I'm certain that everyone has heard the story from last week, about the man who beheaded his wife after she asked for a divorce. On the off chance that you haven't, here's a link to a cnn story about it: Founder of Islamic TV Station Accused of Beheading Wife This is a tragedy, and a horrible story. Here's my problem, too many people have focused on this being a Muslim man who beheaded his wife. As opposed to this being an abusive man who murdered his wife when she finally decided to leave. By focusing on this man's faith, pointing to it and saying, 'See, Muslims are violent!', they're ignoring the fact that abuse has *nothing* to do with religion.
Do abuser's use their faith as an excuse? Certainly. But here's the thing, an abusive person will make up an excuse for their abuse, whether it's religion or economic circumstances, or what have you. They will *find* a way to justify their violence, because, of course, nothing is ever their fault. It's always the other person. The other person *made* them do it, they just had no choice.
I grew up in an abusive home. My adoptive father used emotional, mental and physical abuse to keep my mother and my sister and myself 'in control'. We finally left, but I can tell you that, every so often, I think I see him on the road, and I panic. Just hearing his voice terrifies me. Thankfully, he has left us entirely alone for almost a year now. I can honestly say that I regret not killing him when I had a chance. It would have made my life much, much easier. I grew up constantly so angry and terrified that I didn't even realize what not feeling those things felt like until years after we left.
He didn't use religion, he just did what he did, and blamed us for not being able to live up to his perfect standards.
The story of the man beheading his wife has, of course, inspired more questions about abuse in Islam (which, as an aside, I don't believe is something that the religion teaches) and I found a couple of good posts about it on blogs I read every so often:
Someone Wanted Me to Write About Abuse of Women in Islam - at Beautiful Muslimah
A Quicky on Domestic Violence/Abuse - at A Muslim Wife
another blog that deals with it, much of the time, is:
A Journey Westward From Tartary by Lisa - Lisa is someone I've been reading for a little while, but I've never commented, mainly because someone else has already given her the advice I would give before I get there, and they do it in a much nicer fashion than I would. I constantly, at first, had to resist the urge to yell at her to get the hell out of her marriage, abuser's never change. But yelling isn't helpful, and I recognize that I'm too violently emotional on the topic, and others were telling her the same thing, but in a much nicer fashion. :)
Yes, all these are Muslim links, because they're the ones that I've come across discussing the topic recently. But still, abuse is not a 'Muslim problem', or a 'Christian problem', or anything like that. It's a problem. Period.