Married to a Muslim

Yaroslav Lavrentievich Podvolotskiy, American Renaissance, April 6, 2018

Interview with a Ukrainian woman.

Romance is hard enough in the modern world, but interracial relationships add a new level of complexity and danger. According to a 2008 study, interracial couples are more likely to divorce than couples of the same race, with black male/white female couples twice as likely to divorce as white couples. Studies show interracial couples are more likely to experience domestic violence. Sadly, spousal homicide is far higher in interracial relationships, with one study from 1979 to 1981 finding white men who married black women were 21.4 times more likely to be killed by their spouses than white men who married white women. A white woman who married a black man was 12.4 times more likely to be killed by her husband than a white woman who married a white man.

Often, racial differences align with cultural or religious differences. As a non-Muslim who marries a Muslim quickly discovers, Islam is an enormous barrier in a relationship. The treatment of women in Muslim countries is far different from in Western nations. Western women who marry Muslim men and move to a Middle Eastern country find themselves experiencing not just culture shock, but legal, religious, and social restrictions that would never be tolerated in the West.

Such was the case of Lena, a woman from Ukraine who married a Muslim man and lived with him in Egypt. Suddenly, her new family, the police, and the larger society considered her unworthy of protection or respect. Emotional and physical abuse followed.

Like many other European women, Lena’s naivete and assumptions about the universality of Western cultural norms cost her dearly. Strangely enough, Western feminists are largely silent about women’s rights in the Muslim world, as well as the behavior of Muslims in the West towards women. Few others will touch the subject, but Lena now tells her story for American Renaissance.

Yaroslav: Tell us about yourself and your experience.

Lena: I’m a Ukrainian woman of Slavic descent, who lived in the Middle East for some time, mostly in Egypt. Unlike many other women, I was able to escape with my child. Many women in similar situations are not so lucky, as embassies often refuse to help and the women have no independent means of emotional or financial support.

Yaroslav: How did you end up in this situation?

Lena: I met my husband in a bar in Ukraine when I was quite young, right after university. He was an Egyptian Muslim, twelve years older, charming, good-looking, and had money to throw around. I married him after half a year, though my family and friends disapproved. Actually, no one I knew approved. But I decided I was my own person and could marry whomever I wanted.

Yaroslav: Was he drinking?

Lena: Yes. I met quite a few Muslim men who were strict about their diet in the Middle East but ate pork and drank when they were in the West. Muslim women act similarly, dressing conservatively in their own countries, but dressing liberally in the West.

Yaroslav: Why were you attracted to him?

Lena: I was young and stupid. When you are 22 or 23, you have a different view on life than you do later. I loved that he was trying to take care of me. I loved that he would sometimes try to tell me what clothing I should not be wearing. We were still living in Ukraine, and he would tell me “you cannot wear these clothes” or “you cannot go to these places with your friends.” I thought, “Oh that’s so sweet, he’s jealous!” Now I think that’s just controlling. At the time, it seemed romantic.

Yaroslav: When did your husband become emotionally abusive?

Lena: When we arrived in Egypt, he became very distant. He led a separate life. He didn’t care that I had no one to talk to or nothing to do. He had his own apartment in the family house, but I didn’t know anyone in his family. He’d leave for days and not give me the key to the apartment.

I actually had no food in the house and the only source for water was the tap, which was not drinkable. I was embarrassed to call him and tell him I needed food. When I finally did call and said I needed food or at least the keys to the apartment, he screamed at me. Ten hours after that call, he came home, contemptuously threw some food on the table and went to sleep. He didn’t care at all.

Yaroslav: When did the physical abuse start?

Lena: After I gave birth to my child. He seemed to resent the child, as he was used to getting anything he wanted and being the center of attention. His father was the general manager of a big oil company and the rest of the family was wealthy, so they had access to everything. They vacationed in Europe, bought beach houses, were educated in the West. He never had to work.

