And the turmoil still continues here in North America and around the world, unfortunately. And like many Muslims, I too say when there’s breaking news, “Please don’t let it be a Muslim. Please don’t let it be a Muslim.” Sometimes, I struggle between being informed and maintaining my sanity.
To read the news, or not to read the news – that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the heart and mind, to suffer the slings and arrows of the media,
or to be misinformed and stay in la-la land.
And not just my sanity, my heart aches every time I see a senseless loss of a life. It doesn’t matter where that person’s from, where they live, what social class they’re from, their religion, their ethnicity – it hurts all the same.
I can stick my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening and ignore it all, but ultimately, I also want to be informed.
So now we have, yet again, another Muslim backlash after the San Bernardino shooting due to all the media hysteria. And now, unfortunately, many Muslim women are being told to hide they’re Muslim, put on hoodies, hats, beanies, etc. instead, not to be out alone, not to be out late at night, and not to be out unnecessarily.
Sorry, but that’s bollocks. It’s enough already that the media and politicians are telling us to denounce the acts of terrorism of people we don’t even know nor relate to, etc. but now Muslims are telling other Muslims how to dress and behave? This is outrageous. Why? Because by telling a Muslim woman to cover her hijab, you’re giving in to fear and hysteria and playing in the hands of bigots.
It’s kind of like non-Muslim Westerners not eating out at restaurants or going to concerts anymore because they’re afraid of possible terrorist attacks.
Or black men either hiding their blackness or just not walking anywhere where police officers are.
Will some Muslim women be targeted? Yes, it’s the unfortunately reality. But don’t give in to this fear mongering.
While Muslim women should be told to be vigilant and exercise precautions, please and I say again, please don’t tell Muslim women to cover their hijab out of fear with hats, beanies, hoodies and whatever else.
But instead, tell them to be themselves, the same person they were before all these hate crimes against Muslims were happening. Tell them not to stop living their lives and allow fear to overtake them. Tell them to take pride in their religion, not hide it, and be unapologetically Muslim.
By hiding our Islam, we’re giving into bigots, by letting them take pieces of us. If we do that, then they win. Don’t allow these ignorant people filled with hatred intimidate us and instil fear in our hearts. We should put our trust and faith in God and remember that nothing can harm us unless it was already written to happen.
If anything, we should be better Muslims and reach out to our neighbours and communities. Show them what Islam is. Be a part of our greater community and show them that Islam is not what the media portrays it to be, but truly a religion of justice, tolerance, acceptance and peace. Show them through our actions.
Don’t hide your Islam.
And if you’re experience of being a ‘hijabi’ is like mine, then you know that wearing a hijab is actually one of the best ways to outreach to others. Because yes, they see the hijab as a symbol of Islam and come and ask questions. You might be talking to one person. But that person has a family, they have colleagues, they have friends. This is how to win over people and stop prejudice; through education. Don’t give into fear and be proud of the Muslimah you are.
Stand up tall my sister, and don’t let hate and fear stop you from being you, and wearing your hijab.