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Interfaith Dialogue
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Angela
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Quote Angela Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 1:14pm

I was trained under several state regulated programs, including Law Enforcement, PhDs and ER Doctors.  I have been trained in Crisis Intervention, Counseling and Support such as Victim Advocation.  I have also been trained to deal with violent children who are victims of abuse and rape, as well as recognizing the signs of abuse in its various forms.

Rape Crisis Service Statistics

In 2004:
  • 1062 clients were provided crisis intervention and counseling services
  • 585 were victims/survivors
  • 477 were significant others and loved ones of victims
  • 181 victims requested Rape Crisis support at area hospitals
  • More than 80% of victims knew their assailants
  • Approximately 20% of the assailants were strangers

National Statistics

It is very difficult to gather statistics on a national basis partly because so few victims report the crimes and also because the penal codes vary state-to-state with ensuing variations in how a sexual assault crime is defined. With that in mind the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) has compiled the following statistics:

Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. (RAINN calculation based on 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. (NCVS) Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice)

  • In 2001, there were 249,000 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. (2000 NCVS)
  • Of these 249,000, 102,000 were victims of sexual assault, 63,000 were victims of attempted rape, and 84,000 were victims of completed rape. (2000 NCVS)
  • Because of the methodology of the National Crime Victimization Survey, these figures do not include victims 12 or younger. While there are no reliable annual surveys of sexual assaults on children, the Justice Department has estimated that one of six victims is under age 12. (Child Rape Victims, 1992)

Women are victims...

  • One out of every six American women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).
  • A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes. [Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998.)
  • In 2001, nine out of every ten rape victims were female. (1999 NCVS)

Men, too…

  • About three percent of American men - a total of 2.78 million men - have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. [Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women 1998.)
  • In 2001, one in every ten rape victims was male.. (1999 NCVS)

And, of course, kids...

  • About 44% of rape victims are under age 18. Three out of every twenty victims (15%) are under age 12. (Sex Offenses and Offenders. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 1997.)
  • Seven percent of girls in grades five to eight and twelve percent of girls in grades nine through twelve and said they had been sexually abused. (Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls, 1998.)
  • Three percent of boys in grades five through eight and five percent of boys in grades nine through twelve said they had been sexually abused. (Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Boys, 1998.)
  • 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims knew their attacker; 34.2% were family members and 58.7% were acquaintances. Only seven percent of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim. (Sexual assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000)
  • In 1995, local child protective service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse. Of these 75% were girls. Nearly 30% of child victims were between the ages of 4 and 7. (US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Child Maltreatment, 1995.)

Silent Victims...

One of the most startling aspects of sex crimes is how many go unreported. The most common reasons given by victims for not reporting these crimes are the belief that it is a private or personal matter and that they fear reprisal from the assailant.

  • In 2001, only 39% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement officials - fewer than one in every three. (1999 NCVS)
  • Of sexually abused children in grades five through twelve, 48% of the boys and 29% of the girls had told no one about the abuse - not even a friend or sibling. (Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls, 1998.)

The rapist isn't a masked man...

  • Approximately 66% of female rape victims knew their assailant. (2000 NCVS.)
  • Approximately 48% of victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance; 30% by a stranger; 16% by an intimate; and 2% by another relative. (2000 NCVS.)

And he's not hiding in the bushes...

Statistics in this section are from: Sex Offenses and Offenders. (SOO) Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, February 1997:

  • About four out of ten sexual assaults take place at the victim's own home. Two in ten take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative. One in ten take place outside, away from home. And about one in 12 take place in a parking garage.
  • More than half of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within one mile of their home or at their home.
  • 43% of rapes occur between 6 pm and midnight. 24% occur between midnight and 6am. The other 33% take place between 6am and 6pm.

The Dangers of Youth

  • 15% of victims are under age 12
  • 29% are age 12-17
  • 44% are under age 18
  • 80% are under age 30 (SOO, 1997, 1999 NCVS)
  • Age 12-34 are the highest risk years. Risk peaks in the late teens: girls 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. (2000 NCVS.)

