My Wife was Judged by the Wife of Judge in Sweden

Last Saturday, we went shopping to a store called ‘Hongkong Trading’ in Stockholm. Among most favorite store for Stockholmers to buy Asian spices and ingredients. The owner and all the staffs are very nice that we always enjoy all of our single shopping experiences there, as well as living as Muslim international student in Sweden, until yesterday we met a particular Lady and my wife was “invited” to a judgmental yet full of lessons conversation.

Let’s see how it goes and how we learn from it.

Judge’s wife     : Är detta ditt barn?
My wife             : Jå, minna
Judge’s wife     : Hur gammal ar du?
My wife             : (she understood but could not immediately reply in Swedish) I am 25 going to be 26.
Judge’s wife     : Aah.. Do you know, Muslim people get married very early, they have child very early. Do you know why? It is because of your prophet Muhammad married at young age and he married young girl and people like you follow him. So, Muslim people get married early, especially girls.
My wife             : No, that’s not true. In Indonesia it’s not the case. It is my decision to marry early..
Judge’s wife     : (without giving chance for my wife to finish her answer) But you married very early! Do you work?! Do you have a job?! Do you even have a college degree?!
My wife             : I spent 7 years studying abroad. (Italy, Japan, Belgium, Sweden)
Judge’s wife     : Where did you study?
My wife             : I graduated from Japan.
Judge’s wife     : Hmm.. (she wanted to leave but still looked unsatisfied, staring at my wife and         continue) What did you study?
My wife            : Health environment and life science.
Judge’s wife     : You know, I came to this country, I studied, I learned the language and got myself a job and I work. And I eventually married a judge here in Sweden!! So my husband is a judge here in Sweden.
My wife             : O, that’s wonderful! (As Indonesian we are taught to respect old people regardless the religion and profession)
Judge’s wife     : (she turned around and about to leave but delayed and continued) And we sent all our children to Oxfords. Three of them are in Oxford!
My wife             : O, we are planning to go to Harvard.
Judge’s wife     : (looked unhappy with the response and left my wife alone)

Okay, I am sure those who are educated enough will see this is as a silly conversation and can recognize that the lady thesis in saying prophet Muhammad is responsible for Muslim female age at first marriage is not true.

So what is the truth? Don’t worry, my Professor in Global Health at Karolinska Institutet, Hans Rosling has developed GapMinder, the most powerful tool to help even the layman in understanding statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels. Here we can visualize diagram explaining the determinant of mean of female age at first marriage (click here) or visit www.bit.ly/9ubULD

Untitled

while this explains the determinant of mean of female participation in education at reproductive age (click here) or visit www.bit.ly/muxv9L

female education and reproductive age

Yes, the mean female age at first marriage and mean female participation in education at reproductive age corresponds with the income of a population not with religion! If you don’t like diagrams, this wonderful video will explain alike

And now let’s begin with lesson learnt from the aunty who self-proclaimed herself as a Swedish judge’s wife who committed extreme logical fallacy. I humbly invite you to see her list of her logical flaws (in bold) so that next time we can have better judgement to any person (if we need to) in this global world.

She suddenly came to my wife and immediately started asking personal question (without offering to have a sit and any cup of tea) and at the same time started making illusional judgement only after a very limited observation within very short amount of time.

Judge’s wife     : Är detta ditt barn?
My wife             : Jå, minna
Judge’s wife     : Hur gammal ar du?
My wife             : (she understood but could not immediately reply in Swedish) I am 25 going to be 26.

Judge’s wife     : Aah.. Do you know, Muslim people get married very early, they have child very early. Do you know why? It is because of your prophet Muhammad married at young age and he married young girl and people like you follow him. So, Muslim people get married early, especially girls.

My wife             : No, that’s not true. In Indonesia it’s not the case. It is my decision to marry early..