When he realized the child was now the center of my life, he became even more distant. Sometimes, he exploded in anger and slapped me, drawing blood. Once, when the baby was ill, I asked him to call the hospital. He said something in Arabic I couldn’t understand. When I told him I didn’t follow, he screamed at me for not understanding. I tried to explain the importance of speaking in a language I understood perfectly, given the subject. His response was to push me across the room. I fled and went to the hospital myself in a taxi.

Yaroslav: Did his family know about the abuse? And if so, how did they react?

Lena: I spoke with his closest family members a few times. Their response was to blame me. They said I should not upset my husband. They said I should be more appreciative, which was incredible considering I wasn’t even given money for food. Their response was, “That’s your problem.”

Yaroslav: An abused woman in the West would get the opposite response.

Lena: Yes. I decided the solution was to get a job. However, my husband and his family were angry I was working so much. I was criticized for having my own money, because, as a normal wife, I should have given all my money to my husband.

However, every self-respecting Middle Eastern woman has her own secret bank account so if she has to run she can survive.

Yaroslav: Did you try to go to the police?

Lena: I didn’t. Whenever I complained to his family members they would tell me, “Let us handle this, let us talk to him.” I often heard that if I went to the police, I would “bring shame to the entire family.”

Yaroslav: What would have happened if you had gone to the police?

Lena: Considering I was a foreigner, the police might have been forced to do something, especially, if you go to the embassy and the police station. There is a chance that the police would have to at least accept your complaint. But often the police don’t care. They consider it domestic relations. They believe that the husband has the right to beat his wife.

Yaroslav: So if you had been Egyptian, he could have done almost anything he wanted to you.

Lena: They would have thought of it as my man using his legal right to teach his wife how to behave.

Yaroslav: Was this an isolated incident, or was his treatment of you the rule?

Lena: I met some American women who suffered the same abuse as Slavic women. Their husbands would lock them in their houses while they were at work. The women would be emotionally and physically abused. Husbands would manipulate these women by using their children. The simplest trick is to go to the police station and write a report saying, “My child is of Arab descent, and my wife, who is a foreigner, wants to take him out of the country.” It doesn’t take even 20 minutes for the police to issue an order preventing that child from travelling out of the country.

The worst part is the woman is not informed of this decision until she reaches customs. Only when she tries to escape with the child does she learn she can’t take the child out of the country. She might even be arrested.

Yaroslav: When did you realize that you had to get out with your son?

Lena: When my son stood up to protect me from his father. He was around three-and-a-half years old. We were getting ready to go to school and his father was yelling at me and raised his hand to hit me. My child stood in front of me and told his father, “Daddy don’t you dare hit my mum!” He then got so scared he hid in one of the closets. I found him crying. I realized I couldn’t live in a place where a child had to protect his mother from his own father. I moved out almost immediately.

Yaroslav: Do Egyptian men treat white women and Muslim women differently?

Lena: Yes. Most of the time, they see white women as a beautiful toy. They would be happy to introduce you to everyone in the world as their girlfriend. They would be happy to post a picture of you everywhere on social media. Yet they will often choose very average looking Muslim girls to bring home as wives. These women are raised to be proper wives for Middle Eastern men, and cause fewer “troubles,” as Muslim men put it.

“60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan in Cairo moments before a “taharrush” sex attack.

It’s easier for Muslim men to handle Middle Eastern women. Generally speaking, they don’t beg for freedom. They simply cook, raise children, and avoid intellectual development. In contrast, my husband would yell at me for going to the library, demanding I simply watch television. “No woman in the world would be going to the library, how dare you say you are just going for a book!” he once exclaimed.

Yaroslav: How do Muslim men treat their daughters as opposed to sons?

Lena: Daughters are treated as marriage material. If the parents can afford it, children get an education in one of the international schools. Even at five years old, girls would know they needed this education because it would get them a better marriage proposal later. Thus, when girls in these societies are educated, it’s not for its own sake; it’s to get them married off.

