Sociologists use a notion of "stigmatization". It means use of labels, when the society forms concerning any group (or other society) a certain stereotype and actively uses it. In most cases it does not bring good results.
Let us consider one of the steadiest stereotypes. Islam, Islamic culture, Islamic people. What associations we have concerning them? Aggression and full closeness from the external world, extreme conservatism and, simultaneously, proselytism. Intolerance to others, rigid regulation of internal, first of all, family life. Harems, veils, yashmak and hijab; immediate vendetta for wrong gaze, murder of girls and other passions. Truth or excesses on places?
"TIMER" decided to clear the situation, moreover, in Odessa there are a lot of Muslim women, and every year their quantity increases.
Veil – the European yashmak
Inhabitant of Odessa Deriya Kazanzhi, going out of doors, necessarily puts on hijab, a scarf which does not cover the face, only hair. This is the most liberal variant for Muslims.
In the homeland of her husband – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - rules are more rigid. There Deriya has to cover herself with another headdress - niqab. This is such a black thing which completely covers the face, with a narrow cut for eyes. However, according to the girl, she does not experience any inconveniences in this connection; moreover, there are some advantages in inaccessibility to gazes of strangers.
- The clothes should not be open, that's all interdictions, – she says. - But it is only for going out, a woman is allowed to dress anything at home.
Muslim women dress a lot of ornaments, gold; at home they dress beautiful, interesting, bright, stylish clothes, jeans, European trade-marks.
By the way, speaking about hijab, niqab and as a whole - about taboo on demonstration of separate parts of body. Both in European and in our, East-Slavic, Orthodox culture, there are direct analogues of similar interdictions – for example, in Russia since ancient times it was considered that a married woman in any way cannot show even locks of her hair. And to go out doors without a headdress, a scarf or a kerchief, bare-headed, was considered as a terrible shame. In "civilized" Europe till the XX century the same role was played by a veil (voilet). The transparent fabric covering face meant that the woman is inaccessible and one should not show her an excessive interest. Is it not a variant of hijab? So, the president of France Nicolas Sarkozy who sharply speaks against Islamic traditions in lady's wear is an ordinary uneducated xenophobe.
But we will return to our heroine. Unlike many Ukrainian women who convert to Islam, having married to a foreign citizen, Deriya (Darya by passport) became a Muslim as a teenager, when she was 12. She prefers not to tell why and how. Her nationality the inhabitant of Odessa defines as "a hybrid of Gaguazes with five-ten other nations".
- To trace my nationality is rather difficult. I have a Turkish surname, my father is swarthy, I am light-skinned. My family is incomplete, my parents divorced 20 years ago, therefore education was the duty of my mother, Deria says. - She, as well as all family: grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles, - the natives of Uzbekistan. There Russians and Uzbeks, Tatars, Tadjiks, people of different beliefs and faiths always lived together. Therefore my family easily accepted my choice. Besides it was not a fanatical jerk, I did not muffle at once in a "bag" and almost did not change my way of life.
Deriya-Darya is a live refutation of a stereotype about cowed Islamic women deprived of civil rights. She is an active, modern, educated, cultural and sociable. She even has her pages in social networks!
The girl for some time studied at the faculty of international economic relations in the ONU of Mechnikov, but she voluntary gave up the study long before her marriage.
- No any interdictions! I just understood that difficult laws of economy are inapplicable to me, - the Muslim woman tells. – Then I finished courses of design and started to work. I worked in a small advertising agency, then at home. Even in the beginning of our family life I continued to work, my husband was not against. But in Ramadan it became difficult for me to fast and to spend the whole day in the office, therefore, I decided to make a break, but I did not return to my work later…
When she became unemployed by her own will, Deriya became very interest in needlework: embroidery and weaving by beads, sewing, work on metal and with a wire, creation of costume jewelry and cookery. She spends a lot of time for creation of stylish family albums.
- I do not understand, how the time can pass so quickly, - she says. - If I worked, I would surely have no time for anything. Now I decided to expose my "masterpieces" on sale for the first time. We will see what comes out of it. I also wish to open the studio where I could sew exclusive clothes, accessories, footwear, ornaments in Saudi Arabia. But for now this is just a dream.