The Criminal

  • The average age of rapists at arrest is 31. Fifty-two percent are white; twenty-two percent of imprisoned rapists report that they are married. (SOO, 1997)
  • Juveniles accounted for about 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses (SOO, 1997)
  • In about one out of three sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated - 30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs. (Alcohol and Crime. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998)
  • In one study, 98% of males who raped boys reported that they were heterosexual. (Sexual Abuse of Boys, Journal of the American Medical Association, December 2, 1998)
  • About 6% of rapes involved the use of a weapon - three percent used a gun, and three percent used a knife. 80% of victims reported the use of physical force only, and 10% were unsure. (2000 NCVS.)

The Punishment

  • 61% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Those rapists, of course, never serve a day in prison. (1999 NCVS)
  • If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.
  • If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution.
  • If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction.
  • If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.
  • So, even in those 39% of rapes that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison.
  • Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% - one out of sixteen - of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
  • 15 out of 16 rapists most likely will walk free.

 

AbRah,

Once again, you've been proven wrong....you're 10,000 drops to 625 men convicted falsely, if even that.....and if 6 of 10 rapes is in the home or a home of a friend or relative, dressing sexy is no longer the issue. 

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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 1:44pm
Originally posted by Angela

AbRah,

Why do muslim men beat their wives, lock them in their home and don't let them go to school after the age of 8??  Or why do the Morality police refuse to let young girls out of a burning building because they didn't have time to grab their veils?  Why do Muslim Shariah courts demand the death of a convert (who was mentally ill) when the Quran states their is no compulsion in religion????  Why do muslim men blow themselves up killing civilians in a war when both suicide and murder of innocents are forbidden in Islam????

The fact is that the actions of a few cannot speak for the religion as a whole.  My church has 54,000 missionaries in the field....yet, the incidents of violence are less than 1%. 

There are 1000s of priests, and only a few dozen have committed the crimes you are talking about with the Catholic Church.

I could start asking similarly stupid, racist and ignorant questions just as I did in the beginning of the post.  The only difference.  I'm smart enough to know that humans are fallible and that the actions of a few cannot speak for the actions of many.

It is my pleasure to prove that you are wrong for attacking Islam.

Any misjudgment or mistakes done by Muslims do not reflect the teachings of Islam.

Since you are attacking Islam lets me compare Islam with Christianity:

The Bible states: The Catholic Bible states explicitly that: "The birth of a daughter is a loss" (Ecclesiasticus 22:3).

A daughter is considered a painful burden, a potential source of shame to her father:

"Your daughter is headstrong? Keep a sharp look-out that she does not make you the laughing stock of your enemies, the talk of the town, the object of common gossip, and put you to public shame" (Ecclesiasticus 42:11).

"Keep a headstrong daughter under firm control, or she will abuse any indulgence she receives. Keep a strict watch on her shameless eye, do not be surprised if she disgraces you" (Ecclesiasticus 26:10-11).  

The attitude of St. Paul in the New Testament:

"As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

Listen to the severe tone of St. Paul in the New Testament:

"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I don't permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner" (I Timothy 2:11-14).

St. Tertullian was even more blunt than St. Paul, while he was talking to his 'best beloved sisters' in the faith, he said: 6

"Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil's gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die."

St. Augustine was faithful to the legacy of his predecessors, he wrote to a friend:

"What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman......I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children."

Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas still considered women as defective:

"As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence."

Finally, the renowned reformer Martin Luther could not see any benefit from a woman but bringing into the world as many children as possible regardless of any side effects:

"If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that's why they are there"

 The Biblical view of women:

Burn The Daughter!

"And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire." (Leviticus 21:9)

Cut Off Her Hand!

"When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

Female Inferiority

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (I Corinthians 11:3)

"For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (I Corinthians 11:8-9)

Rape My Daughter

"Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go." (Judges 19:24-25)

Silence The Woman!

"Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." (I Timothy 2:11-14)

Virgin's Worth

"If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silvers, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

Women's Sorrow

"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Genesis 3:16)

Rip Up Pregnant Women

"Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up." (Hosea 13:16)

The Wicked Woman

"Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman." (Eccles. 25:13)

"Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die." (Eccles. 25:22)

"If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go." (Eccles. 25: 26)

"The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids. If thy daughter be shameless, keep her in straitly, lest she abuse herself through overmuch liberty." (Eccles. 26:9-10)

"A silent and loving woman is a gift of the Lord: and there is nothing so much worth as a mind well instructed. A shamefaced and faithful woman is a double grace, and her continent mind cannot be valued." (Eccles. 26:14-15)

"A shameless woman shall be counted as a dog; but she that is shamefaced will fear the Lord." (Eccles.26:25)

"For from garments cometh a moth, and from women wickedness. Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach." (Eccles. 42:13-14)

The Holy Quran states: The Quran, moreover, makes no distinction between boys and girls. In contrast to the Bible, the Quran considers the birth of a female as a gift and a blessing from God, the same as the birth of a male. The Quran even mentions the gift of the female birth first:

" To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female children to whomever He wills and bestows male children to whomever He wills" (Quran 42:49).

In Islam the right of females to seek knowledge is not different from that of males. Prophet Muhammad (P.) said: "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim". (AlBayhaqi). Muslim as used here including both males and females.

we now turn our attention to what the Quran has to say about women, we will soon realize that the Islamic conception of women is radically different from the Judaeo-Christian one. Let the Quran speak for itself:

"For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise-- For them all has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward" (Quran 33:35).

"The believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil, they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise" (Quran 9:71).

"And their Lord answered them: Truly I will never cause to be lost the work of any of you, Be you a male or female, you are members one of another" (Quran 3:195).

"Whoever works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof, and whoever works a righteous deed -whether man or woman- and is a believer- such will enter the Garden of bliss" (Quran 40:40).

"Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily to him/her we will give a new life that is good and pure, and we will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions" (Quran 16:97).

It is clear that the Quranic view of women is no different than that of men.

The Qur'an thus states:

"And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them, and men are a degree above them." (Qur'an 2:228).

Such degree is Quiwama (maintenance and protection). This refers to that natural difference between the sexes which entitles the weaker sex to protection. It implies no superiority or advantage before the law. Yet, man's role of leadership in relation to his family does not mean the husband's dictatorship over his wife. Islam emphasizes the importance of taking counsel and mutual agreement in family decisions.

Over and above her basic rights as a wife comes the right which is emphasized by the Qur'an and is strongly recommended by the Prophet (P); kind treatment and companionship.

The Qur'an states:

"...But consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein God has placed much good." (Qur'an 4: l9).


Prophet Muhammad. (P) said:

The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.

The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives. (Ibn-Hanbal, No. 7396)

Behold, many women came to Muhammad's wives complaining against their husbands (because they beat them) - - those (husbands) are not the best of you.

God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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Angela
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Quote Angela Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 2:08pm

The sad part is you missed a part of my statement.....

Originally posted by Angela

I could start asking similarly stupid, racist and ignorant questions just as I did in the beginning of the post.  The only difference.  I'm smart enough to know that humans are fallible and that the actions of a few cannot speak for the actions of many.

I do not disagree that THE HOLY QURAN gives women freedoms and rights.  That does not change the fact that under the Taliban, millions of women were denied these rights or that in Saudia Arabia 50 girls died because the religious police would not let them leave their BURNING school because they were unveiled.  Hypocrites can be found in ALL religions. Islam is no different in that their are men (and women) who claim to be Muslim who don't practice what they are taught and ignore God's words for the sake of their own desires.

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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 2:38pm
Originally posted by Angela

The fact is that the actions of a few cannot speak for the religion as a whole.  My church has 54,000 missionaries in the field....yet, the incidents of violence are less than 1%. 

There are 1000s of priests, and only a few dozen have committed the crimes you are talking about with the Catholic Church.

I could start asking similarly stupid, racist and ignorant questions just as I did in the beginning of the post.  The only difference.  I'm smart enough to know that humans are fallible and that the actions of a few cannot speak for the actions of many.

Sex abuse spans spectrum of churches
By Mark Clayton | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers.

These are findings from national surveys by Christian Ministry Resources (CMR), a tax and legal-advice publisher serving more than 75,000 congregations and 1,000 denominational agencies nationwide.

CMR's annual surveys of about 1,000 churches nationwide have asked about sexual abuse since 1993. They're a remarkable window on a problem that lurked largely in the shadows of public awareness until the Catholic scandals arose.

The surveys suggest that over the past decade, the pace of child-abuse allegations against American churches has averaged 70 a week. The surveys registered a slight downward trend in reported abuse starting in 1997, possibly a result of the introduction of preventive measures by churches.

