am so sorry to hear that about your daugther. You point something very true. Sometimes all the family is involved in the trick. And also, most of the time, this kind of people in is the first lines in the mosques, the most strict in celebrating ramadan and always ready to point other’s mistakes. How distasteful

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      • That was a blessing in disguis. As they say pairs are made in the sky. My daughter is now married to a rich Italian guy. She is having her first baby any day now. And all her in laws are so caring. I am glad about her fate.

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  6. Thanks for a moving post opening a conversation on an important problem. Thinking about what you say in the context of Greece where there is still a great deal of ethnocentrism–leading to pressure to “marry a Greek,” I would say that family-centered ethnocentrism may be the primary factor. As Amina says sexism is a major part of it too–a man can do what he wants in relation to women, especially to women who are not protected by family systems a given man has to respect due to family-centered honor codes. And then you add the racism that views Latina women as “less than” Arab women and the men have free rein … Siggghhhhhhh as usual …

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    • Yes Carol, is really a disgrace that we live in a sexist world so you can find similar kind of discriminations towards women everywhere, specially when is about religions and religious spaces where the mainstream narrative are still too male centered and based in a model of woman that most of the time is the model of woman that please male centered minds

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  7. This issue is similar to what happens in yemen. In Yemen it is called tourism marriage. Usually men from the Gulf who come to Yemen on vacation and ask to marry a local yemeni woman. Once they spend a couple of nights with them they go back to their countries not coming back. The issue here isnt about new or born muslims, it is clearly rasicm and sexism combined. These type of men clearly belittle people of other countries that are not from their own country or race! They feel that they can use these woman in such way, which is HARAM! HARAM! HARAM!

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    • Yes. I have read about and also I think it happens in egypt too even with young girls whose families are in economic disvantage. For me this is an interesting topic of research and I am very tempted to go beyond. I would like to know for example, to which branch of Islam the most of these men belong or identify with and what’s the narrative about women and race they manage in behalf of it?

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      • Yes, sex trafficking of poor working class or rural girls in Egypt by/for the benefit of Gulf men happens under the guise of “temporary marriage”. It now also goes on with Syrian girls and women.

        Google “summer brides”. It’s heartbreaking, really.

        These girls are used and then thrown away, losing their honor (in the perspective of their communities), are often illiterate, so they sometimes have to do another “summer marriage” and another, and another, and sometimes even end up as street prostitutes………all because of men, their racism, sexism, classism and obsession with sex, preferable with young, virginal, vulnerable women…

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  8. This post is about 20% accurate I would say because 1.) I myself was was born in Pakistan & am now married with a Latino women from Peru named roxana by birth she may not be a model but she’s everything I knew was right for me spiritually and mentally
    It’s obvious the men aren’t the entire problem here and I feel like this post is aiming at trying to make Muslims look bad as usual

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    • Excuse me? The fact that you’re not like that doesn’t mean these things doesnt happen and doesnt give you any right to dismiss my journalistic work suggesting there’s a hidden intention. Instead of feel offended try to show some islamic attitude and pray for these women so they can find a good man the next time

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      • Shame on such Muslims who prefer their culture, race, ethnicity over Islam. Looks like they are living in the pre-Islamic era coz of these things. They truly need to be educated about Islam. No prophet will come now for us to be guided and for making us come out of the darkness. We’ve to study our religion properly to overcome such issues.

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    • Oh brother, you need to do your research. I am a Latina muslimah & my husband is also a Latino Muslim but I know many Latina sisters that married foreign brothers that ended up bad. They are all divorced now, and the treatment that all received was the worst one. I’m not saying thay all brothers are the same but it’s a larger percent that what you are saying.

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  9. Thank you for this!! I’ve seen this in my African American and Latin@ community, and am sure it is happening in others.

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  10. We should highlight the successful unions between Latinas Muslim women and Muslim men of different ethnicities. Highlighting a few errant stories paints the wrong picture. As far as feminism itself it is antithetical to Islam and all major religions. The man is the leader of the family unit in every religion and it is a God given right. Women must obey the husband. The children likewise must obey the mother and father. Any deviation from that sacred hierarchy has always resulted in widespread social corruption and problems.

