Once while browsing Facebook on a bright Sunday morning, I found myself shocked by a post made by a friend of mine who I went to high school with. That friend is a Christian Preacher. His post was a photo of his twelve-year-old daughter. She was dressed very scantily in what he described as a dance outfit. She was face down on her elbows in the middle of the street with her body bent backwards so that her buttocks were directly above her head and her feet extended outward like a contortionist in a circus. A societal circus as far as I am concerned, and I was in no way amused. I was instantly disturbed by what I was viewing. I could not fathom how my Christian friend could unwisely post such a revealing photo of his daughter on the internet, let alone seeming to be more than okay with her being dressed and positioned that way in the middle of the street.
In his post he stated how proud he was of his daughter, but I could not get past questioning in my mind exactly what it was about that photo that he was so proud of? I thought, “Is he proud of the revealing outfit that she is wearing? Is it the provocative pose? Is it the fact that she is posing that way in the middle of the street for all to see?”. He certainly was not saying he was proud of her for some great achievement, acts of charity being done by her in the community, etc.… I simply could not wrap my mind around this “Man of God” being okay with his daughter being dressed that way in public, let alone in the middle of the street, and in such a provocative pose like that at the age of twelve years old! Or any age for that matter! I found myself thinking, “Is he going to be proud of her when she grows up to do porn, or if she winds up dancing in a strip club?” I was shocked and utterly disgusted by the whole thing. Here was this Preacher posting a photo of his nearly naked daughter on the internet for the whole world to see! Then I thought about the potential for his neighbors, “Chester the Molester” and “Peter the Pedophile”, who could have been peering out of their windows at her, or who might be aroused by the photo while viewing it online. I also thought about the possibility of the boys that his daughter went to school with seeing the photo. I was seriously disturbed and disgusted, by what in my view, was an extremely unwise and utterly foolish post.
I noticed that at the bottom of the photo there was an ad for some type of fishing and wildlife company. It looked as though the photo of his twelve-year-old daughter was being used in some sort of marketing or advertisement for a company whose target audience was obviously men. Upon noticing that, I sent my Christian friend a message asking him about the company. He told me that the company was a hunting guide service, just as I had assumed. I then asked him, “Don't you think they are exploiting your daughter?” and then went on to say, “This is common practice, and this is why Islam is the answer. Males and females alike are encouraged to dress modestly and to avoid provocative attire and photos, etc...”.
I addressed my Preacher friend in that manner because he has been a panelist on Consider This TV on many occasions. We have always had great dialogue. We have discussed various issues and topics and gone in depth regarding the differences between the Christian and Islamic positions of each. Just the night before we were texting one another about something funny that was said on the show and we were having a good laugh. But on that following Sunday morning I seem to have struck a nerve with my Preacher friend who responded to my question and comment by saying, “No I don’t think so at all. We get free pictures from a professional photographer. If that’s what you mean. As far as dressing modestly this is her dance attire and dance is what she loves to do. I love you Brother but sometimes it’s better to save comments like this when not talking about my 12 yr old daughter.”
Upon reading my Preacher friend’s response, I felt the urge to yell out, “I have more respect for your twelve-year-old daughter than you do!”. Instead I stated the following, “I understand your discomfort. I am just saying that I do not believe our Creator would agree with us feeding into the devils work by allowing society to dictate what is, or what is not acceptable. There is no reason for people to see anyone's daughter of any age in certain stages of undress. Islam uplifts the status of females by encouraging modesty. Society is pushing the limits with the sexual exploitation of women and people have accepted it as if it is okay. This is exactly what Satan is trying to accomplish. You and I both know that men look upon women with lust. Much of it is done behind the veil of entertainment. Cheerleading, fashion, sports attire, dance, modeling, etc... The marketers and advertisers use sex as a tool. They draw attention to products via photos and videos of females of all ages in various forms of undressed and posing provocatively. I have studied this issue in depth and can send you information on it. There are many studies done on this. If one would not allow their daughter to dress or pose certain ways in church, they should keep the same standards at all times. The devil is coming, and he is sending his minions to do his dirty work. Those minions are males. Do not be offended. You know what I am saying is correct. I am not a threat against your daughter, but men in general are. Protect her by covering her with truth.”. The Preacher responded by stating the following, “These opinions could have been saved for when not addressing my daughters picture of something that I’m very proud of and something that she loves to do. I’m not feeling discomfort I was offended by you. Your first sentence should have been an apology.”
I obviously struck a nerve with my Christian friend, but I do not feel guilty about it. Yes, I acknowledge that I could have used a gentler approach, but I was so filled with disgust that I spoke bluntly. But I was far less blunt than I could have been. My mind was screaming out, “Do you realize how stupid you are for putting your daughter on display in this way? For what? Do you think it is ok to put her on display in exchange for some free photos that are being used to draw the attention of men to some hunting guide company? Are you okay with your daughter being exploited in that way? Are you yourself exploiting her for a few “Likes” on social media? Do you have any sense at all?”.
Of course, I did not actually address him in that way, but my upstanding Preacher friend still blocked me on Facebook after our exchange that bright Sunday morning as he prepared to speak the “inspired word of God” at his church. Although I regret the potential loss of friendship, I do not regret having stated what I did. The idea that anyone, let alone a Christian Preacher, would be okay with their daughter of any age being dressed scantily in public, and then posting photos of it on the internet because they are “proud”, is mind boggling to me. I am sure he has many reasons to be proud of his daughter, but that photo was purely focused on her physical attributes and nothing more. Yes, she may love to dance but that too is something that solely focuses on physical attributes as well. A person only dances to be seen. Some people’s daughters are “twerking” in videos on social media, and some are swinging around on a stripper pole in strip clubs. I wonder if my Preacher friend would be equally, or even more proud of that? I wanted to ask that “Man of God” if he would be okay with his daughter being on display in that same outfit, and in that same exact pose, while in front of his church that Sunday morning?
No, I do not believe that my Preacher friend would actually be okay with his daughter being dressed and posing like she was in the photo, while in front of his church. But I could be wrong. He was certainly being defensive about the whole ordeal. Afterall, he was proud enough of the photo to post it on the world wide web for any Tom, Dick, or Harry to gaze upon. Furthermore, Christians often have women doing “praise dances” in front of church congregations, while dressed in all sorts of questionable attire, so maybe my Christian friend would be perfectly fine with such an event taking place? This is why I am so thankful for Islam. No Muslims are not perfect, but Islam is. Islam guides people to honor women and teaches all human beings that modesty in appearance, words, and actions are important. It was important enough for me to address the issue with my Christian Preacher friend even though some may say that it was none of my business. On the contrary, it was my business indeed. It is all of our responsibility to do what is best for not only ourselves, but society as a whole. Raising children is a responsibility that falls upon us all. We are all setting examples for others even if we do not acknowledge that fact, and the way we help to set the right example for our children will reflect on all of our futures. This calls to mind the famous African proverb: ‘It takes a village to raise a child!’. We all have a part to play, and that is no small matter to play with. THINK
“Let there be a group among you who call others to goodness, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil—it is they who will be successful" Qur'an: Surah Al-Imran 3:104