As a Muslim woman I was never fearful in Britain. But today I’m afraid
Video     Photos     Pakistan     World     Islam     Health     Crime     Islamic News     Business     Society     India     Travel     Middle East     Sport     sci/tech      Contact      RSS
Search

Egypt gives Hamas ultimatum to stop flying kites into Israel

Sleeping with extremists: ASWJ announces support to ex-PM Abbasi for July 25 elections

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by nine wickets in third ODI, clinch series

Textbooks — the real culprit

Could Sharif buy flats fairly in early 90s?

Iran, Pakistan to jointly produce defense equipment: Top general

Putin presents Trump World Cup football made in Pakistan

The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible

Dawn's CEO Hameed Haroon admits Dawn leaks issue was an international agenda

PTI leader meets ex-chief of banned outfit for votes

Why didn't Shahbaz Sharif reach to airport: The story of a secrete deal

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman: negotiations with Israel ‘a joke’

Pakistani Student Stabbed to Death in China

Two contentious decisions see Croatia crumble when it mattered most

A new face from Nawaz's dynasty: PML-N consider launching Maryam’s son

PML-N's Sheikh Aftab escapes assassination attempt in Attock

Inside Story: What happened to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz at airport

Nawaz Sharif: Delusions of Grandeur

Pak-Iran improving military ties: A message to US and Israel

35k families displaced by Saudi attacks on Hudaydah: UN

US ready for direct talks with Afghan Taliban: Top cmdr.

Pakistani police open criminal cases against 17,000 members of ex-premier's party

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by nine wickets in second ODI

Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People to Recognize Failure of 16-Year War

Pakistan, Iran army chiefs discuss peace, security issues

Sharif Saga: End of kleptocrats & thugs?

Will Interpol heed red warrant for Ishaq Dar?

Silence on recent bloodbath shows that 'mainstreaming' of radicalised outfits is a doomed plan

Who killed Haroon Bilour: A new story evolves

Saudi Awakening Movement leader arrested for opposing US troops in KSA

Iranian military chief to visit Pakistan soon on counterpart’s invitation

Emirati prince hiding in Qatar accuses UAE rulers of blackmail and corruption

France snatch World Cup glory from Croatia to win second title

China’s Sinopec will continue to buy Iranian oil

Diverting Iranian flights to Najaf to Baghdad

Elections under the threat of terrorism

Waseem floors Mthalane but loses world title via decision

Political campaign under threat: Who is the next target of terrorists?

Russia rejects Israeli call to keep Iranian advisors away from Golan

PML-N leadership booked for terrorism

Family meets Nawaz, Maryam at Adiala jail

Belgium claim 3rd spot at World Cup 2018, beat England 2-0

A matter of growing insecurities: Terror during elections

Maryam Nawaz goes to jail in Gucci

US, Iran Clash in Hormuz Strait: Not an Improbable Scenario

Croatian president can’t wait for final

USA enhances its support to Pakistan in educational sector

Would TLP a major stake holder in the elections?

Trial of remaining NAB references against Sharif family to take place in Adiala Jail

What Nawaz Sharif's Return to Pakistan Means for the Country's Politics

Turkey to sell 30 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan in major military export deal

A deadliest attack: 128 perish as savage attack on Mastung rally stuns nation

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz likely to be shifted in Adiala Jail

Nawaz, Maryam taken into custody at Lahore airport, passports confiscated

Nawaz Sharif lands at Lahore airport will be arrested shortly

Imam and Khan propel Pakistan to crushing victory over Zimbabwe

Mastaung Blast: Death toll mounts to 90, More than 200 wounded

Blast targets convoy of JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani, 4 killed

BAP candidate Nawab Siraj Raisani, 19 others killed in Mastung blast

Bilour’s Assassination: Is TTP trying to reassert itself after Fazlullah’s execution?

Fear of Khalistan: India demands UK to disallow Social Justice meet

Pakistan hosts spy chiefs from Russia, China, Iran

The return of Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam in UAE, to reach Lahore by 6:15pm

World Cup final odds, lines: France the favorite to win it all over Croatia on Sunday

London police take Nawaz Sharif's grandsons into custody

Yemeni forces shoot down Saudi jet in Asir: Ministry

“Harf Kaar” App Lets You Correct Grammatical Mistakes in Urdu Language

Qatar funding pro-Israel US organisations

Beheading increases 70% in Saudi Arabia

Would Pakistan Supreme Court extend accountability to Ex-General?

Shrouded mystery: What was the secrete message Nawaz Sharif ignored?

Reham Khan book published online

Would Zardari play on front foot after Lawai's arrest?

Prison or gallows, I won’t stop, says Nawaz

US softens stance on Iran sanctions amid warnings

Croatia heads to its first World Cup final after beating England 2-1

Ministry asks NAB to probe corruption in Rs3b education project

Reuters: Saudi coalition has reached a dead point in Al-Hudaydah

The nightmare of terrorism: Is TTP back?

Petition seeking disqualification of ASWJ ringleader Ludhianvi referred to Chief Justice

Ishaq Dar seeks political asylum in UK: report

Who makes Cheemas and Fawads?

Is Pakistan serious to pursue Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project?

Nawaz, Maryam to be arrested at Lahore airport on arrival, flown to Islamabad: sources

France reach World Cup final as Belgium's golden generation falls short again

ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast

Israel supplied Saudi Arabia with internationally banned weapons

PICTURE: Capt (r) Safdar hid in a cave to avoid NAB arrest

Under attack: Who is threatening Nawaz Sharif?