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  11. This has nothing to do with racism, and unfortunately all to do with your religion. You converts have been sold a bill of goods. If you truly researched Islam you would know that women are in no way equal to men. especially those living in Muslim majority countries. Afghanistan. Yemen.

    men inherit twice as much as women. Rape victims are jailed. A woman’s testimony.

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  12. Hi venesa
    First of all blessings and my regards to you. I dont know how I have landed on this topic or your post. Iam really very sorry to hear about your story because as far I understand this usual happening in the Muslim society and not classed as bad you think. I was actually involved in arranging marriages for few years and heard many stories of women who were victims of this crime. Few weeks ago I have come across one story which is still incomplete and iam trying to paint full picture of it but still i haven’t heard full story.I assume it is horror story . I would call actors of this story is a Doctor (Pakistani origin now naturalized British due to marriage and working) victim a solicitor and two off springs.
    In this story parents of the girl traveled to Pakistan to get suitable match for their daughter and introduced a family very poor and got married. She helped him in all aspects learning driving and licence, with his language and passing exams etc. sending £300 per months to his parents to improve their condition in Pakistan. EXACTLY as soon as three years finished this monster disappeared left his wife and two baby daughters.
    The Pakistanis living in the Britain facing big problems in arranging marriages of their daughters where it has become a big business where they have to spend lots of money on gifts, arranging three parties or more which costs thousands of pounds.

    It was one evening when i had telephone call from one British Pakistani who told me he is married and looking for another girl to marry. First I have tried to convince him not to do this and but he was insisting to help him out. I told him I can not help him out because this is not right but he didnt sto there and kept insisting. I told him ok give me details if someone is interested i will let you know. He refused to give me his details because he is very famouse pakistani in britain even children knows him as well all over in britain. Who was this man? first british muslim MP or lord of Britain?

    A Hindu convert to Islam she was pretty struggling to find suitable match for her and told me tat as soon as I tell that I was Hindu most Muslims go away from her.

    I have called one joiner egyptian origin and my wife asked him how he came to britain then he laughed gigggled and said he married to british . He said I have married her to get citizenship. when he get citizenship he will go to Egypt and marry and bring her here.

    Go to any poor muslim country if you are american british or european first question you face is to arrange visa for them by money, paper marriage, cheating or by any means. These mosques, religious places community centers are also part of this game

    I better leave it here and pray for victims of these crimes

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    • Oh that’s awful. But common and this is something the ones who benefit of this will always try to silence under the argument that “it makes bad image to Islam”. Talking about this doesnt make bad image but those acting in this way. About arranged marriage I still don’t know why women are considered a commodity without ability to decide and behave like an adult by herself in such impotant thing.

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  13. Salaam

    interesting topic, I thought it was only happening in South Africa only.. Indian Muslims treat black converts as beggars. They get surprised to see an educated well off black Muslim.

    it makes me sick and ashamed to be associated with such people.

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      • If you’re the exact example of racism, how come you write on this topic?! You already know how the economic conditions in these countries are ….

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    • Anti-black racism and shadeism and colorism are a global problem, not just amongst whites in North-America and Western Europe, but also amongst Arabs, Imazighen (Berbers) and people from the Indian subcontinent & their descendents.

      I’m a black, Afro-Caribbean convert living in Holland, and have experienced lots of racism from Moroccans (Arab and Amazigh) and Egyptians. There are tons and tons of articles about the racism even Afro-Arabs and Afro-Imazighen face by their own brethern/people. This anti-blackness and anti-darkness is also a huge problem in the Indian subcontinent, and those Godawful bleaching/lightening creams are sold worldwide in Latin-America, the Caribbean, all of Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China.

      This problem even exists in my beautiful, native country Surinam. We are a multireligious, multicultural society and live peacefully together, BUT Hindustani-Surinamese folks (the largest ethnic group) are very racist against Afro-Surinamese people.

      And yes, I fully agree. I don’t want to be associated with Muslim racists, just as I didn’t want to be associated with Christian racists when I was a Christian. They are NOT my “brothers and sisters”.

