Numbers and places 

The lives lost simply numbers and places. No photos. No names. No stories. But each and every one of them is a person like you and I. With families and loved ones. With livelihoods and paths they crafted for themselves. Destinies and dreams. This is just too many. Before we can even be done mourning there’s another one. Another death count. We hold our breaths praying it’s not someone we know. For if it’s not someone we know then they’re just a number.

We write a message online and send our prayers. Create a hashtag. #PrayforTurkey #PrayforBangladesh #PrayforIraq. And then we forget until the next and then the next.

And of course if it’s in the global south then we will forget very soon. Only the ones with roots there will know or care to know. No flags, no vigils, no news coverage. If it’s in the west we will mourn a little longer. But they too will be forgotten soon.

Unless it is your home, your friends, your family. Just numbers and places. Far away stories of evil men (and it is always men) continue. But it’s ok. We can breath, it’s not us. This time.

May Allah accept the fallen as martyrs and bring peace to their loved ones. And may we have peace and stability in our homes.

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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

Being a Suspect

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.
But I do worry. Those believing we live in a completely unbiased world are ignorant or plain wrong.

If we were, there would not be 1518 deaths in the hands of the police in the UK (mental health hospitals, back of their vans, in their stations) in just the last 25 years with 0 convictions – of mostly black and brown bodies. Think about this for a second. More than a 1000 people murdered – no one charged for it. If this was any other group we would call them what they are – corrupt and a terrorist organisation.

If we were it would not be only Muslim men who are extradited without trial or charge – even when white men accused of the same crimes are not. A white women being islamophobic would get just as much response as when a black women was – same story: different outcome.

There is a climate of fear, created by the media and politicians. A fear of loosing something that cannot really be lost. Loosing British values – even though no one seems to really know what that is. Democracy? Britain is ruled by a family who are born into that position and our laws get decided by people who are born into or given that privilege. The rule of law? When the police themselves are not held accountable and the law is so subjective and changes with time how can this be an accurate measure of values? Homosexual relationships were outlawed just a few years ago and same-sex marriage was made legal in my own lifetime (with our current Equalities Minister voting against it). Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs? When the reports of islamophia has doubled – and let’s be honest, how many of us bother to even report when the police don’t care, when the media are allowed to be islamophobic – what is so mutual about it?

I don’t trust the state to listen and understand.

If you’re arrested under terrorism law, the courts do not even tell you what you’ve been accused of. How is your lawyer meant to fight your case? Imagine a taxi driver reported to the police because he had a little Quran hanging from his window in his car. His house raided at 5 in the morning. Him having to go through deradicalisation training. True story. Imagine a student who downloads a copy of a book on terrorism that the library already owns. He gets reported and his university do nothing to support him. True story. Imagine a man doing community work in Afghanistan, arrested and detained in a maximum security prison known to do torture for 13 years without a trial or charge. True story.

Find out about more true stories here.

I don’t have anything to hide but I am Muslim so I do have something to worry about. I am a suspect and will not even be given a chance to prove my innocence.

Meant to be

I know we are not meant to be. You’re all logic and measurements. All seriousness and get it done tick box. I’m all heart and emotion. All living in the moment, don’t hurt anyone, it’ll work out fine in the end.

I know you sit there judging me. Wishing I could be more like you. Stop cursing. Stop laughing so loud with your boys that are trying so hard to make me laugh. Stop wearing that deep red lipstick that flickers a desire within you that you don’t want to need to control.

I know we are not meant to be. But you’re so perfect to me. And I want nothing more than to fit into your puzzle. Create our own picture. Solve it together. They all think I’m so cool. Chilled and feisty. The banter train ready. Get set, go. And I do go. Keep going till they ask me if it could, perhaps, be. But it can’t. Because I don’t want them. Even though I know we are not meant to be.

No matter how impossible, unattainable, or unimaginable something may be, if it’s meant to be – it’ll be. – unknown