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    I had a hard time deciding where to post this..because I didn't want this to be a religious discussion.

    The issue is how our community feels that people need to behave and act...and how misguided they are.

    I received an email about jeffery lang
    University of Kansas mathematics professor who is a muslim convert...
    He has written several books on Islam in american and raising children in America.
    In a third book that will mostly consist of letters Lang has received
    >from young Muslims, he will appeal to the American Muslim community tostop
    >splitting hairs over issues like hair covering and separation of the sexes
    >lest they lose an entire generation. Young Muslims are struggling withmuch
    >more significant questions, he said. "They're wrestling with trying to
    >resist drugs, falling in love with other teenagers, people outside their
    >faith, all the problems that young people in America have to face at avery
    >early age, and in the meantime our community is fighting over things that
    >have no real relevance to problems they
    face day in and day out."

    And I agree...I was dealing with issues that my parents had no clue about...I can remember being in kindergarten where a little boy playing kissing tag "caught me" my little 5 year old reply was “ oh you can't kiss me I'm Muslim!!
    I also remember my brother once didn’t have lunch in kindergarten because he thought they had pork on the are dealing with Islam in the West in every aspect of their life from day one..while in Muslim countries it isn't even an issue till you get older.

    I also hear of desi parents that flip out about allowing thier daughters to go the mall alone..because well they meet boys there. (um and they don't spend 8 hours a day in school with boys?)

    I'm sure everyone can think of examples...but what i want to know is

    Why is the community so misguided in their focus?

    How can we resolve that?

    And third I think that the world is so much more multi-cultural and diverse..that perhaps it may not be that difficult for the next generation as it was for the initial immiagrants.

    i think and that due to the social pressure of the desi community overseas ppl tend to compete and sometimes maybe think if i let my daughter go out with her friends what will the community think .....

    or eating Burger King is ok as long as no pak sees you doing so ......

    as long as ppl are under social pressure or abide by "what other ppl will say ...or think" such misconceptions will make life harder and harder for them and their children to live

    Islam shouldnt be forced upon children but taught them in their daily lives ...

    for instance i remember my mother never offering prayers and forcing me to do so .....which resulted in me hating to do so till a long time i looked at offering prayers as some kinda punishment

    it was later that i found peace in offering namaz and maybbe i am not a strict paanch waqt ka namaazi but three prayers a day i offer .....and that resulted in my daughters being interested in what mummy is doing ?

    so basically i think instead of living lives on standards that other ppl set one should try to live and format their lives which suit them and their families ......

    i hope i made sense

    --<[email protected] In Life there are no problems, only solutions waiting to be found @-->--


      Nice topic

      As for our community acting the way they are, I think there are two problems re. their behavior. One is that they’ve been thought that kids don’t ask questions, so they have been following many rules without knowing why? And perhaps they are shocked that we are questioning the culture and since they never thought about it, they try to avoid the question as that is easiest and when pushed harder they try to find an answer, which we may or may not accept. The second problem is that no matter where in the West we are Islam sells - topics like jihad, women in Islam haram/halal issues are hot. So while the media is desperate to convince the world that Hijab = no freedom to women, our parents try to convince us otherwise, in some cases they succeed and in others they don’t, again because some may not know why we do things as we do.
      An example is that here in DK some idiot Mayer found out that integration will be easier plus other wise reasons, if Muslim kids aren’t served halal meat. So when they talk to our kids in kindergarten about eating pork and show them pictures of zibah, what impression do our kids get? Steps like these force our parents to be extreme in their way of raising us.

      Re. Focus of our community, most of the times I think media or others bad experiences determines where the focus should be, for instance if the media is discussing forced marriage our parents start jumping up and down to convince us that western style marriage always fails, or if some ones daughter or son did something wrong, like ran away or are on ’jail yatra’, one can clearly feel the anger and fear in our community.

      How we can change this, is a difficult question as it depends on individual cases, some will be good at explaining his/her parents that this and that is not wrong, while others might think why waste time on explaining things, it my life or they’ll never listen to me etc. Communication is the key - we need to talk, moreover we need to help our elders to open up and tell us about our background, be it cultural or historical. I remember when I talked about AIDS with my father for the first time, he first turned red (blushed) and then tried to avoid my questions, it took me hours to make him talk about the topic, but he finally told me what he thought about it etc. A few weeks ago an uncle of mine was talking about girls who run away with boyfriends, even after marriage. He was talking about the western influence and loose up-raisin etc. Now western influence I don’t care about, however loose up-raising and then expecting that the new gen. will respect the culture and religion is stupid. If I think that Allah is something sitting up on ’satwaan aasman’ and none corrected me, then none should expect that I have respect for his messages either. And that is what I think our elders are doing.

      We’ve been moaning over ’they-don’t-understand-us’ for a very long time now, and nothing has changed, we either go for a total western life style or total Pakistani life style, something in between doesn’t exist for many of us, which just shows how insecure we are about our culture, and how insecure west is about their culture. We have to realize that total ’baghawat’ from either of them will cut us from the good values the other has to offer. Therefore find a suitable in-between path, and explain the western culture to our parents and ask them to explain our desi culture to us. Stop pretending as if we know every detail of the culture, and let ppl discuss taboo topics we might learn from them or convince someone that he/she is wrong.