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  14. Unfortunately we are living in a day and age where morality has become a thing of the past and religion has no influence in a person’s life . This is true concerning the masses . One of the greatest obstacles to the pursuit of happiness comes from our experiences in dealing with the manipulations of others . I guess this is from our naive tendencies of misreading people’s motives and intentions .

    We need to amour ourselves with the tools that will enable us to see people in the most realistic light possible . Unfortunately this must be done through trial and error . Now that we have pinpointed the problem , we need to come up with solutions . I guess the first step that a person should take is to correct the views we have of others , in dong so will help in dealing with others in an effective way . By making yourself aware of the true nature of others, will lessen the dismal interaction with others . In understanding human nature it will let us see things with clarity . The world is full with people with different attitudes and notions. Most of us are about subjugating others into their control and all we want to do is to assert dominance over others .

    I pray and hope that Allaah gives us all the tactical nous in reading individuals including their darker sides .

    Your brother in Islam Abo Anas Colon .

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  15. This was very powerful and I thank you for it.

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  16. Assalamu Alaikum,
    I am a convert married to another convert. He is Mexican and I am black. We are familiar with this form of racism. We know many sisters that have been married to brothers from the “Muslim World” and almost all of them have ended in divorce. Most of those divorces are bitter, soul-crushing divorces. These guys get mad because the woman they married is not like the women back home or they get mad because she wants to teach her children her language and culture. Or, before they get married, the non-Muslim girlfriend is the man’s “dirtly little secret”. I know we can’t lump all of our born Muslim brothers into one group but this is all too common and it needs to be addressed.

    Before my husband and I found each other, women had asked about him but because he wasn’t Arab, he wasn’t worthy. I was chatting with a Jordanian man but when asked about my ethnicity, he didn’t want to tell anyone because, in his opinion, I did not look black. That was enough for me and I ended it. My husband, was not going to beg these Arab men for their daughters when there were plenty of convert sisters out there that would appreciate a good man. Like him, I was not going to deny my blackness because of someone elses issues. Alhamdulillah, we have been married for almost 10 years.

    As converts, we are all too often led to think that born Muslims are somehow superior and can help us in our development as Muslims and our practice of Islam. While they might have some knowledge of the language, many of them are just as lost as we are and only practice Islam out of tradition. While there is nothing wrong with marrying a born Muslim, I highly reccommend that convert sisters (and brothers) seek out other converts or born Muslims that have been in the West for a few generations.

    Marriage is hard enough in this dunya. There is no point on making it harder because your spouse hates you for being you.

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    • Thank you very much for your testimony. Sadly this form of racism is very common and every converted has experienced it by first hand and have something to say about. I think women must take care of each other make our voice heard and stories roll around so our sisters know what are the risks. I also agree is better to marry another converted and ideally someone from a similar cultural background or outlook in life to build a bond that can last in the time.

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      • I agree. Prior to taking my shahada, I learned all that I could about women’s status and rights in Islam. In fact, I felt that Islam was very welcoming to women so becoming Muslim was easy. It wasn’t until after I had seen how many convert sisters, especially black and Latina, were treated by some of their so-called brothers and sisters from the “Muslim world”.

        I knew enough to separate the behavior of some from the actual commandments of the faith. But, if a person doesn’t know that, the lines between culture and religion can get clouded and that is where much of the problem lies. We have to promote education amongst our sisters (convert and born) because the lap of the mother is the first school and if we truly desire this deen to be passed down for generations, the mothers must be knowledgleable.

        I have no qualms with marrying someone from a different culture. I did and it has been great for the mostpart. I just feel like as converts, women need to keep their guard up and look for pious, respectful men… not just guys from the “Muslim world”.

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      • Exactly sister! We must empower oruselves in our faith. Hugs

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    • “My husband, was not going to beg these Arab men for their daughters when there were plenty of convert sisters out there that would appreciate a good man. Like him, I was not going to deny my blackness because of someone elses issues. Alhamdulillah, we have been married for almost 10 years. ”

      YES! We should be proud of who & what we are, and to hell with racists who can’t appreciate that! Also, the Quran doesn’t forbid Muslim women marriying believing non-Muslim men. We are only barred from marrying atheists, agnosts and polytheists. So that’s also an option. If Muslim men can “marry out”, we can, too.

