As a brown Muslim girl, my experience of the world is one of fear and sadness but determination. Although I live in one of the most diverse cities in Great Britain, means that I have a relatively sheltered life (and I could not even begin to imagine the hardship of those who have a completely different environment to myself) my life has not been free from prejudice interactions. There is an all boy’s private school, full of wealthy, privileged boys destined for the best universities and most likely the next leaders of our country. It is from this school I have encountered some of the most shocking behaviour directed towards me, simply because I am Muslim.
Most notably, one boy who decided to personally attack me during our school mock general election campaign. His comments ranged from, ‘all Qur’ans must be burnt’ to ‘all you and your family should be deported’ and naturally his angry rant was full of foul language. However it was not the boy and his comments himself that distressed me the most but the reaction of pupils and authorities alike. Although one or two boys condemned his actions, mainly their advice was to ignore him. After approaching the authorities in our school the matter was placed into the hands of the headteacher and vice principals of the boy’s school. Their response was to do nothing. This child continues his behaviour, hardly even having been reprimanded. His abusive attack towards me, simply because of my religion, led to no consequences and it is this attitude that will continue to encourage this environment. However this is a smaller parallel to the situation happening across the country. Xenophobia and Islamaphobia is increasing without effective measurements being put in place to tackle it.
Personally I feel British Muslims are thoroughly misunderstood. Just like everyone else in the country I fear Terror and react in horror when I hear of Terror attacks. Individually, I cannot even comprehend an association with these reprehensible, disgusting human beings who carry out these attacks but in a social setting it seems expected that I condemn these terrorists. Of course I condemn it. Additionally, I also need to be wary of racial or discriminatory attacks towards myself. Just like many other British Muslims, I am placed into a situation where I behave and function exactly the same as White British people, but more often than not they reject us.
Another buzzword thrown around by people trying to understand the root of homegrown radicalism is ‘integration’. What baffles me is the same people who complain that certain communities are remaining isolated and not accepting Western culture are the same people who will abuse them and add to this culture of isolation. Of course it is understood there are many other complex factors combined which lead to acts of terrorism however the situation can only be improved if we stop Islamaphobic attacks. In this situation two wrongs do not make a right.
I am not saying every white person is Xenophobic. At all. It is simply an observation that Xenophobia is becoming more commonplace without appropriate repercussions but this is just my experience. I hope you can understand where I am coming from, this was a whistle-stop tour of my thoughts when it comes to this topic and I would love to continue this discussion in the future. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments however I hope it goes without saying to be respectful and understanding! This is perhaps one of the most controversial blog posts I have done. Until next week.