France v Belgium: World Cup semi-final, European battle of world stars

Less than 56% Children in Pakistan go to Schools: Report

Zardari under mega corruption scandal: Laundered amount may go up to Rs70 bn

ECP seeks clarification from Ludhianvi for hate speech against Shias

NACTA confirms Imran Khan's life under threat

Qatar, UAE to join US war in Afghanistan

Doubts if Saudis can replace lost Iranian barrels

Top Israeli security expert warns against war with Iran

Pakistan launches first ever remote sensing satellite in China

A murky business: Is Zardari next?

2015-12-01 20:59:49

As a Muslim woman I was never fearful in Britain. But today I’m afraid

1665SHAFAQNA – I have despaired at much of what I have seen and heard over the past 15 years. There was a time when people asked me quite frequently whether I was pro al-Qaida; whether I thought the 9/11 attacks and the 7/7 bombings were a good thing. I thought it was a bit offensive to ask that, but I was only in my early 20s and I reasoned that at least they were asking rather than assuming I was sympathetic to hateful ideology.

Time moves on, however, and no one ever asked me if I thought the butchering of Lee Rigby was good or what I thought of Charlie Hebdo, or Boko Haram or the atrocities of Islamic State across the world. I suppose that’s progress, but it doesn’t feel like progress in the grand scheme of things.

How do I … respond when I see racial abuse in public?

The fact is that over the past few years, I have felt increasingly ill at ease. This is what it’s like each time I hear of yet another atrocity. First, there is always horror, and a hope – a fervent hope – that the perpetrators do not consider themselves Muslim. Then I detest myself for hoping that, but I know if they do claim to be Muslim, the backlash will be terrible. It frightens me.

Next, I feel I have a duty to distance Islam from the acts of supposed Muslims. I resent feeling I have to do so; to “out” my faith as non-violent. I am tired of defending my belief system and myself. I have committed no crimes.

And though I am awed at the outpouring of grief – at the solidarity with those whose safety and way of life has been so cruelly violated – I wonder why we rarely see similar outpourings when atrocities are conducted in non-western countries. I become angry, but then I worry that this anger, while understandable and valid, is dangerous and divisive. I worry about the impact on me.

Since the Paris attacks I have been more frightened than ever. There has been a 300% increase in reported Islamophobic attacks. A number of Islamic centres, including the Finsbury Park mosque, have been targeted in arson attacks. This is against a backdrop of videos of verbal and physical Islamophobic attacks on public transport – and it is notable that, while people are happy to film these incidents, few appear keen to step in and assist.

And last week’s headline in the Sun, that one in five British Muslims have “sympathy for jihadis” – a fearmongering distortion based on questionable research – has done nothing to make Muslims feel safe or supported. It is certainly not the case that everyone is out to attack us, but we cannot be blamed for feeling frightened.

I’m a Muslim female of small stature. I use public transport to get everywhere. I often come home late. I wear the hijab. I am an easy target. But I have never, aside from one incident where a man called me “fucking scum” and then left me alone, had any trouble. I mean, I think a boy on the bus called me “clothhead” circa 1999, but we can hardly count that.

In fact, sometimes I am amazed that I have never had a torrent of abuse thrown at me or been beaten up – yet.

Because this run of good luck can’t last for ever, can it? One day it simply has to run out. People who look like me and speak like me are being given hell every day and I am not. And what if, one day, it is me? I doubt a full and frank theological discussion will dissuade my abuser. What am I going to say – “Actually, I’m a liberal, secular Shia, and Isis hate me probably more than they hate you, so let’s be friends”? Hardly. And I’m not the sort to inflame a situation by hurling insults back, so I’d have to sit there and take it.

It feels terrible to write those words. And if, one day, it becomes more threatening than that, I don’t have the physical strength to fight off anyone who assaults me. And if I ran I wouldn’t get very far. I’d have no chance.

I have never in my life been as aware of my Muslimness as I am now. I have never been fearful. I have lived in Britain all my life and it is my home and I love it, but now I am frightened of things that only a short time ago would have caused me no discomfort at all.

I roam around London, my home city, in a constant state of high alert; hyper-aware of a look or a person walking behind me. I have been wearing the hijab for 20 years and it has never hindered me. But in the past few days I have, for the first time, had fleeting thoughts about taking it off. I have no intention of doing it, but that’s what things have come to. My visibility puts me at risk, and a small part of me thinks that the only way to survive is to deny that I’m Muslim.

In almost 10 years of working in mental health, with often violent, dangerous, desperately unwell people, I have never had any trouble because of my faith. But now I am waiting for the day a patient refuses to work with me, or does worse, because I am Muslim.

Some time ago an old friend said to me: “It won’t always be Muslims who are the enemy. One day it will be someone else. One day it will be different and it will be easier.”

At the time I nodded along. But now I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that it will get better; that there will be a day when people like me are not the enemy. Why should I? Look at the state we’re in. Look at the government’s anti-terror strategy, which puts us all under suspicion. Look at the continued conflict in the Middle East.

So is this how it is to be? Discredited by the media and politicians; being told my way of life is “dangerous”; being thrown off planes as a “security measure”; being told that people like me are not wanted?

My family came here because their lives were threatened in their own land; where am I supposed to go? How am I supposed to live like that? How are any of us supposed to live like that?

You cannot fully understand unless it is your reality too. You cannot understand the helplessness and the rage I feel when I hear my bright, sensitive, gentle 11-year-old nephew has had to deflect racist and Islamophobic comments from his ignorant schoolmates.

I am terrified for the world my sister’s children are going to have to live in; for all those at the mercy of people who spread hate and promote aggression. I wish that Isis were the only enemy in that regard. Sadly, Isis is simply the tip of the iceberg, which is showing no sign of shrinking.

 

Categories:   World ، Society ،
From other agencies (RSS Reader)