      And yes, thanks for sharing your story. It’s very interesting (and revealing).

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  17. I wrote a response that seems to have been lost. Let me just say quickly how much I appreciate you saying this. Accountability is everything. As long as they think they can get away with it, they can and will. So good for you.

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  18. I understand this post fully. Those men should be pointed out and future women should be warned about the “fake” Muslim brothers. The problem is that women wait until it is too late to tell what is happening to them. Sisters, before getting close, make sure he attends Masjid, don’t meet alone, and minimize online communication. If he is willing to wait and follow the Islamic way of courtship, then he “may” be worth marrying. Don’t get disappointed.

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  19. First of all lets look at the writer (Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente is a Media Analyst and Gender Journalist who thinks, writes and lectures in Feminism, Islam and Postcoloniality. A Queer Muslim Feminist building links between southern women in Latin America. You can follow her in Twitter: @DivinaFeminista.) Obviously this woman does not follow the teachings of Islam regarding being Gay…… second of all the first story tells of a woman who married a man she just met after two months, who would do that honestly, you don’t know the guy or know anyone who knows him to know what kind of person he is?. Second story tells of woman who married a Moroccan man for four years and had a child together then left and never gave her any support this is only her side of story not his I cannot comment on the child’s father, but this things happen in Muslim families when the man or wife are irresponsible in their duties. The third story tells of a woman who met a so called “sheik” who asked her to do something which is illegal, fake marriage to Pakistani to gain citizen, She did not go through with it which was smart of her. If you notice the title of the article it says Racism from Muslim born men. None of these stories suggest any racism was going on any of these relationships. further it says in bold letters (Would They Do This To a Woman “Of their Own”? Racism as a Factor) if any racism is going on it’s from the writer herself who implies that the behavior of these born “Muslims men” not the ones that convert but the ones that are “born Muslims” is to do with racism. she goes on to even accuse the “”born” Muslim women and men of seeing the Latino woman as prostitutes available for sex.. Audhubillah her article says (It is widely believed, though not always publicly admitted, that Muslim converts are lower, because we are not Arabs, because we do not speak Arabic and are therefore less able to understand religion and, for this, less valuable to form families within the framework of Islam.

    There is also a particular bias against Latina women on the part of Muslim born men and women: for many of them, we’re prostitutes, cheap and available for sex; in this perception, media representations have much to do, because we are described as highly sexualized for Hollywood, magazines, and pop culture.) This person is not writing to make the Muslims aware of the difficulties and problems that Muslims women face in their marriages, this so called “Queer Muslim Feminist” as she calls herself is only writing to make the “Born Muslim” men look bad. The only good thing about her article is the title where it says (Some Advices From Our Peers.)………..

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    • Do you have a problem with me being an educated woman?

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    • Salam Aleikum sister. Have some control of your nafs. Whether you think these situations happens or not, you don’t honor yourself with your comment full of prejudice, contempt, looking down and judgmental attitude towards someone else. Tell me: Is that the way the Prophet Muhammad spoke to others? Is this how you want to be known as a Muslim? Only Allah knows the hearts. It is a cruel, selfish and merciless way to express your heart expressing out so rudely about others you don’t know and about sister who bravely has contributed with their testimonies. On the other hand, is very proud and conceited of you to pretend that you can decide who follows or not the teachings of Islam. By your attitude, I’d say you do not follow them. You may be right, but you don’t have adab, rahma and you don’t express fairly

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  20. I’m not trying to spark argument or a religious debate, but I have a few problems with the way you are presenting Islam (or perhaps Islamic societies). You say:
    “Latinas are educated in mixed environments – engaging in conversation or activities with the opposite sex has no negative connotation as it does in other cultures where the honor of a girl is on trial if she talks too much to a fellow student. Also we’re a welcoming culture where expressions of emotions and affection are open and common. What for us is a beautiful feature is taken by others as flirting, lousy behavior, a permission to take advantage or sexual invitation. It is unfortunate that Latina women are judged with parameters that are not part of our identity.”

