I’m sure I am not alone in saying that in Saudi I have met some Muslim converts who are more Saudi and “Islamic” than many Saudis. These will be the women who after their conversion to Islam will wear the very loose and long trailing abayas, thick socks covering their ankles, black gloves covering their hands and not only the hijjab and niqab, but the face is typically veiled too. The give-away that they are not a Saudi woman (since you can not see them) is their non-arabic accent or western words as they speak and the children who accompany them that are clearly not “pure” Saudi. Contrary to what you may now be thinking, I have nothing against anyone dressing as they choose and in which way they are comfortable. What saddens me is when I see these converts in what seems to be an identity struggle. It is as if since they have taken on a new religion and a new path in their life, they try to erase the remnants of their previous life and personality. Many have lost tolerance for actions or activities they have either participated in (such as listening to music) and also will not tolerate such activities or actions in others either. They readily take on a new Islamic name and some may be angered if someone were to refer to them by their previous, birth-given name. They may respond heatedly “that’s not my name now and you know it.” It can be difficult to have a basic conversation with some of them for they now believe it their duty and purpose to solely talk about Islam and try to convert others to the faith. Or if someone is already a muslim, these women will point out areas of improvement to their fellow muslim friends.
Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and acceptance. Yet some reverts embrace islam with such a reverence that they give the opposite impression of the true meanings, making people shy away from them as well as closing their minds to Islam.
Filed under: abbya, culture, Dress, gender, islam, religion, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, Saudi Living, travel, Uncategorized, Women Issues Tagged: | abaya, culture, culture shock, customs, gender, gender issues, islam, KSA, religion, Saudi, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, travel, women