I usually steer away from topics such as this on my blog and stick to the ‘safe’ parenting posts, reviews and days out as I want to keep the blog my happy little place. However, some things are just too important to not discuss…and one of these is how I, as a visible Muslim woman, feel about the recent terror attacks that have been done in the name of Islam.
I have experienced slight racism over the years..and more recently since I have started wearing hijab. I have been called ‘Paki’ and told to ‘go back home’. This is home; I have spent 9 years of my life working with the Citizens Advice Bureau and helping those less fortunate…. but that doesn’t stop me being verbally abused. Thankfully I have escaped physical violence…..so far.
Although I was born and bred in the UK and this is my home, if I am being honest it is often NOT feeling like home these days. Especially since there was an attack against a Muslim women in front of her young daughter, where she was shoved and her hijab pulled off…this happened in my home town.
Every time I hear of an attack in the west my initial thought is “Oh God please no…don’t let it be one of these so called Muslims’, although knowing it more than likely will be. Even if it doesn’t happen in the UK you know that there will be a backlash against the innocent Muslims, especially since Brexit as that seems to have given a green light to some to abuse those who are not like ‘them’.
But then the attacks happened in the UK….and that is really when the fear kicked in.
Women having hijabs pulled off….attacks to mosques…and now even more horrifying are the acid attacks.
How does all this make me feel?
Sad and frightened. Sad that my religion is being used to justify these attacks and frightened of the repercussions to the majority of Muslims who are innocent. Sad that people lump us all together and demand we apologise and say we need to condemn it.
I have always been independent. As my husband works long hours I pretty much deal with everything, running errands, dealing with workmen etc etc. However I have recently been thinking twice before doing anything. I’ve been arranging appointments when I know there is someone to go with me, making sure there is someone free to go shopping with me….and I have been avoiding going out unnecessarily. But I realise that this is allowing them to win.
Some will say maybe I am over reacting…but right now there IS an atmosphere of fear and anger, of suspicion and uncertainty. And all this has allowed the cowards a reason to attack vulnerable muslim women.
The fear isn’t always for myself, I can easily stand up for myself and give as good as I get – the fear is for my daughters. These cowards do not care if they hurt young children in the process….and I will do anything to protect my girls as much as I can from any prejudice and hate. All I can do is make them strong girls, make them tolerant, try to explain to them this current hate towards Muslims….and have faith in Allah (swt).
And finally the other thing that upsets me? When the attacks are done by the so called Muslim’s my whole newsfeed on Facebook and my timeline on Instagram is full of articles about what happened. People changing their profile pictures in solidarity……posts on Instagram saying how sad they are and they don’t feel like posting much as their hearts are hurting. But when the attacks are done against Muslims…for example the attack on the mosque…the numerous acid attacks, I barely hear a word except mainly from the Muslims themselves. And you know what? That hurts the most. As if Muslim’s lives are worth less than others.
If you are a victim of a hate crime then do make sure you report it. And do report it to Tell Mama an independent, non-governmental organisation which works on tackling anti-Muslim hatred.
I asked a few fellow bloggers about how the recent attacks were making them feel. Here is what they had to say.
The recent attacks have made me so concerned for our safety. As women who wear hijabs, I feel a little like we’re walking around with a bullseye on our heads. The callousness of it all – particularly the recent acid attacks – are so worrying to me especially given that I almost always have the kids with me and anything that happens to me/ is targeted at me, is likely to affect them too. We’re making sure we read our dua’as for protection before we leave the house and leaving the rest in Allah’s hands. I pray all our brothers and sisters and communities stay safe in these troubling times inshaAllah.
Iman from And Then She Said
I don’t have much to say, but what I will say is I am petrified to even visit my homeland these days! Until recently I have always desired to move back home to the UK, but not anymore. Not right now anyway. I’m even scared to visit my family there. (anon)
At first when these horrendous, misguided attacks started in the UK (and abroad) I thought subhanAllah, I’m not scared and any Muslims that are must have some weakness in their faith. Little did I know I myself would fall victim to an unprovoked verbal attack in my local park by a group of drunk white men. I’ve lived in my area for over 10 years, a majority of them whilst I’ve been Muslim, and would never have dreamed something like this could happen to me. Least of all did I expect it to affect me the way it did. I’m usually a strong willed person but when you’re faced with it, your heart feels like it’s jumping out of your chest and fear grips your body. You want to react and be “sassy” but fear the consequences. Briefly afterwards, I did feel scared. I felt what most Muslim women are feeling right now. Fear of leaving their house in case they catch the receiving end of verbal or even physical abuse. But then I caught myself. I reminded myself that Allah swt has my back and even if something did happen, everything happens by His will. How I react to it is the real test and not what the actual event was. They attack us (Muslim women) because we’re visibly Muslim and because they’re weak. But Allah has made us women in particular strong and we should never forget that. Their attacks only make us stronger and more united, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I would never question my faith but I question those of the attackers. They feel soo threatened by our “visible Muslim-ness” that they lash out like wild animals hurting the innocent with no regard. I was scared but now I understand the fear, I’m stronger for it.
Christal from Christal Joan
I feel like any time a terrorist attack takes place in our country, the pain is like two stab wounds; one in the heart at the pain of seeing innocent lives needlessly lost or ruined for an act of mindless barbarism; and then a second stab in the back from the murderers who wrongfully claim to be doing this in our name.
It’s shattering, to be honest. I try to avoid seeing newspaper headlines because so often they are sensationalist and totally insensitive – to the victims of the attack and to the subsequent victims of misplaced blame. One thing I am thankful for is that the majority of people, Muslim and non-Muslim, just want to live in a world of tolerance and compassion, which I think was demonstrated greatly in Manchester after the attacks there. I just hope that this effort to understand one another and respect one another continues, as we are far stronger united, and we all share the same enemy, which is hatred.
Carla from Tayyib Wellbeing
When an attack happens, we as Muslims have 2 thoughts in our mind: Where was it? I hope it’s not from a Muslim. We live in a place so biased against Islam that we feel a heavy backlash, just because of the way we dress. Around election season, it was the worst. There was a shooting at our local masjid, no one was hurt though. My childhood masjid in Victoria TX was burnt down. And recently, a truck was driving aggressively at the masjid, running into cars and clearly showing his hate.
With a turbulent political climate, and weak in faith at the time, I let the news and the hate from the election get to me, often refusing to leave our apartment for days. But as time went by, and Alhamdulillah faith a little stronger, I decided not to let what other people say influence what I do in my life. Islam has always been a target and always will be, simply because people don’t like La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad Ar-RasoolAllah. I have been proudly wearing niqab for 2 years Alhamdulillah. One day, we went to visit my sister in law in Canada. People were scaring me into not wearing my niqab to pass immigration. But Alhamdulillah, by Allah’s will, it was one of the easiest immigration experiences I’ve ever had! Our neighbor had told me he was happy that I was here and that I show myself as Muslim.
Though I know it is a scary time, I do want to give hope to Muslims… Not to be afraid of who we are and to know Allah is our Protecting Friend.. just smile! Even through our niqab, people will smile back. Bring light and truth into the world around you and let Allah be your Guard!