    Now, how does this, as you say, portray a religion that “raises the honor of women to levels that no religion has done”? I have been trying so hard for years to try to understand this contradiction between Islamic countries’ cultures and what the Quran says about women, and I cannot. And I’m not solely thinking about hijabs and burkas. I just cannot understand how not being able to drive, be educated, open a bank account without a male guardian allowing her, or even leave her house without a male guardian present (and these are laws, not just perceptions of women) honors a woman and allows her basic freedoms. Maybe this is just my Western thinking, but I cannot wrap my head around it. A really good friend of mine who is Muslim (American-born Egyptian) was having problems with her faith for this exact reason. You Muslims have a different definition of honor than me or what is going on? Again, I’m not being facetious or trying to criticize Islam, I am truly trying to understand how these Muslim societies claim to follow the Quran when they tend to treat women so harshly.

    (I claim Christianity as my religion, but seek my best to learn everything I can about all beliefs, and also to understand and love the people of those beliefs.)

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    • Hello. You want me to ask an aspect of religious practice that is beyond my means: Culture and the raise of fundamentalism. I can answer as a latina progressive feminist muslim woman who lives her faith in a independ way from any link to mosques, islamic centers or mainstream islam. I can’t answwer for fundamentalists wherever they are because I am not one. I can’t answer for patriarchal male mind because I dont have one. What I can say is I often note that the all the questioning is on women and never in men. People ask women why they convert to Islam and never ask men why they don’t behave according to the religion they claim to practice. This negative focus on women, is an expression of the religious patriarchy that all religions share, specially Christianity and its all mighty figure of the Persona Father God (something in Islam we don’t have)

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      • As Salaamu Alaykum & wheew, the cat has been let out the bag.

        Kudos to u dear sistah Rivera de la Fuente & your warrior spirit. Excellent article, horrible subject. Horrible in the sense that we as Muslims are sadly faced within our own spiritual communities and counterparts such evil.

        For the dear brothas and sistahs who don’t believe in the reality that the sistah illustrated. I would humbly suggest that u open a sincere and honest dialogue with members of your spiritual family, who are from a different culture than yourself, primarily those who are Black, Latino and Asian. Then make a balanced decision God willing, after prayer and a consensus of answers. I believe u will find yourself shocked.

        For the ones that question her motives/agenda, because of how she self identifies … duly noted. However, the social conditions that have made the sistah self identify as she does, then openly fight which she sees as oppressive forces should never be the litmus test to subjugate her to silence. Regardless of what u or I agree with or disagree with. Truth should be.

        I know the sickening truth of what she speaks in this article first hand and I personally come from the perspective of despite the speaker, I will weigh the validity of the speech. Again, I commend her for the courage to bring it to the table of thought and I commend her for highlighting not only a spiritual injustice acted out on women but against Latino Muslima’s which she is herself.

        Lets just have a hard look at it. Unfortunately brothas and sistahs the plague of these pathological ism’s… Racism, Sexism, Tribalism, Culturalism, Classism , Egoisms, ugh all these isms etc exist in the beautiful abode of Islaam. Their should be no denying that for those blessed with insight and some common observation skills. It’s the consequences of ingrained programmed thoughts, an active abuse of free will and Qur’aanic Law and should be dealt with accordingly and openly as sistah Wadud expressed in the comments. Which brings me to my next thought.

        Sistah, I myself personally would like to read a follow up article solely dealing in depth the origins of this evil and the solutions to it from your perspective.

        I believe that spiritual arrogance plays a major factor. Certain middle eastern folk perceive themselves falsely as the origin, teachers and torch bearers of Islaam. I agree with u that the sick colonial mindset of certain middle eastern folk is a major catalyst too.

        I also know the root of their colonial mindset comes from the generational programming of European colonialism aka white supremacy world wide. Which has not only adversely affected them, their ingrained perspective but us as well in a subconscious slave/master role.

        Therefore the lack of knowledge of self, purpose and overall cultural identity and self love tends to make a convert leave a oppressive white slave master in Christianity. Then substitute him for a slightly tanned, 1400 yr time traveled, sectarian/tribally based slave master in Islaam. Complete with changing their names, speech patterns and beautiful cultural birthrights for burkas, kufis, incense and miswak sticks.

