Acid attacks

I am terrified. They come at us from cars, on motorbikes or run up to you. You’re just driving, a passenger or a pedestrian. They throw a liquid at you and then you burn. 

There is nothing you can do. No defence you can learn. No potion you can carry. Nowhere you can hide. 

Carry a bottle of water I read. But a bottle is not enough to wash away the chemicals and in many cases will only make it worse. We are defenceless. We are helpless. 

This is happening here. In ends. Our home. Places we can’t avoid. And there is nothing we can do about it. Defenceless. Helpless. 

Yesterday I sat at the back of a cab on my way home from the station and made sure my window was shut. My throats was chocking in the heat but I could not bare to risk opening my window. Whatsapp buzzing with news of a new attack. 4 in the last 48 hours in areas, 5-15 minutes walk away from home. 

As I walked to the train station this afternoon, I watched every man with a bottle of water with suspicion, keeping my ears peeled for approaching cars and bikes. 

We have endured spitting. We have enduring beatings. We have endured the death of our elders coming home from prayer and our children going to pray. We have endured unborn children being lost in attacks. We have endured women being pushed into train tracks. 

How much more are we to endure? 

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

#IAM: islamophobia awareness month 

As I waited for the train this morning I felt disturbingly aware of my surroundings. Did that man just glare at me? Is that women charging towards me? Why do those group of kids keep looking at my direction?

I felt genuine fear. I didn’t know if I should call someone or if getting my phone out would make me more vulnerable. Islamophobia is making me paranoid.
And I know it’s not just me. A good friend has asked her mum to not go out for a few weeks. She chooses to wear the face veil and had a man attack her. Can you imagine, being trapped in your own home. I would not know how I would cope if anything happened to my mum. Heartbreaking. Another friend of mine was spat at in the street as he walked home. Imagine people who think of you as such subpar and with such disgust that they can spit at you. Revolting. A woman was bottled in the street a few days ago just because she was visibly Muslim – choosing to wrap a scarf around her head. Terrifying.

This month is Islamophobia Awareness Month. The point of it is just make people aware just how real islamophobia is. It is not people playing the race card or making a big deal out of nothing. It is heartbreaking, revolting and terrifying. And it is the reality of Muslims all around the world.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9YX_yxylZqc

Write a status, blog or tweet about how islamophobia has affected you with the hashtag #IAM. Let’s share our stories, they’re real and should be heard.
And for those of you who has not experienced islamophobia yourself, ask your Muslim friends how their journey home was recently, offer to hear their fears, be a good friend.

If you’d like to find out more, check out these events FOISIS (below) and MEND (their website) have organised.  

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.