She plans to enter university again, but on the other speciality: Shariat, the Arabic language and philosophy, or design and applied arts.
Islamic family: "As mum says, so in the daddy's way it will be"
Muslim family, according to Deriya, is not such as we are used to think. It is simply different, not worse and not better …
- In the family of my husband, and he is the native of the most closed Islamic country, as mum says, so in the daddy's way it will be. Yes, the man is the getter, the core of the family and he gets a lot of honor and respect, but everything in the family is led by a woman and it is visible only from within. When they show Islamic families on the TV or describe in the books, it is like a theatre... only when you get beside the scenes, you could understand it. The care of the house, of life lies on a woman, the man in this duty is helpless. The woman cooks, cleans, dresses, solves many family questions, and disposes the budget. She is a powerful back. And men appreciate it. Women do not work, or work, but not too hard. But they lead not so boring life at all. It is not only kitchen, children and shops. Husbands often spend with them days off, simply go for a drive on a city, visit cafes, cinema, walk on a quay, as in Jeddah, there it is very beautiful. It is possible to leave for sands and to prepare meat and tea on a fire or all the night long to go for a drive across the night Riyadh, or to go on the evening market. This is a real show…
All families of relatives, both from the side of the husband, and from my side, are well-off. We easily accept their traditions, and they - ours. For example, if we visit my non-Muslim relatives, they will never offer us pork. And my husband learned to celebrate such holidays as birthday and students' day.
For me the main thing is that we still have a part of our personal liberty. He does not press on me and me on him. Thus there will always be mutual understanding and we solve disputes very quickly.
Perhaps, also there are families where everything is as terrible as it is described, but, thank God, it does not concern me. But such families are everywhere, happens even worse. There are so many families in Odessa where the woman carries an excessive burden: work, children, the tyrant husband. It seems to me that everything depends on a woman. Both here, and there. As neither Christians, nor Muslims do not keep in the wed-lock by force. The woman has the right to apply for divorce …
"We accept polygamy as a norm of religion, but no any woman will accept it in her family"
And at last the most interesting subject – polygamy. As it is known, the Quran allows a Muslim to have four wives. In Ukraine, on the contrary, monogamy is legislatively established, though some politicians and public figures oppose this norm. For example, the writer and the journalist Oles Buzina last year published the book "Return to women harems". In it he proves that only polygamy can rescue Ukraine from degeneration. Otherwise, our colleague is assured, at such rate of alcoholism and negative birth rate, soon there will be no Ukrainians in this world. We quoted to Deriya some theses of Buzina….
- You say! - she was filled with indignation. - I am categorically against it, as well as the majority of Muslim women, at least, with whom I communicated. We accept polygamy as a norm of religion, but no any woman will accept it in her family. And men practically do not recall it too. Nowadays that occurs in the youth environment, and this, believe me, is much worse than harems. The general catastrophic falling of morals. The nation degenerates, and it is sad. Anyway, personally I will never get on with the competitor, let even assume that we will live in different houses … I do not wish to share with anybody the man, the family and the children!
Deriya confirms: except rather small list of interdictions – on open clothes, alcohol use and so on, - as a whole Islamic tradition liberally enough treats female weaknesses. Much more liberally, than orthodox, for example. Arabian women spend a lot of time for body care, use cosmetics, visit beauty salons.
- However, they rarely use nail-polish, - our interlocutor laughs. - It is forbidden to read namaz with nails covered with polish (The matter is that ritual ablution before a prayer, made on the nails covered with polish, will be void since the polish coat interferes with water stream – editor's comment) I personally cut a lemon half and stick there nails while I watch a film: they grow faster, and look so good. And in general women in the Arabian world know thousand recipes for skin, hair, lips.
- Certainly, among us, Muslims, there are fanatics and conformists, - she says. - As basically in each religion. But I do not consider myself or my husband, Muslims surrounding us, as conformists or fanatics. They are ordinary people, with regular life-style. In life there are practically no differences, too, unless there is more attention given to spiritual cleanliness.
(Given in reduction)
The full version of the article on the web-site of "TIMER"
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