Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The T word

There are few words in our world which can only mean something truly terrible. Terrorism is one of them. A word so many fear to say, but a word which recently has seemed to transition into everyday language. It's one I've seen on the news, in debates: and towards myself.

Obviously, I am not, never have been and never will be one. But it seems obvious that so many people think that looking a certain way means that you fit the profile.

It doesn't.

But see, terrorism is more than just "a word". It's a judgement someone makes when they see you walking down the street. It's a look of disgust in their eye as they choose to serve a different customer instead of you. It's the silent whispers among groups of people who seem to find amusement in mocking in your choice of dress. Frankly, it's beginning to feel like being in a zoo.

Perhaps that analogy is a little melodramatic.

But it certainly doesn't feel natural, though perhaps that's only how I feel because of my own experiences.

For a long time, I never thought to speak about this online. I don't want to sound like a victim, I don't think of myself in that way and don't want others to either. The reason I'm speaking about this from a Muslim's perspective is because so few people do, and it's something I'm sick of. I'm sick of so many of us suffering in silence and not knowing what we can do to change people's opinions. It's not an easy thing to do, and frankly it's a hate crime to treat someone so abysmally because of their religion. So why is this not being addressed by the media too?

I know that those who only call someone or think of a Muslim as a terrorist aren't the majority, but after several years of being under people's watchful gaze, I keep second guessing people's intentions without realising it. I'll be reading a book on the train, look up, and see someone holding their eyes directly at me, thinking they're judging me, when it may be that they're looking at their reflection at the window behind you.

I don't like constantly thinking there's a hidden agenda to every gaze, but the reality is that I've had many of these before. I know what hateful behaviour is like. My experiences range from a subtle look of disgust to a person literally spitting in my direction. So I'm not just speculating.

So many people don't see it, because so many of us suffer in silence. I'm not usually a confrontational person, but if it's something I care about, I'll gladly get a word in. When it's hateful behaviour towards someone because of something you saw on the news, which isn't in any way associated with them - yeah, I get pissed off. It pisses me off majorly, especially when people see this hateful behaviour happening, know that it's wrong, and do nothing to intervene.

Take this example:

This is absolutely disgusting.

Terrorism is an issue, I won't deny it - but when you see a Muslim on the street and you second guess their motives, treat them horribly simply because of their religion when they're doing something entirely innocent - that's where a line is crossed.

Take the picture above, why would a Muslim "know" how to use something as a weapon? Where is the logic, the reason? I know what I am, and I don't need to prove my innocence just as much as another other person. Why should we? What have we got to prove?

Just because you see a warped, twisted version of Islam being declared by a minority of people, it doesn't make it the general answer to who I am, to who we are.

It's innocent until proven guilty for a reason. It's about time somebody cut through the bull that's out there.



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