        Spiritually I believe that a lack of Taqwaa, a loving fear and respect of Allah our Lord and Master has been abandoned for coined spiritual lessons written by men known as hadiths.

        Praise be to The One that makes that which is crooked straight.

        Allah Most Glorified and Exalted has given us the greatest book on the planet as a remedy. But we tend to adhere to man made traditions as prophesied within it over the only source of law. The Holy Qur’aan. Where women are the spiritual/physical/mental equals of men. Ordained by Allah. Yet both based solely on the principles of righteous conduct in this world via obedience to our beautiful sustainer. Not ludicrously based on gender or any #$@# ism.

        Excuse me, touchy subject. lol

        May Allah bless and guide u on your journey…

        As Salaamu Alaykum

        Like

      • Wa aleykum salama
        Thanks for the interest in my writings. I will take note of what you say about issues to research in the future. The rought path to discover and understand he roots of sexism and discrimination in religion is one I taken years ago and is leading me to sometimes distasteful but always thought provoking findings

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    • Wanderer, these customs surrounding the “protection” of women do not derive from Islam. They derive from patriarchy and the concern of men in patriarchy to make sure their children are really theirs. This cannot be done without restricting women’s freedom. Restriction of women’s freedom has been practiced in different ways in every patriarchal culture. See my essay on the Origins of Patriarchy in the archives of FAR.

      Like

      • “Wanderer, these customs surrounding the “protection” of women do not derive from Islam. They derive from patriarchy and the concern of men in patriarchy to make sure their children are really theirs. This cannot be done without restricting women’s freedom. Restriction of women’s freedom has been practiced in different ways in every patriarchal culture.”

        YES! Spot on!

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  21. Why point only Muslim men???? there are many men of other faith and does the same bad things no one calls them a hindu or christian or Jewish man??? I can give more examples of similar thing or worse being done by people from other faiths!!!!! I dunno unless it is a ploy to show Muslims or Islam in bad light!!!!

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  22. Dear Sisters & Brothers:

    Don’t attack the messenger while ignoring the issues in our community. The author call this racism and she discusses racism within Islam that some Latina women have experienced. I wouldn’t necessarily call this racism, but the issue isn’t syntex or terms. The issue is “men” who claim to live as Muslims, but who use subjugated women (converts and born) who are not fully aware of Islamic methods of courtship in order to get visas, greencards, and citizenship for their foreign relatives. They know women want to be married and they prey on those sensitivities of being an upright Muslim woman with a strong family instead of one who is single with no family. Let’s don’t discredit the truth by using ad hominems (attacking the person). She doesn’t have to have a PhD or work for a major news outlet to be a leader. Dr. King was just a pastor.

    I want to add that using Muslim women for green cards or sex is happening to all races in Islam. Every religion have those that prey on the weak. Please, do not be another faith and tell Muslims their experiences aren’t happening. And Muslims wake up. It is not bashing the faith when some Muslim people are being abused. The question should be, “What should be done about this?”

    P.S. Your ideas of this Muslim woman (her hair is showing, her political beliefs, etc.) has nothing to do with Islam. That is your cultural beliefs and there is no litmus test to prove who is more religious than the other. Someone who wears a hijab does not get a free pass to heaven. Everyone has to work and follow those five pillars.

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    • Amin! The author focuses on Muslim men because she is a Muslim, she is Latina and she sees how certain men will manipulate our beautiful deen to promote misogyny in the name of religion. This happens in all faiths but it is a huge issue in Islam because it seems like innocent convert women are the victims of these men. And because there is so much inaccurate information out there on Islam, these women trust their communities and these men to teach and model true Islam. This is a problem in our religion and I am glad that someone had the gall discuss it.

      BTW, the one who says to another person, “you are not a Muslim” is not a Muslim themselves.

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  23. I’m a South American male convert to Islam who wrote this earlier in the year to a mostly born-Muslim community in South Florida.