Tuesday March 20 10:36 AM ET

Report: Priests, Missionaries Sexually Abuse Nuns

By Steve Pagani

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican acknowledged Tuesday a damning report that some priests and missionaries were forcing nuns to have sex with them, and were in some cases committing rape and forcing the victims to have abortions.

Some nuns were forced to take the contraceptive pill, the report cited in the Rome la Repubblica daily said.

The Vatican said the issue was restricted to a certain geographical area but the report cited cases in 23 countries, including the United States, Brazil, the Philippines, India, Ireland and Italy.

Dublin sex-abuse cases near $7 million damages

Dublin, Mar. 08 (CWNews.com) - More than 100 priests serving in the Dublin archdiocese have been accused or suspected of sexual abuse, and the Irish archdiocese has paid nearly $7 million to settle lawsuits against clerics, according to statistics released by the archdiocese.

The Dublin archdiocese reports that 91 priests (68 diocesan and 23 religious) have been the subject of allegations of sexual abuse. Another 11 clerics (7 diocesan, 4 religious) have been placed in a separate category as the subject of "suspicions."

To date 8 priests been convicted on criminal charges. Victims have filed 105 lawsuits, of which 65 have been resolved. The archdiocese has paid a total of €5.8 million ($6.9 million) to settle plaintiffs' claims, including €1.7 million ($2 million) in legal costs. Another 35 lawsuits remain unresolved.

San Francisco Chronicle


40 years of abuse detailed in church papers
Boston Archdiocese releases documents showing history of rape, drugs, coverups

Elizabeth Mehren, Josh Getlin, Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

 

Boston -- For more than 40 years, Catholic Church officials here overlooked abuse ranging from the molestation of girls studying to become nuns to drug use by priests with parish youth to homosexual rape, according to thousands of pages of confidential archdiocese documents made public Tuesday.

The records show that as recently as last year, bishops and archbishops in Boston consistently ignored parishioners' complaints while protecting priests and striving to minimize financial damage.

Many examples of clerical sexual abuse have become public since the nationwide clerical abuse scandal erupted in Boston last January. But the memoranda, letters and court filings released Tuesday casts light on offenses and church practices not previously reported.

"This material is qualitatively different than anything we have seen until now," said David Clohessy, national chair of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Donna Morrissey, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, acknowledged the damaging contents of the memos.

"We can't change the past," she said. "We can recognize the inadequacy of our policies and change them and recognize the suffering and the pain the victim-survivors have gone through and are continuing to go through."

The disclosures come amid speculation that the Boston Archdiocese may declare bankruptcy because so many abuse cases are pending against it. The revelations were mandated by court order as part of a series of civil suits brought by sexual abuse victims and their families

God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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Quote Angela Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 2:52pm

And your point is??????  None of those reports have anything to do with my Church???

2 Nephi 28

14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!



Edited by Angela
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Quote amlhabibi2000 Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 5:52pm

 

Salam Alaikoam

It is true there have been grievious horrors in the name of Religion or those pretending they know what Allah wants.

The task is to educate, train, counsel and consult the people, not just some but all of the people to root out ignorance once and for all.

Though it is true some people use ignorance as their excuse hopefully that is short lived.

If you go by the belief that Islam is an ancient way of life and means submission to the will of Allah, God, the Creator then that means we are all Muslims regardless of what religion we do or do not belong to.

Saying this means that Muslims from all walks of life have been good some of the time and they have been not so good some of the time.

Unfortunately many people have suffered because of ignorance and power hungry people.

We need education and training in good comminications skills, how to establish and keep healthy boundaries, effective conflict resolution skills, parenting skills, training in how to cope with frustrations of every kind and education in the stages and levels of sexual frustration so people know how to cope with these challenges when they arrive.

Wearing or not wearing clothing is not really an issue because we have seen here in the west that it does not matter what you wear people here will respect you. 

There is hope....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judgement day passes in the moment we decide something needs attention & we take positive action. Then there will be a great sorting out of people into groups, Inspired by Surah 99 Ayat 1-8
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 9:20pm

Bismillah,

Brothers Arah and Salman, I beseech you to stop blaming the victims of violence for crimes against them.  You hate the devils that do this, but by blaming the victims, you are deserting them alone, beaten and broken unaccepted by society.  Please stop it.

