Interview with Joanna Francis
… an inspirational individual who has been inspiring women across the globe and across religions
By Mahvish Akhtar, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Q1. Tell me a little bit about yourselfâ€¦your background.
Iâ€™m a Catholic American woman who was raised mainly by a single mother with three older brothers. I attended Catholic schools but graduated from a state university.
Q2. How did you come to be so involved with Muslim causes?
I became interested in Muslims issues after September 11, 2001, as did many Americans, because I wanted to find out why they hated Americans so much that they would kill us in such a horrible and cruel manner. What I discovered, among many other things, was that Muslims had a legitimate grievance against my country because of our bias support of Israel against the Palestinians. I never understood the real issue surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian issue, since our media is controlled by Zionists. I realized that we Americans were being manipulated into hating Muslims so that we would fight Israelâ€™s enemies in the Middle East. By the way, in my research into the events surrounding 9/11, I have concluded that 9/11 was an inside job, perpetrated by people loyal toIsrael inside our government; most likely aided by Israeli Mossad agents. Americans are as much victims of the Zionists as the Palestinians are; only the Palestinians know very clearly who their enemies are, while most Americans have been fooled into believing the Muslims are our enemies.
Q3. How do you feel women can contribute in helping the situation of the world?
Women can contribute to the situation in the world in many different ways. The first and most obvious manner is by raising children who believe in truth and justice for all, and by instilling in our children respect for human rights of all peoples in this world. While I still believe that womenâ€™s greatest role is motherhood, I also believe that women can be active in the professional world if that is what they choose. I believe women have the right to an education and that no woman should ever have to accept physical or psychological abuse. But I think many women choose to have a career outside the home for the wrong reasons, perhaps to feel more modern or sophisticated, and unfortunately, their children are neglected. Itâ€™s a delicate balance, but I believe that raising the next generation to stand for peace and justice is the most noble contribution women can make to the world.Motherhood is a great blessing. Too many modern women forget this. Q4. How did you get to know so much about Islam and Muslim Women?As I mentioned earlier, I began researching the Islamic world after 9/11 and I discovered that most of what we had been brainwashed into believing aboutMuslims was not true. I also took the time to speak with Muslim Americans about their views on politics and their opinions about wearing hijab, for example, and was surprised that most of the Muslim women with whom I spoke actually enjoyed wearing hijab and felt it was an honor and mark of respect. I began to admire their modesty and self-respect and I realized that any culture in which women are modest and traditional is set up by Zionists to be liberalized. But not for the benefit of the women as they say. Rather, to corrupt them and ultimately destroy their culture and society. Breaking up the family is the surest way to ruin a society, and convincing women to become sexually promiscuous is not in the womenâ€™s best interest.
Q5. Do you feel that Muslim women play a strong role in our communitiesâ€¦where ever they might be?
I believe that in most societies, even societies that are labeled patriarchal, the women are truly the head of the family. They have the greatest influence over the children, and although the men may officially be the head of the family, women have always known how to direct things in the manner that is best for the whole family. As my mother once told me when I was a child: the smart woman lets the man think heâ€™s the head of the household! Iâ€™m sure Muslim women are the same way. They are the heart and soul of their families.
Q6. How do you define modernism verses oppression in regards to women?
Modernism and oppression are two extremes. If by modernism you mean what we have in the West, then I reject modernism. Feminism as it has been practiced in the West since the 1960s has been most destructive for women. The feminists pretended to want to liberate women from their roles as wives and mothers and let them be free to work, have their own homes, and be sexually liberal. But the truth is that these things do not bring happiness to a woman. A woman can only be truly fulfilled in her role as wife and mother. She can also have a successful career, but ask any career woman who has no children of her own, and she will tell you that she would trade all of her professional success to have even one child. Oppression is the opposite extreme, in which women have no rights. A healthy balance is best for women and for society in general.
Q7. Most people today see the West namely United States as modern and free and many Muslims urge Muslim women to adapt their waysâ€¦what would you say to those people?
I would strongly encourage Muslim women to continue to wear hijab. They can be modern in the sense that they attend university and have careers, but the moment they become seduced into losing their modesty, the evil ones have already started to win them over. At first it seems innocent enough. Just dress a little bit more revealingly and be more like women in the West. Then they will start to seduce you more and more with the idea of loosening your sexual morality, then comes abortion and promiscuity. All of this leads to misery for women. Women are safest and happiest when they dress modestly and keep their sexuality only for their husbands.
Q8. What is the first thing about American women that you would like to change or fix?
The first thing I would like to fix about American women is exactly what I described above. I look at old photographs of women of my grandmotherâ€™s generation and I can see that they wore long, beautiful dresses. They did not wear veils, but they definitely did not wear short skirts or show their legs in any way. Then I look at pictures of the 1960s and see that women first started to wear short skirts and much more revealing clothing and that is when the divorce rates increased (now 50% in the U.S.), abortions increased, and it became impossible for women to earn the love of a man without sex. My advice to American women is to dress modestly and do not have sexual relations until theyâ€™re married. If a man does not love her enough to wait, then he is not worthy of her. Modesty, modesty, modesty!
Q9. What similarities do you find between Muslim women and Christian women?
The similarities between Muslim woman and Christian women are that we are all women so we have the same emotions, with a deep capacity to love, and also a deep capacity to be hurt. That is why it is necessary for women to protect themselves emotionally by being modest. This sends the message to men they we are not sexual toys and reinforces within ourselves the idea that we are worthy of respect and honor based on who we are and not on how we look. Both our religions are very traditional in terms of sexual morality and the roles of men and women, but since the West has been corrupted, itâ€™s hard to find Christian women who realize that being immodest is actually un-Christian. I think veils are very beautiful and innocent and I admire Muslim women who wear them with pride.
Q10. Do you think that things will change one day for women? Will we ever get out of male oppression as a whole?
As I mentioned earlier, it is necessary to strike a balance between modernism and oppression. Both are extremes, and, ironically, modernism is just a different form of oppression of women. Instead of women being oppressed by men by not being allowed out of the house for example, modernism oppresses women by making us lonely, sexually abused slaves with no children. We can find the right balance, but it will require women remaining modest while fighting for rights such as education and freedom from domestic abuse. Donâ€™t go too far and listen to the Western feminists, most of whom are not Christians by the way. They are liars
Q11. Who has been a great influence in your life?
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a great influence on me. Obviously, she wore a veil as a Catholic nun! But it was her great love of all humanity and especially the poor that had such an impact on me. I actually thought of becoming a nun like her but I did not think that was what God was calling me to do. Maybe God is calling me to warn other women not to make the mistakes we women in the West have made. I know from experience that the sexual freedom promised by the liars is the worst form of slavery. Mother Teresa would have agreed.