Do you speak English?” has got to be the one of the most patronising questions you can be asked. I’m only ever asked that because I wear hijab, as if being a part of western culture and being Muslim are mutually exclusive.
Never mind the fact that I was born and raised in London or that I’m going to a Russell Group university to study English – it seems that I will always be stereotyped and judged first by the scarf on my head.
It was also the first question I was asked as I was escorted off an easyJet plane with my sister and brother at 6am last Wednesday morning at Stansted airport. We’d passed security and boarded the flight to Naples, but just as I was about to nod off we were told there was a seating issue and that all three of us would have to follow the air stewardess, who offered no explanation of where we were going.
At the top of the stairs leading down to the tarmac there was a sight I’m not likely to forget in a hurry – a mob of armed police and men in suits waiting for us to meet them. [1675 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 883 votes] “The only way for society to progress is for the public to be aware that Muslims are exactly the same as everyone else.”
The only way for society to progress is for the public to be aware that most Muslims are exactly the same as everyone else. And it is the ones who aren’t that are the cause of your problem.
What would you have the security services do by the way? Just ignore concerns? Yes, whilst Islamic terrorism is a huge threat all over the world, you will suffer some inconvenience.
[2ND 811] The premium many Muslims place on women appearing ‘modest’ is ostentatiously unlike everyone else.
[3RD 756] Nobody is denying that Islamic extremism is a global issue that needs to be tackled, but pointing an accusing finger at any woman in a headscarf is a no way of going about it.
Definitely agree that random pointing and accusing is not the way to go. And what hapenned to you on the plane anecdote sounds totally uncalled for.
But the unfortunate truth is, the veneer of grudging tolerance that Europeans had towards ‘visible’ Islam has been largely lost, through recent events. People just don’t like the social conservatism of headscarves, the implication that ‘ being modest’ is something to aspire to, and the implication that uncovered women are ‘immodest’ and asking for attention.
I think Muslims need to make the case for headscarves. Do they help Muslim women integrate and fulfil their potential in Western societies?
[4TH 669] Islam is not a race it is a religion so how can the action of the other passengers be racist?
[5TH 502] “It’s become apparent that Muslims taking extra care to avoid their behaviour being misconstrued.”
The slight snag is that almost all the major terror incidents in Europe over the past few years have been made in the name of Islam. This is made people paranoid, and although what happened to you is extremely unfortunate, one can see why it has happened.
The point of profiling is to identify those who might possibly be offenders. There have not been many white female old-age pensioners who have become suicide bombers, and so it would be fairly pointless to single them out on security checks.
[6TH 461] If a disproportionate amount of people who wear a hijab don’t speak English compared to those who dont, how is it out of order to ask if they are English speakers? [Guardian Cif] Read more