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Religious and Political Discussions

I have found that Muslims are very certain about what they believe. They feel they have the truth, and they can't understand Why non-Muslims don't see it. As with all people, a variety of opinions and interpretations also exists among Muslims, and political or religious discussions can become quite animated whether between Muslims or between Muslims and non-Muslims. One day after I got into either a religious or political discussion with Reza and Jodi, I started to cry. It was just too much for me. "Jodi," I said, "we just can't talk about this topic anymore-it hurts me too much." Jodi said, "Oh, Mom, we can't do that; we have to talk about it.

Reza gave us these words of wisdom: "Sometimes, even in my own family, we find things that we can't talk about, and we just have to be together because we love each other." And that has been good advice for us many times. Oh, we try to talk, and Jodi and Reza know just about how far they can push me before I get upset-then they back off. Their beliefs mean so much to them that they want to share them and yet it often sets up explosive situations for family and acquaintances.

I love my parents dearly and respect them to the utmost extent. I just wish they would ask me what I believe or just read a bit of the Qur'an. Of course I would like to see them embrace Islam, but at this point or anytime in the near future it is not realistic.

When I am visiting my family I feel as though I'm surrounded by idols, but since they accept my Islam I tolerate their beliefs also. I hope to just keep things going as is and keep in touch with my parents, especially since we have a baby now. They are my parents and I should care for them. Everything seems to be a point of stress for our family. It is difficult to talk about anything except the weather, the car we're thinking about buying, what vacation we'll take next summer.

The women's responses on the questionnaire indicate there are a variety of ways to work things out with the family of origin. There are also those families not as open as others. There is a difference in how far and how open some can go. Although questions on the survey were not directed toward relationships in the business world, I have, in my own conversations with Muslims often picked up their frustrations connected with social relationships, holidays, lack of understanding, and the feelings of prejudice toward them. The stories seem to illustrate that many times the more cooperative and supportive the family or acquaintances are, the less conservative the women feel they have to be. A more strict attitude may be a protective response to lack of support and trust.

Adapted from: "Daughters Of Another Path (Experience of American Women Choosing Islam)" by: "Carol L. Anway"

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