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Atheist Mom Accuses Her Muslim Husband Of ‘Manipulating’ Their Daughter Into Being Religious

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Redditor aitathrowaway0941 is a Muslim husband and father who is married to a woman who does not practice any religion.

They had both agreed not to let his faith interfere with their marriage.

But things changed when their daughter was born.

As their child grew older, the parents suddenly found themselves at odds with each other over the very thing they initially agreed not to let come between them.

After an accusation was made, he visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA For ‘manipulating’ my daughter to be religious?”

The Original Poster (OP) started by talking about his marriage.

“My wife and I have been married for 10 years now. Despite our different views of the world (she’s an atheist while I am a Muslim), we didn’t let religion interfere with our relationship.”

“Ever since my daughter was born, we both agreed that we will not be forcing my daughter to follow my religion but to still teach her about it and if she likes it she is free to follow it.”

“I have been doing just that, I never forced my daughter to follow my religion but I still taught her about it. My daughter unsurprisingly already loves the religion and is even ready to wear a hijab but my wife is angered by it because she believes I ‘manipulated’ her to follow it when I did not.” </em

“The reason she believes this is because whenever she memorizes verses from the book (Quran) or prays I always buy her gifts to show her that I appreciate what she’s doing.”

“It’s not the first time we had arguments about this but it got much more serious now. I don’t think what I am doing is manipulation but my wife heavily disagrees and is really angry at me. What do you guys think? AITA here?”

Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors did not look upon the OP favorably for encouraging his daughter with rewards.

“YTA How would you feel if instead of you giving her gifts for memorizing verses, your wife punished her for memorizing verses? It’s basically the same thing.”

“You are manipulating her behavior through a rewards system, not through an actual understanding of the faith which she is obviously too young to understand anyway.” – jephistopheles

“YTA. You know it’s going to encourage a specific behaviour, which is why you do it. You’re trying to go around the ‘rules’ you agreed to regarding the raising of the kid, and your wife is right to be upset by it.”

“Imagine your wife buys the kid one of Dawkins books and gifts every time she reads it, wouldn’t you see that as encouraging atheism?”

“It’s not about raising the kid in religion or not, it’s about the agreement with your wife that you’re trying to circumvent.” – cyfermax

“YTA.”

“It’s the same as giving your dog treats when they follow your rule of no couch or no barking. I’m sorry for being crude but that’s what it is. You have trained your daughter to follow the religion. That is why you find it unsurprising.” – ConfusedFanGirl0502

“YTA. The kid was inevitably going to let either one, or both of you down, once the was old enough to decide on what she herself believed.”

“Telling her about your beliefs and the practices that go with it, is absolutely fine.”

“Where you went wrong though, is by not letting her experience memorizing the Quran and deciding if it is for her (whether or not it gives her a spiritual reward, so to speak), but instead making it something she can do to gain material things.”

“Do you really expect her to stick to her muslim faith once she no longer receives compensation for it?”

“To put it bluntly, you didn’t pass on your faith, you have hired her to be a muslim. That is not what faith is about and you know it.” – TheOldPetrillo

“YTA – how would you feel if your wife started buying your child gifts for actively not pursuing religion? Like ‘hey, if you drop praying, I will buy you a new gift every day you don’t.'”

“It’s behaviourism, and teaching on the same level you teach a pet to behave by unconciously supporting good behaviour and relating it to recieving ‘treats.'” – Skullerud

“Op sounds manipulative enough to hold the purse strings in his household. There is no way an honest, empathetic person can agree not to force religion on a kid with a ‘partner’ and then go all surprise pikachu when called out for bribing a child into fanaticism.”

“Edit: OP YTA” – Cantioy87

“YTA – obviously purchasing a child gifts to entice them to participate in a particular activity is manipulation.”

“Non manipulative would be to teach her ‘daddy’s religious says X’ or ‘daddy believes…’ Even something like ‘this one true religion says X’ or ‘daddy knows…’ could be a method of manipulation as phrasing matters so very much in allowing choice in children.”

“But what you are doing is essentially bribing your daughter to comply with your religious beliefs. Not only are you manipulating her, but children who have been manipulated into religion are the most likely to reject it as adults.”

“So this may feel good now, but it’s likely to backfire, and big.” – Alert-Potato

In response to all the pushback, the OP edited his post, saying that he encountered unpleasant conversations in the thread.

“Apologies for not being very active in this thread, I admit that I haven’t read all comments yet but I will make an effort to do so. I was active on dms though and I have already discussed with people about it.”

“Unfortunately I also wasted some time arguing with some Islamophobes in the comments and dms (I am sure I will get even more now considering the fact that this post was crossposted on atheism and feminism) rather then using that time to reply to other people.”

He added that he and his wife made an agreement on how to proceed.

“Anyways here is a mini update.”

“So I apologized and talked to my wife about it and we both agreed to have a discussion with my daughter about whether she is actually ready to wear a hijab or not (we will tell her that she’s going to get the phone either way) and we will see how this turns out.”

“Also, many people told me that I should be teaching my daughter about more religions and not just mine. I am doing that actually and even encourage her to research more on her own but there will obviously be a bias when talking about mine no matter how much I try not to be.”

The YTA judgment still prevailed, even after the OP’s update.

“YTA do you really think that buying her A WHOLE A** PHONE for memorizing Quran verses isn’t manipulative?? I thought maybe you rewarded her with dessert or something else small, but a phone???”

“Come on now, you know as soon as the rewards stop she’s not going to care about faith anymore.” – freaknotthink

“YTA, oh my god you’re such an a**hole. When she mentions she’ll wear a hijab you buy her a phone?”

“That’s not her making her own choices that’s bribery. Bribery is also a major sin in Islam so not sure what you’re teaching her there.” – Sapper_A

There has been no further update as to how the OP and his wife’s conversation went with their daughter.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1