Boys usually get better treatment. If you are a boy, you are treated like a king. Boys are allowed a certain freedom while girls are usually allowed only to stay at home and learn how to cook. Sometimes, especially if they can’t afford school, parents simply keep the girls at home rather than educate them.

Yaroslav: It seems that a major difference between Western culture and Muslim culture is that they see women as objects to be traded

Lena: A Middle Eastern man views his wife as a thing. A machine that cooks and cleans and amuses him. If he’s displeased, he can go to the police station and get a divorce in ten minutes. The woman does not have that right. There are few countries in the Middle East where the woman can get a divorce. It is an important legal aspect that white women coming to the Middle East with their Muslim husbands do not understand.

To get a divorce in Egypt takes an extremely devoted lawyer and thousands of dollars—enough money to obtain a small flat in Ukraine. And you may not even get the divorce in the end.

Yaroslav: What do you think would have been different if you had married a European or American man?

Lena: I don’t know. I’ve only been married to a Middle Eastern man, and as I said, I got married when I was very young. But seeing my friends and family, I know it’s normal for a white husband to help with housework, to know about his own children, to take them to school, to talk to his wife and spend time with her. It’s normal for a father to be part of the family’s life.

Yaroslav: Why are women in post-Soviet countries, and the rest of the West, attracted to Muslim men?

Lena: Women are mesmerized by the enigma of a Middle Eastern man. They’ve read novels and seen movies in which a woman marries a Muslim and is treated like a princess. (This delusion lasts only until you marry him.) Muslim men are also given to wild claims, telling European women who visit some Middle Eastern resort that they will give them “love to the moon and back” and “all the treasures in the world.” The woman wants to believe there’s someone who loves her more than anyone. But it’s just words.

Yaroslav: Generally, what happens to these Slavic women once they are locked into these relationships?

Lena: My case was not the worst. I lived in an upmarket place in a big city and had access to my own money through my job. More often, women from small villages marry these men and become trapped, dealing with Third World problems such as snakes biting their children. Often, the families don’t approve of this non-Muslim interloper. They aren’t allowed to work or, if they do, the money goes to the husband. They will wear the hijab. Once they have a child, this child becomes a hostage, as the wife will be threatened with never seeing the baby again if she disobeys her husband.

I’ve spoken to a woman who had a two-week-old baby boy taken away because she didn’t cook the food her husband wanted. The husband took the child away for three days and let some woman on the street breast-feed the baby. Considering how many people in the Middle East have Hepatitis, that’s life-threatening! All to spite his wife.

Yaroslav: What would you say to European woman who is considering entering into a relationship with a Muslim man?

Lena: In one word: DON’T. I’ve met only one Western woman who was satisfied with her marriage to a Middle Eastern man, and that man had lived and worked all his life in the West. He was a Westernized, “assimilated” Arab.

Yaroslav: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say to her?

Lena: The reason why I married that man is because I had no experience and very low self-esteem. I would never have paid attention to him if I had had any self-esteem at all.

Yaroslav: Do you think this dynamic is common, that white women enter these relationships because they think no one else wants them?

Lena: Of course! Most of the women in this situation date only a couple of months and suddenly marry. Rationally, you want to know a man better before you decide to spend the rest of your life with him. But if I want validation, I want to keep the man who says I look like the moon or a star.

Yaroslav: I have noticed that white women in America who enter into interracial relationships also lack self esteem. They find a non-white who tells them they are wonderful, and marry immediately.

Thank you very much for this interview, Lena.

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About Yaroslav Lavrentievich Podvolotskiy

View all posts by Yaroslav Lavrentievich Podvolotskiy
Yaroslav Lavrentievich Podvolotskiy
Mr. Podovlotsky is an American living in Ukraine who teaches history and English. He became conscious of race while serving in the military.
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