A 16-year-old girl held an agnostic attitude towards religion, despite her having some highly religious family members. The girl didn’t hate religion and was tolerant towards it, but she would soon find this tolerance falling short due to the extreme beliefs of her stepmother’s family.
Her Religious Background
Whilst the girl’s parents identified as Muslim, they did not feel strongly about the religion and had raised her to hold similarly passive beliefs. However, after her parents divorced, her father had married a woman who held far stronger religious convictions, and this attitude was beginning to cause serious tension in the family.
Religious and Conservative Stepmother
The stepmother, devout in her Islamic faith, belonged to a conservative and strict family. “She and her side of the family are very religious and quite strict in how they practice”, the girl explained. “She’s always clashing with me about how my lack of practice reflects poorly on her”.
An Unwanted Invitation
Recently, the stepmother’s mother invited the girl to a family party. However, there was a condition attached: the attire should adhere to strict Islamic guidelines. This meant that the girl would need to wear clothing that covered her hair, concealed all skin except for her face and feet, and featured loose-fitting garments.
A Defiant Response
The girl was not one to compromise her individuality and beliefs, so she decided to politely decline the invitation rather than conform to the dress code. The conversation remained polite until she was confronted about her decision, sparking a heated exchange.
Exchange of Heated Words
The step-grandmother began to criticize the girl’s decline. “You can be your own person on your own time but you have family obligations too, and it wouldn’t kill you to do it for once in your life”, she criticized. “You should respect your religion and elders so if you know what’s good for you”.
The girl wasn’t accepting her step-grandmother’s threats. “I don’t respect this nonsense, or your party and religion… you know where to shove them!”, she snapped.
Her Pushover Father
Whilst the girl had expected this attitude from her stepmother’s family, she couldn’t believe that her father hadn’t stepped in. “I looked at my dad and sarcastically told him ‘thanks for standing up for me’, and left”, she recounted.
The girl explained what happened next after she left: “I called my mum and she came to pick me up, and I haven’t spoken with my dad or stepmother since. My step-sister thought this whole thing was very funny, and told me that the three of them fought for like half an hour after I left.”
Reflection and Self-Doubt
Despite her mother praising the girl for sticking up for her beliefs, she couldn’t help but question her behavior. She felt like she might have escalated the situation unnecessarily when she could have just said no to the invitation politely and walked away.
The Internet’s Thoughts
With her conscience feeling somewhat conflicted, the girl headed online to seek guidance from others. Thankfully, she was met with applause from her favorite digital community. “You handled this perfectly”, one reader praised. “I don’t think you could have avoided the confrontation. She would have continued to push you until you snapped.”
The Dad Was a Jerk
Many readers harshly criticized the girl’s father. “Your dad is the biggest jerk in this situation”, someone accused. “He just let someone attack his daughter like that and didn’t do anything to protect you. He’s supposed to be on your side!”
One commenter expressed genuine concern regarding the behavior of the woman’s stepmother’s family. “The threat of “if you know what is good for you” is more than grounds to keep away from all of them”, they claimed. “Their level of extremity, along with this threat, is something to be concerned about. Stay away.”
Support From Other Muslims
To the girl’s relief, even the Islamic community came to her defense. “There are no compulsory dress codes in Islam”, one Muslim wrote. “My whole family covers their hair and not once was it forced upon me. People like your stepmother make Islam look bad with their extremism.”
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