Critical Commentary – American Women Convert to Islam

Posted on May 3, 2013 by




Since the Boston Marathon bombings, it has been revealed that there are more Americans are converting to Islam. One woman has been singled out by the media and said to have been brainwashed by her husband for converting to Islam. The accusations arose because of her association with her husband and his involvement in the Boston terror attacks. The Boston attacks have renewed the stereotypes and misconceptions that U.S. women who have chosen that faith say they want to dispel. The NBC News article “Not “brainwashed”: American women converted to Islam speak out” show the real reasons why American women convert to Islam, and why the accusations against them are harsh.

In the past ten years, more women have decided to change their lives by converting to Islam. Each person who does make the decision to convert to Islam has their own reasoning for doing so. A common reasoning that has been clear is that they want to do it for themselves and no one made them do it. Lauren Schreiber, a 26 year old woman from Greenbelt, MD, talked about why she converted to Islam in the article. “It’s not because somebody made me do this. It’s what I chose to do and I’m happy”, explained Schreiber. That seems like a legit reason to change your lifestyle and convert to Islam.  Rebecca Minor, a 28 year old woman from West Hartford, Connecticut, said that converting to Islam and living her life that way is something that is important to her and it reminds her to be a good person. Each person who converts to Islam has their own reasoning that does not line up with what they are being accused of by the media.

The perception in America about women converting to Islam is that they do it only to please a man. Almost all the women who convent, at some point, end up hearing people say that they must have converted in order to marry the man that they are with. Along with those accusations, some women also hear people make misconceptions about the Islam customs. A woman in the article heard people say that her husband is allowed to beat her, she is not free to get a divorce, and that she and her children are subservient to the man. With people making comments like those, along with yelling other harsh things, it makes a lot of Americans seem really insensitive to the issue.

Looking at the article at first, it is easy to think that this article is strictly about a woman who converted to Islam and her involvement with the bombings in Boston.  Looking at the rest of the article, the intentions of the article are clear. With the use of pictures of some of the women who have converted, it is easy to see how happy the women are. They might have had some struggles initially when they converted, but as they talk more, they have come to understand how people are and act in America. These women who have converted are not offended anymore about some of the things that they come across; in fact one of them is able to joke about some of the things that she encounters. This article shows how important it is to respect everyone’s religion. It is never clear who may be practicing what religion, as talked about in this article with American women who have converted to Islam.

JoNel Aleccia, “Not ‘brainwashed’: American women who converted to Islam speak out”, NBC News, April 26, 2013

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