    Assalamou Alaykoum brothers and sisters in Islam,

    It probably goes without saying that converts need a lot of support and nurturing. Not just religiously, but also on a social and personal scale as well. Sadly, outside of religion, converts are left to fend for themselves. As you might have read or known, many times their ties with family and old friends are severed. They may no longer socialize with them the way they used to before (drinking alcohol and clubbing, for instance) or they are alienated over time because of all the changes as a consequence of their newfound faith. It’s very complex, no doubt. Speaking from personal experience, converts are, for the most part, seen as the outsiders that we are. We’re kept distant enough, socially and personally, but close enough only for religious partaking.

    It is also my opinion that male converts do not enjoy the same privileges born-Muslim males do, especially with matters concerning marriage. I’m talking about born-Muslim women not marrying male Muslim converts regardless of how good their deen, behavior, academic and professional accomplishments are. This tends to happen by choice and/ or because of family restrictions. However, for the female convert it is different because Muslim males (both born and converts) will be receptive and opened to marrying them (think Janet Jackson). So why don’t I marry a female convert instead, you may ask? Because I want to enjoy the same privileges a born Muslim male does. That’s why! If he can marry a Latina or an Asian then why can’t I marry an Arab, Persian, Indian or Pakistani woman?

    All of this (and much more that I won’t go into here) leads me to believe that race plays a divisive role in the Muslim world. I know it’s not halaal, but regrettably it is practiced and widespread. I’ve seen this from masjids I’ve visited with racial, ethnic, or national divides. Not having their roots will never make you one of them. One big exception I noticed or was straight out told by a few born-Muslim women themselves was how the possession of vast quantities of materialistic wealth can make a difference.

    Unfortunately, things seem not to differ much in this regard from the rest of the world. So I’ve decided to focus on my career and personal development instead and return to seeking marriage at a later time. By then, hopefully, I will be in a position of affluence that would gain me acceptance and where I will be deemed acceptable for marriage by a born Muslim woman and her family. Otherwise, I will have to seek out a convert like myself, be her Latina, African-American, Asian, Anglo-American or a mixture thereof.

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  24. Can you tell me what is the percentage of divorced women in your country, I mean Non-Muslim women?
    Same question for American and Latino people, please answer accurately based on facts not as you think.

    In Canada, divorce percentage reached almost %50;however, Canada is not a Muslim country, right? definitely this is a high percentage, I am sure that many other countries have a high percentage as well.

    Did you ask those women about the reason that made their husbands to abandon or ignore them?

    I would say that some Arab Muslim men expect their wives to be sincere, honest, modest, non drinker, and prayer keeper;however, after marriage they discover their wives are NOT as they expected.

    They met their ex-wives at the mosque so they believed that they are religious, faithful, and strong believers but after marriage they discovered that their wives maybe materialistic, not God-fearing or have flexible communications with other men, you know what I mean.

    Nobody would divorce a good wife in a western country to get marry his home country’s woman if his wife was a good Muslim,otherwise, why had he left his country and spend money to look for a wife? why had he wasted the time to get nothing as a result?

    In December 2014, a black Brazilian man was arrested after he had killed 41 white women for fun, he does not regret his action according to his statement that published online, he insisted that he will do the same thing after leaving the prison, this is the link:

    http://news.yahoo.com/brazilian-admits-killing-41-people-fun-163131467.html

    This man is a christian not a muslim, he kills women and only white women!!!.

    You claim that you’re a Muslim but I do not see you wearing Hejab(head cover) and I do not know if you pray regularly or not, I am NOT accusing you of being a bad Muslim, but I can see your reality by analyzing the way you write your article, the way you look, and the goal behind your article.

    I can assure to you that you spent some time to collect all these cases and organize them to support your article but who knows that those cases are real and the reason for divorce that you mentioned is true?.

    Please let me ask you a simple basic question, do you think head cover is mandatory in Islam or not? if not why? and which verses in Qura’n does state that?

    May Allah forgive us all and guide us to his right path, Ameen.

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  25. Sister Vanessa,

    You are right. It seems like Muslim converts are just numbers being used for political gain. I have been Muslim for 8 years now. I stopped dating, I cannot find a Muslim wife from a Muslim family. I am always used to do cheap labor in the Muslim community and when I bring marriage up I am always referred to white convert sister (not that there is anything wrong with being white) or sisters from my own race (African American or black) who always seem to have different children from different men in jail. What I am starting to learn is that foreign Muslims have a colonial master mentality. They want us to fight their losing battles against the west but they do not value us as human beings. I still believe in Allah but I am starting to see what the white Europeans and Americans have been trying to tell us. The Mulim world doesn’t care about Blacks and Latinos. I am becoming very suspicious about Islam. I love Allah though.