  1. Swedish Judge’s wife misrepresenting things to make it easier to judge and to attack my wife. She could have thought my wife is from somewhere in Central Asia or Middle East (many times people think my wife from Turkey or even Kazakhstan). She misrepresented my wife as one fixed representative of entire Muslim female who marry early while the fact we know many Muslim female don’t marry early.
Country Majority of Religion Age of first marriage of female
Libya Islam 31.2
Algeria Islam 29.5
Tunisia Islam 28.7
Lebanon Islam 28.3
Kuwait Islam 27.5
Marocco Islam 26.4
Qatar Islam 25.4
UAE Islam 25.3
Brunei Darussalam Islam 25
Moldova Orthodox 23.7
Haiti Catholic 22.7
Burundi Catholic 21.3
Dominican Republic Catholic 20.3
Cambodia Buddhist 22.8
Guatemala Catholic Catholic 20.3
Honduras Catholic Catholic 20.4
Cameroon indigenous and Christian 19.7
Kenya Christian 19.8
Ethiopia Ethiopian Orthodox 19.6
Congo DR Catholic Catholic 20.2
Eritrea N.A 20.6
Benin Catholic Catholic 20.3
India Hindu 19.9
Nepal Hindu 20.1

To me, her biggest mistake was to judge my wife by seeing my wife as a pure representative for the entire Muslim women when she didn’t know exactly where we are from and what contributing factors that make women marry early in our setting, Indonesia. Oh my, hasn’t his lovely husband treat her package tour to Indonesia and get to know how Indonesian live? Indonesians are very friendly and open even we possibly explain to others why we married and we ask such question to others too! I am serious, it’s not a joke! Please kindly find out our story by clicking here.

Flag-Pins-Sweden-Indonesia

  1. She attacked her opponents’ character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine arguments. She has been living in Europe, she must understood very well how vulnerable and angry Muslim people could be to know their prophet Muhammad being blamed for something. She has also aspire millions of trick to make Muslim people sad, mad and feel even bad about themselves as well as shoulder responsibility for bad things happening in the world.

 

Madame, with all respect, unfortunately your trick is not working for my wife; we know Muhammad married a 40 years old widow at his first marriage and know the reason why he married one young girl, Aisha. So, what you say is only a lie we won’t buy. Even this kind of lie is used by irresponsible men to marry younger wife in Indonesia. So Madame, let me tell you, you are not alone, please come to Indonesia and talk more with us.

 

  1. She presumed that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one cause another. She thinks the fact that we follow Muhammad has a fixed causational relationship with the fact that we marry early which is not true. We know Muslim may come from any country in the world and that they reason to marry early or not is determined by many factors. She failed to recognize what are the marriage determinants of this world population.
  1. She believed that what is true about one part of something has to be applied to all, or other parts of it. It is partially true Muhammad married one young girl, Aisha (16) but only when he was 40 and we know the reason why he married her. At his first marriage, when he was 25, he married a 40 years old widow. It is however not perceived by many people as the cause of young men marrying old women. Why? Because it’s less sexy and not triggering conflict. The lady, who is very contrary to real Swedish I learned to know and read about, only wants to bring up statement that will trigger more debate.
  1. She judged something good or bad on the basis of where it comes from, or from whom it comes. It’s pretty clear isn’t it? Yeah, we all know, some people will only see Prophet Muhammad as the bad guy and put all the blame on him to feed one’s ego even though there are plenty great testimony about him from great world leader.

***
Judge’s wife     : (without giving chance for my wife to finish her answer) But you married very early! Do you work?! Do you have a job?! Do you even have a college degree?!

  1. She was asserting if we allow A to happen then Z will consequently happen too. She implied that since my wife married early and have children early my wife must have no job neither education. Therefore my wife ought to receive a mini-lecture about not having marriage at her early age (my wife has a baby face- she always feel flattered to be offered a cheaper SL card deal for under age price).
  1. She asked a question that has an assumption built into it so that it can’t be answered without appearing guilty. But it was a big failure, it will only work if my wife doesn’t have a degree. And the fact is that my wife had a degree!!!

***
My wife             : I spent 7 years studying abroad.
Judge’s wife     : (look shocked) Where?
My wife             : I graduated from Japan.

  1. She seems to be very black and white. She was shock to find out my wife studied abroad for 7 years and graduated from Japan. I assumed that she might think “how come a young Muslim mother could have earned degree in Japan?” therefore she was curious to death about my wife education and continuing asking what my wife had studied.