      Lahaul…inni lambi post…well I hope I made some sense


        This is a really important issue and very close to my heart.

        As the mother of two teenagers it is really relevant to my situation. This is an age where kids all want to be like their peers so they do stupid things. Really, I think the difference comes from the home and despite all teh nonsense going on outside my kids are generally able to look at them rationally and come home and discuss but there are always questions, and issues where they don't see eye to eye with us. It's not only, "times have changed" but "you don't know about this culture"

        And in the midst of this are all the ususal stupid things that people discuss and pretend are the essence of Islam.

        I was just saying to my husband yesterday, isn't it incredible the time and effort people waste on explaining rules, exceptions, etc etc of our religion when in truth it's so incredibly simple? and is really a question of common sense, not a bunch of rules to be memorised....

        Also I have seen youngsters making the effort to come to Juma Namaaz only to be told off because their jeans are too tight or they have an earring or their hair is too long.... aargh!! it makes me so angry.

        [This message has been edited by Shirin (edited February 14, 2000).]


          Hello people
          I'm from Denmark and have just checked out this forum recently. I find the discussions here very interesting and stimulating.
          I would like to join this discussion but I don't have much time to write a long story but here are a few thoughts.
          How we can solve this problem:
          1) Many parents aren't even aware of the changes that have been going on in Pakistan in the past 30 years and therefore one of the first steps might very well be to get them in touch with how far Pakistan has come in realizing that the western culture WONT BITE THEM. A lot of the laws here are following the words of Islam TREAT EACHOTHER THE WAY U WANNA BE TREATED URSELF.
          2) Many children don't tell their parents much about what is going in their lives and therefore when the parents sit together and tell eachother the bad stories about koun kis ke sath phaga then they tend to get very stressed out and afraid of loosing us to the non muslims. One thing that would be of help is to let one's parents' in on what we want and that it's not so terrible to find a boy or a girl of our own choice. Islam has only forbidden us sex before marriage there is nothing wrong about falling in love with a good person and then wanting to marry that person. I mean just look at how fair Islam is regarding how we can say yes/no to a marriage proposal. I myself don't mind arranged marriages as long as the parents give their children the right (given to them by islam) to say yes/no. Danish people think that arranged marriage is a forced marriage but it's not true but sadening enough many times parents make it become a case of honour with no regard to the fact that their son or daughter has zero chance of being happy with the partner that they have chosen for them
          3) I hope that inshallah we'll be able to have more open relations with our children and raise our sons and daughter to give eachother mutual respect. Because that is the only way to go which is also what Islam directs us to do.
          Islam doesn't forbid us to ask questions on the contrary it tells us to find the right answers so that we can defend being a muslim eachtime a non muslim attack us with questions. (at least that is my opinion)
          Gotta go
          I hope I made some sense
          take care
          khuda hafiz


            Excellent answers by several people. I am truly glad to see that many people are really taking the time to see just what the real issues are and not get lost in all the hype of religion and ours vs. theirs. I too am raising older kids and have come across many of these issues.

            my case may be a little different in that #1, i'm a single parent, and # 2, i myself was born and raised in the the issues that i deal with, are more that 'the times have changed' but i may also tend to be more on the strict side cos i'm doing it single-handedly

            however, the fact remains that i am definitely raising my kids very differently from the way i was raised in that i'm allowing much more freedom BUT stressing on more open communication...and more knowlege of the why's of their religion...

            it is funny actually, when i initially got divorced, my parents were greatly concerned about the amount of extra-curricular activities my kids were involved in and islam was greatly emphasized, etc. however, in the several years since that time, less and less is being said about islam, and more and more is being said as a means of reassurement to me that my kids seem to be doing fine, etc, and i shouldn't stress out so much about it, (even though my kids are involved even more now.) This is certainly a big boost to me in knowing that my parents feel that i'm doing ok in providing enough religion and everyday experiences to the kids. I guess they see that my kids actually understand their religion as well as practice it and they are satisfied that i am not raising any awaara kids...

            someone above mentioned opening lines of communication...that is really the key, i think. i feel if a person knows and understands why they are to do a certain thing, they are more apt to it. I find this is true not just in religion, but in everyday life, too.

            I wonder, too about KashmiriG's initial observation, that perhaps it might be easier for the 2nd generation seems to be true somewhat, in my case...more desis that i can expose my kids to on a regular basis, i can understand more from where they are coming from, and more awareness on the part of their world - their school - more muslims are in it and people in general seem to know more about islam than when i was young.

            i have to also commend that person who said that there are so many islamic values here in these western countries - something i usually talk to fellow co-workers about, because i am proud of a lot of it, and yes, i strongly agree that we need to take the good from whatever culture we are in and focus less on the differences, i think we might end up alienating less of our kids if we do so, because after all, they do consider themselves more of the culture they are growing up in, than of the desi culture