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    • Assalamu alaikum Hassan,

      I was just wonder what’s wrong with women from your own race or white women? Do you have any children? Are you specifically looking for a wife from the Middle East or Asia? If you are, than you’ve bought into that same colonial mentality.

      Quit looking to be nurtured by Muslims from the so-called Muslim world. Have you seen of the turmoil their countries are in? The “Muslim world” doesn’t seem to care about Muslims period. I am a convert and there is no way in hell I am looking to be helped or saved by a people that can’t even have peace amongst themselves. I look for safety and salvation from Allah (swt).

      I married another convert. Pray istikhara and stick to other converts… trust me it will make your life easier.

      Like

      • Alsalam Aleekom,

        I would suggest that you try to get the divorce rate between converts & born Muslims and compare that to divorce rate between born Muslims and another born Muslims.
        I know LOTS of Arab Muslims that divorced their own cousins, and some Arab Muslims that divorced women from their home countries. The point I am trying to make is divorce rates are high.

        As for Monet saying she/he saying “no way in hell I am looking to be helped/saved by people that can’t even have peace among themselves” but you are a convert right. Don’t people usually say they were saved when they convert? So you need to tell me not 1 Arab helped you even get a copy of the Quran nor explain anything to you during your conversion process? May be you were introduced to Islam through another convert. Do you think this convert that introduced Islam to you, maybe was exposed to Islam through someone Arab?

        I am a born Muslim (Arab) and divorced another born Muslim (Arab). I would be ok marrying a Latino Muslim, so your article at least to me doesn’t make sense

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      • If my article has no relevance or meaning for you: Why do you read it and why do you comment? Why you invest time in something that makes no sense? Maybe I pull some strings? Or you as an Arab can not miss the opportunity to tell a CONVERTED WOMAN that her opinions are not worthy and how important arabs are for our spiritual development and how mistaken we are if we don´t praise them as superior to us? Why do not you go tell the other Arabs to stop deceiving women in the Internet to get visas? That would be helpful. Not in the mood for racial entitlement. Thanks

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    • Dear Brother Hassan:

      The problem isn’t Islam and a Muslim would know that. The problem is the modern day Muslims who don’t understand Islam or the Quran. I hear a lot of recitation of the Hadiths or Scholars (rarely the Quran). I see the shifts from family and community. I have been Muslim my entire life and the racism is a big issue. It’s been like that since forever. Don’t seek others to help you locate a future spouse. Be a good Muslim and seek the same in a spouse. It is either Modern day Muslims (not all) are unaware of the tenants of Islam or they are people who seek to destroy a peaceful religion.

      Like

  26. What i do not realize is actually how you’re not actually a lot more well-favored than you
    may be now. You’re very intelligent. You understand therefore significantly in terms of this matter, produced me in my view consider it from a lot of varied
    angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved
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    Like

    • I don’t know what you mean with “Well Favored” but If you mean why I am not “Lucky” with Muslim men who hate smart/ deep thinking women and /or have a or of prejudices against converted of non white origin (masculinity is so fragile) … well, I don’t think that is bad at all.

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  27. Good this is happening. LATINAS will now know that the Arab Muslim men are using them for residency. This will make them think about the negative perspective that Arab men have on woman and specially Latinas because it’s a new wave of religion in the Latino community.

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  28. This racism& sexualization also hurts female black converts of all ethnicities, be they Afro-Latina, Afro-Caribbean, West-African, or Afro-anything.

    Like

    • YES. And they have to be vocal about. But here I am talking about Latinas and our sisters deserve the sole attention regarding this article. Can we avoid discoursive invalidation as privileged do with us WOC? “But white women ALSO” “But men ALSO” “But whoever ALSO” when we are describing a situation of oppression this belittle and downplays the oppression of which we are speaking.

      Like

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