To anyone this has ever happened to:  I don't blame you.  Allah, SWT, doesn't blame you.  You have value.  You are important and will be important always.  Your heart and spirit and body have been violated, beaten, and yet raise your eyes up and see that you are pure in front of our Loving Lord.  If foolish people cast you out, our Vengeful Lord will cast them out, for He hates oppressors.

Peace

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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Quote AbRah2006 Replybullet Posted: 01 June 2006 at 9:21pm

W/salam to amlhabibi2000
I quote your word: Wearing or not wearing clothing is not really an issue because we have seen here in the west that it does not matter what you wear people here will respect you. 

Response:

The University of Michigan released a study to show widespread abuse and harassment of Arabs and Muslims in America. From the Washington Post:

Derogatory comments -- "Go back where you came from!" or "Ooh, are you a member of al Qaeda?" -- were the most common form of abuse. Others alleged job discrimination and a small number reported physical assaults, researchers said.

Forty-two percent of Muslim Arabs interviewed for the survey in Detroit -- an area with one of the largest concentrations of Arab Americans in the nation -- feel their religion is not respected by mainstream society. Nearly 60 percent said they worry more about their families' future than before the attacks.

WASHINGTON The State Department's fifth Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, released on Dec. 18, shows a frightening increase in anti-Muslim attitudes in several European countries, including some of America's strongest allies. The report cites the growth of Europe's Muslim immigrant population as the most common reason for anti-Muslim tensions in that particular region.

In Britain, where 1.6 million Muslims live, a London-based Islamic human rights group reported 344 incidents of anti-Muslim violence against Muslims in the year after Sept. 11, 2001, including the stabbing of a Muslim woman.

Since June 2002, British Muslims have reported assaults, acts of vandalism and attacks on mosques, some motivated by negative and irresponsible media coverage. In June 2003, for example, anti-Muslim remarks were drawn on walls at the Birmingham's Central Mosque shortly after the airing of a fictional BBC television program showing the recruitment of suicide bombers in a Birmingham mosque.

In Italy, home to about a million Muslims, several political and religious leaders, including Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have contributed to anti-Islamic sentiment by portraying Muslim immigrants as a "threat" to Italy and by claiming that Muslims were unable to integrate with the rest of society.

In September 2001, Berlusconi fueled the anti-Islamic movement by describing Islamic civilization as inferior to the West. At a news conference in Berlin, he said, "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights - and in contrast with Islamic countries - respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its values understandings of diversity and tolerance." Berlusconi's remarks angered Muslims all over the world and were denounced by several Western leaders.

According to the U.S. report, state restriction of religious freedom is the second key cause for anti-Muslim discrimination in Europe.

On Dec. 18, John Hanford, the U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom, criticized France for its stance on the issue of Muslim women wearing of head scarves and affirmed his belief that Muslim women should be able to wear head scarves to fulfill their religious duties. "All persons should be able to practice their religion and their beliefs peacefully without government interference, as long as they are doing so without provocation and intimidation of others in society," he said, adding, "We're going to watch this carefully."

The debate over religious symbols, especially Muslim head scarves, has intensified in France since President Jacques Chirac proposed on Dec. 18 a law to ban religious symbols in French public schools and to regulate them in the workplace.

Muslims constitute the second largest French religious faction in number, with roughly four million to five million adherents, or about 7 percent to 8 percent of the French population.

Another head scarf debate erupted in Germany in June 2002 after an administrative court upheld a 1998 ban in the southern state of Baden-Württemburg on Muslim teachers wearing head scarves in the classroom.

In July 2002, the Federal Administrative Court supported the lower court's ruling. A Muslim teacher affected by the ruling appealed the decision to the Federal Constitutional Court, which held its first review of the case in May, the first time the country's highest court has examined this issue. A decision is expected soon. In the meantime, Muslim students remain free to wear head scarves in the classroom. There are about three million Muslims living in Germany.

In Spain, Muslims, Jews, and Protestants complained that the government favors Catholicism, the dominant religion, in political relationships and financial support.

"Leaders of the Protestant, Muslim, and Jewish communities," the State Department reported, "continue to press the government for comparable privileges to those enjoyed by the Catholic Church."

God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)
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