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The treatment of women in Islam is another hot topic springing up about the Islamic religion while the world watches ISIL in the Middle East.

View of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa. Taken by TU Student/ Kayla Baines.

View of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa. Taken by TU Student/ Kayla Baines.

Even in modern Musim countries such as the United Arab Emirates, women are treated as second class citizens- and I, as a tourist, have experienced this.

Over this past summer, while ISIS was making its way down Iraq-headed toward Baghdad- I was in Dubai and Cyprus.

This year was the first time I was lucky enough to visit a majority Muslim country and also go to the Turkish occupied side of Cyprus.

Pathway between Dubai Mall and the Burj Village. Taken by: TU Student/ Kayla Baines

Pathway between Dubai Mall and the Burj Village.
Taken by: TU Student/ Kayla Baines

Although before even flying into Dubai I was prepared on the “how to behave” and “what to wear” basics, I still was blown away.

U.A.E. is an extremely rich country. Everything is overdone and fancy. So of course, I dress appropriately to respect the religion.

Now I bet you’re all still wondering why I was blown away? Besides the grandeur of the city, I myself was treated like a second class citizen. I probably should have expected this but I was not ready.

The Burj Khalifa. Taken by: TU Student/ Kayla Baines

The Burj Khalifa. Taken by: TU Student/ Kayla Baines

My first experience was at a nice restaurant in Dubai Mall, when our waitress came she only spoke to my boyfriend, with whom I travelled with to Dubai, and not me. She would listen to me as I ordered for myself but never looked me in the eyes. Slightly frustrating.

The next time I go to a restaurant for lunch in the hotel (it was during Ramadan so we could not eat out during the day) I thought I wouldn’t be so surprised this time. First, the waitress only said “Sir”. Like “What would you like, Sir”, “Is everything OK, sir?”, “Can I get you something else, sir?”, while only addressing my boyfriend of course. Then there was an insect in my sandwich! Yet my boyfriend has to call her over and tell her that there’s a bug in my sandwich as she ignores me. Finally, I get the most shocked look when she sets the bill on the table and I take it to pay for it.

It was after this trip that I became more curious about Islam and is why I am writing this blog for you today. Even as modern and advanced as Dubai is, women still have to deal with these minor frustrations of things they can’t do. I thought maybe I’m just mad because at home I can say whatever I want and if someone tells me I need a man to do something for me I would raise hell.

But while this first article shows how the Kurdish muslim minority in Syria is combating ISIL with more women’s rights, many people around the world are questioning how women are treated in places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran.

The biggest problems in those three aforementioned countries are women not being able to make decisions on marriage, be able to drive or vote, honor killings, and society looking the other way towards violence against them. 

However, not all Muslim countries are the same, and treat women the same. kurdish women in Kurdistan, like women in U.A.E. have always enjoyed more equality than in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

So how does the Kurdish people in Syria announcing more rights for women help the fight against ISIL?

It also bans ‘honor killings’ and ‘violence and discrimination’ against women, and states that women cannot be married off without their consent, AFP reported.

The Britain-based Observatory said the decree is an ‘affront to laws being passed by the Islamic State, which are highly discriminatory against women.’

That’s how. The majority Kurdish areas in the Middle East showing the world that Islam does care about women, that Islam is capable of reformation, makes all the difference against the Islamic State.

To me, ISIL can be compared to the crusaders and the inquisition period
in Christianity. So with minorities of the religion stepping up and out of their “middle ages” really shows their desire to reform and be able to move into the future.

Here’s to more advancements for women, not just in Muslim countries, but to women all over the world still fighting to be completely equal to men.