Please let me kindly inform you Madame, my wife graduated from high-school when she was 16, 2 years earlier than she supposed to do because she enrolled twice acceleration program limited for intelligent student. She got her bachelor degree from Ritsumeikan-Asia Pacific University Japan with a full merit-based scholarship. One of reasons why she is not eligible for master scholarship from other developed countries though she had been offered a place at Karolinska Institutet, Nottingham University, Twente University, Mannheim Universität. I always motivate her to apply different master programme and scholarship yet her ineligibility to get one mostly due to the fact that she had her bachelor degree in high income countries which is more political matters.

***

Judge’s wife     : Hmm.. (she wanted to leave but still looked unsatisfied, staring at my wife and         continue) What did you study?
My wife             : Health environmental and life science.

  1. She avoided to engage deeper with opponent by being more critical every time she received an answer. After she had been answered that my wife graduated from Japan, she seems could not believe it and ask for other question. O Madame, should my wife bring her degree certificate, TOEFL, GRE score, list of referees and recommendations  to prove she has good qualification?

***

Judge’s wife     : You know, I came to this country, I studied, I learned the language and got myself a job and I work. And I eventually married a judge here in Sweden!! So my husband is a judge here in Sweden.
My wife            : O, that’s wonderful! (As Indonesian we are taught to respect old people regardless the religion and profession)

  1. She used opinion or position of an authority figure, or institution, in the place of her actual argument. She is in a very critical position, all of her interrogative questions get right answer from my wife. Here, she started to put more bullets. Using her husband!!!

We are very happy to live in Sweden and get funded by Swedish government to get educated and therefore be empowered here. Just like the wife of the Swedish judge. I am very grateful she got a good skill to communicate here as we can see how good my wife can reply her question and how the Judge’s wife felt that she was empowered enough to judge my wife. In this case perhaps the Swedish immigration board did their job successfully that some immigrants became too empowered. She even brought her husband court to the Asian store during a casual grocery shopping time. Can you imagine their living situation at home? You know, it is always said, “behind every successful Man, there is a great woman”.

  1. She used personal experience or an isolated example instead of a valid argument, especially to dismiss statistics.

***

Judge’s wife     : (she turned around and about to leave but delayed and continued) And we sent all our children to Oxfords. Three of them are in Oxford!
My wife             : O, we are planning to go to Harvard.
Judge’s wife     : (looked unhappy with the response and left my wife alone)

Here, we know she failed and my wife win. She even brought her kids to the Asian store! Upps, I mean to her court!

I love you my wife, I know as a husband I must protect you, but as an Indonesian Muslim female, you are educated and therefore you are empowered enough to encounter such situation.

After all, my wife and I were born and grown as Muslim in Indonesia. Though we have seen, learn and experience many things (being thought I wasn’t Muslim because I smile a lot in Netherland, had this experience in Sweden, being thrown with ice blocks in Belgian campus and insulted in Brussels Carrefour store), know beautiful people with different culture and live in different countries (Netherland, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden), it doesn’t change both of our love to Europe and our decision to practice our religion. Beautiful surprises as Muslim living in Europe still dominates. Even my wife decided to wear head cover after our visit to Paris, having a long great discussion with former Atheist and witnessing Jewish-Muslim relation history in Paris.

What the the Lady did was possibly an iceberg phenomenon. If one person could have said her judgment like yesterday, it could be hundreds of them having it in their head. Yet, their act is not necessarily representing who they are and the rest of people in Europe. They are not evil person, they may have been victims of media or even their own experience that they try to project it to others.

Since she immigrated to Sweden and married Swedish judge, she might have been through tough settlement process though we all know Sweden always has the best reputation for treating immigrant very well. She also gave us a lesson to learn that socio-economic and education status doesn’t necessarily assure rationality. In daily setting, we tend to produce bias thought that many times is led by unwise and not objective thinking process.

As a Muslim we both learned that humans are assigned to make the world better place to live in for everyone, regardless the religion. Which is one of reason my wife studies sustainable development and I study Global Health, here in Sweden. As part of global society, we need to see global phenomenon with global (broad) perspectives. Only by doing so, we’ll be able to understand the world clearer and to treat each other better-we, like everyone else, dream of a peaceful world.

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in
the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things) (Q.S. Al Hujurat: 13)

If you are still curious to know why we marry early? Please kindly click here.

We also like to know and learn from new people. To learn about us, simply view our educational and career background video down here
Cultural Understanding Towards Peace and Sustainable World:

Education for Sustainable Development: Act Locally, Impact Globally:

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