Being visibly Muslim

I wrote about the stares and the fear on my personal Facebook. As I waited for the next train home a man walked towards me, giving me a glance that send shivers down my spine. My brother saw it too – my 16 year old baby brother. Without even saying anything he stood in front of me, protecting me from the tracks – just in case. Just in case this was another person filled with so much hate that they could push a women into the oncoming trains, or rip the headscarf off her head, shout vile abuse or spit at her.

He walked by, I was safe – that time. And I wanted to cry. Because I felt so exposed and so paranoid. I wanted to sob because my little brother felt it too. And I wanted to howl because I knew it was so much worse in other places – Paris and outside the multicultural bricks of London – and if I was struggling here, how on earth were my sisters getting on there?

The response I got felt like a punch to my gut. White friends from university – who I hadn’t spoken to in 2 years – telling me I’m the same as Donald Trump and all the facists. How I was spreading hate and I did not deserve to be in this community.

I don’t feel safe. Not in being visibly Muslim, not in expressing my feelings and not in finding solidarity.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt Safety First

My Life, the Book

And yes I was sad when Zayn left.

This morning I woke up with One Direction’s “The Story Of My Life” playing in my head. The song is close to my heart, reminding me of my time in Bangladesh. Strange choice I know. I recently travelled ‘back home’ on my own. Even though the majority of my family live there, mainly due to costs but also because of school, I hadn’t visited in over ten years.

With the stress of calling off my upcoming marriage and pressures from work, I made a random decision to visit and booked tickets two weeks before leaving. My family were surprised to say the least but perhaps I can go into my whole adventure in another post.

Back to One Direction. The plane there and back did not have a charging port so I was in the mercy of the in-flight music selection. One Direction’s album was the best there was – and I guess that says something about the selection. Regardless, somewhere in the process of replaying the album continuously for eight hours (each way) I came to love it, and now associate it with my adventures and family in Bangladesh.   Continue reading