I’ve been reading some recently published academic stuff about North American women who convert to Islam.
I’m still trying to figure things about. Like, what drew me in the first place, and now keeps me in, yet also tears me apart.
“Brothers” could and did form their own bonds based on ethnic ties, shared political views, or whatever. “Brothers” phoned one another and talked for hours, sometimes even at one in the morning! “Brothers” would drop by unannounced for supper, and perhaps then decide to go for a walk together, or off to some other “brother’s” place. It was unthinkable for my (ex)husband and I to go for a picnic or to the park without either taking along a few “brothers,” or meeting a group of them there.
Once the “brothers” came on the scene, of course, I had to shrink into the background. Aside from the requirements of Islamic modesty (no free-mixing of the sexes and all that), I usually didn’t understand the languages that their conversations took place in anyway.
Hmm. She also spent time with "sisters" who didn't speak much English:
I learned that I wasn’t a “real” woman at all. I didn’t like most of the right things–high heels, gold jewelry, fancy embroidered all-encompassing polyester house-dresses, wearing make-up and miniskirts for my husband at home, spending hours slaving in the kitchen, pouring over other people’s photo albums. No, I didn’t have any wedding pictures. I had few pictures of myself or my family, even, and what I had I didn’t want to show to virtual strangers. Of course, they thought I was very strange to say the least. On one particularly memorable occasion, a group of Turkish “sisters” mocked me in my presence. They were speaking Turkish, so even though I was sitting right there, they spoke freely, assuming that I didn’t understand. (They were wrong.)