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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A Muslim wrote a letter to the editor of the Jammat newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to Mosque every Friday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time . . . and the Imam they are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."
This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the dismay of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has
cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what the menu was for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today."
No comments were made on the sermon contents anymore.


"The lips of the righteous nourish many . . "



The Elegance of the Modest Woman
Toronto Star - Jan. 23, 2002

While out for dinner last week with colleagues, we sat beside three 20-something women. There was the usual posing and glances exchange, and as they paid their bill two Muslim women entered and sat nearby. Whispers were quickly exchanged and we could hear, "Why do they wear those things anyway?" ... "I feel sorry for them" ... and so on.

As they filed out of the restaurant, we noticed they sported a mixed collection of the following: skin tight pants, short skirts, exposed midriffs, push-up bras, high heels, jewelry, see-through or plunging tops, piercings, lipstick and makeup, and one had breast implants for certain. We observed the two Muslim women as they were engaged in close conversation over coffee.

Their graceful features complimented their dark headscarves and warm eyes. Their natural gestures were flirty without even trying - revealing natural beauty. And their clothes, while conservative, brought forth the hidden potential of something wonderful and truly feminine.

The idea of dressing modestly terrifies some western women - but why? Perhaps it would trample their "right" to show off. Would their self-esteem fall along with their hemlines?

After some debates, we identified the cost of the western "right" to flaunt. The Muslim women were free from the fashion trap -free to "just be" without posing, comparing, dieting and spending for the approval of men and each other. And they looked more desirable to us than the exhibitionists who were in the restaurant and parading on the sidewalk.

The sexual displays in our culture are so mainstream and competitive that modesty is seen as regressive. Yet, long term, when a man looks past the right pants and heels, he will ultimately detect not confidence, but a certain unattractive desperation.

Modest women don't have that desperation - they don't compete in the arena of vanity. They have themselves - and that's the kind of attraction with legs to last the long run. Remember that the next time you feel sorry for a Muslim woman.

R. Stevenson

North York



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