2|3 Stories worth sharing; How the West fails Muslim women.
Assaults it is for Muslim women.
Generally speaking, the idea of dressing pious, which is the same in all religions, is to diminish negative attention from men. As a Muslim woman, I started wearing a headscarf in an attempt at worship.
Although a conscious choice, admittedly, it has brought me a lot of unnecessary hardship. One of which is the unwanted attention I get from ethnic Muslim males who think they have a free pass to approach me. There is nothing wrong with uttering a kind word or greeting a stranger. There is, however, a lot wrong with the entitlement to a Muslim woman that no one tells you about before wearing the headscarf.
For starters, you immediately enter unknown territory. First, there are the thousands of fellow Muslims who recognise and acknowledge you as one of their own. The hijab sometimes removes barriers between Muslim strangers; it can be positive, but also not. Strangers approach you with the greetings of peace. Peace be upon you, they say, with a smile on their face.
The convenient Muslim. The one who hides his Islamic identity out of fear but sees a hijabi at work and wants special treatment. A conversation then starts with, “you know I am just like you, a Muslim.” You will hear only from White Muslims like Albanians or other Muslims from the Balkan.
There is an overall sense of camaraderie of getting invitations to Islamic lectures exchanging emails with religious advice, more on the teachings of Islam and guidelines etc. All good, so far.
What is more, relating to my previous article, 1/3 Stories worth sharing; How the West fails Muslim women. Part of the Islamic teachings is oral tradition; A tradition where people consult the opinion(s) of the famous imams during the early stages of Islam. The problem with this is that these imams did not always agree. Hence, it’s dangerous to follow either one of their thinking naively in a rigid way. The issue with the opinions simultaneously explains the different branches of Islam. And why there is constant conflict in Islamic countries.
Moreover, when laying down the oral tradition and writing down the fatwa’s, these imams had only camels and horses at their disposal — animals were the only primary means of transportation. There were no roads, let alone public transport and trains, as we know today. Thus, the idea of telling women they cannot leave their houses without a male companion was born out of the THEN appropriate circumstances.
I was sitting on a train, minding my own business after a Saturday of catching up with a friend and some shopping. I noticed that a Turkish man was filming me by how he was holding his phone and how he would look up from it, directly staring at me and then back to his phone.
I thought it was strange, so I kept looking the other way or on my phone until I could get out of the train. Once in the queue to get out, the Turkish man stood behind me. Suddenly he grabbed my neck with a firm grip holding me tight with his elbow on my shoulder. The man was strong, robust, and slightly shorter than I am, so my bodyweight was tilted somewhat on one side.
He was trying to take a selfie with me, trying to focus the camera on me while at the same time pushing his face closer to me. Meanwhile, I am trying to get out of his crip, pulling my face away from him. It looked like he was trying to kiss me.
Getting out of his grip was extremely hard because the man was strong, so I did what I could do, which was to pull my face as far away from him as I could.
Ironically, passengers were staring at this strange site of fresh assault happening right before them.
As soon as the train door opened, I jumped out and walked away as fast as possible. I looked back a few times, and although crowded, I could not find the man at the station; he must not have gotten out of the train.
I have zero Turkish friends. I did not know this Turkish man who had just assaulted me. Though I do not pay much attention to people, I had never seen him before, either. It was unclear why he ambushed me like that. The only reason I think a strange angry man would film me sitting across him in a public train was that he might edit me into other content to slander me. So perhaps someone had sent him. Another option is to post my image on a not so savoury website. And the Selfie which he failed to make, I hope, was maybe to boast about his relations with me to his friends.
In Turkish culture, there is an attitude of genuine disgust towards people of colour, where blacks are viewed as appalling and repulsive. To each his own, so in my view, it’s best to find the courage and come forward with your feelings towards people, be it good or bad; express it. It is okay to harbour negative emotions towards people of colour so then stay away from them. The notion that this man thought it was okay to touch me was disturbing, which is an understatement. What is scary is that his behaviour is not a one-off thing as he was comfortable with his actions. What is especially frightening is that this rubs off young White males as some integrate the other way.
As disturbing as this was; This incident was not an exception, and ignoring those you do not like is not a message taken. Harassing Muslim women in public places has become part of the Western fabric.
How much more of this is the West willing to condone in the name of ‘Business and Diplomatic-Relations?’ How many more “factory workers”, “Taxi-drivers” and ethnic shop owners who assault and rape women in their spare time from safe countries does the West need? I can buy my tomatoes in a regular supermarket.
The West ought to revaluate its migration policies and decide who needs and deserves a better life in the West. My vote is for long term yet temporary citizenship for migrants who are not fleeing war. Governments should abolish any loopholes in the migration legislation that disadvantage Western Muslim women. An example is; a system where Muslim women marry their first cousin or uncles to get him into the West. In most cases, it’s just the Muslim women forced into marriages that allow for a family reunion, thus more unnecessary migration.
Troublemakers should leave and have their citizenship revoked.