I’m a 24 year-old self-proclaimed nerd. I was born in Växjö, a small town in Southern Sweden. I wrote my first novel when I was 13 and I climbed the Ol Doinyo Orok mountain peak in Namanga, Kenya, in the same year. I know 5 languages and my disdain for conformity saw me being bullied ever since I first began school at 5 years old. I’ve never committed a crime in my life and I’ve never even seen a bottle of alcohol. I can’t tell the difference between [ehm,ordinary] grass and drugs, because that too, is something I’ve never seen in real life. I have no patience for shopping or wearing make-up ( though I wish I was more feminine) but spend 10-12 hours online.A day. Or night, because I’m also a night owl. I’ve been battling mental illness for almost a decade and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Few things infuriate me like dishonesty. I went to Somalia for the first time when I was 14 and accompanied my paternal uncle who is a nomad, to the remote Somali outback where he and his family lived in huts with 4-5 other families.Whilst there, I herded sheep with my 8 year old cousins and witnessed how stubborn camels are, especially during a sandstorm, when a herd is being transported to a water well. I witnessed the unfortunate death of a 3 year old girl called Ikraan, who died from an insect sting allergy. I washed her dead body in keeping with Islaamic funeral rites. I’ve spent 8 years abroad as an expat and I take 200 mg of sertraline everyday.
This erratic narrative of my life might seem like a foolish attempt at blowing my trumpet. This is not so, partly because I don’t really own a trumpet. But I’m offering a glimpse into my life because despite the above being the gist of my entire life, I’m the victim of a modern witch hunt. My crime isn’t witchcraft, not this time. This time the public has agreed that I’m the perpetrator of a heinous crime; dressing differently.
By differently I mean; covering my face with the face veil known as niqaab, every time I go out or in the presence of non-mahrem¹ men.
If batman was Muslim, we could fight crimes together.
No wait, I’m not done. I also wear gloves, on the days I can find them, because even though I’ve donned this attire since I was 16, I have given up on keeping my gloves for more than a month. Even if I were to find them,it’s always two left hand gloves,without fail. It’s a mystery I haven’t figured out. The top to bottom black full body cape is called jilbaab. There. Some cultural 101.
Can you believe my audacity? The wanton display of utter disregard of the society I am in? I mean, if I want to wear this, I should ship out to Saudi right? I’m probably illiterate and oppressed by my husband who has three other wives.
Only, I’m not married, nor has anyone coaxed me into wearing this. In fact, in my entire extended family (both paternal and maternal) consisting of over a thousands members ( Somalis are known for big families), I am the only one who has ever, since time immemorial, dressed this way.
You see what happened there? You see how everything I wrote about preceding my revelation was somehow pushed aside to be replaced by all the ignorant prejudice by people who project their fears onto me, and those dressed like me. That it’s unfathomable to be a young, single, intelligent woman and dress like this, by choice, in a society that purportedly stands for the liberation of people?
That there cannot be a consolidation between my person and the way I dress; that I must be omitting the line where I was brainwashed by extremists?
I made a choice in 2006 that shaped the direction I’ve taken in life. Ever since then, I’ve had to endure being the public punching bag for people’s unfounded fears and accusation. That I somehow needed to bow my head in shame for being oppressed. The utter paradox didn’t seem to dawn upon them. Everyday, from the moment I would leave my home, I was subconsciously tensing up for the day-long battle that would ensue. The stares, the snarky remarks, the mockery. Everyday, I battled to stay authentic to myself and my choices, and you dare say I’m oppressed? If I am, then it’s only by your making. The you I’m addressing is the immature bigot.
I’m somehow expected to apologize for my choices and explain away all those things that upset people. I’m somehow a criminal by proxy, because of the acts of some lunatics who proclaim to follow the same religion as I do. I’m expected to carry a banner every time I go out appeasing to the public, just so I can walk down the road in peace. Just so,for one day, I can battle my agoraphobia without having to engage in another battle outside. Just so, for one day, I can conquer the dark side of bipolar that is only exacerbated by the marginalization by people who justify their hatred as being an act of benevolence.
Though I vehemently oppose the crimes people commit in the name of Islaam, am I obliged to apologize for it? Is the white man obliged to apologize for the extensive crimes perpetrated by his race for centuries? Is he expected to feel guilty over the acts of racists, even though he doesn’t identify with their ideologies?
I believe that people who choose to channel their frustrations through violence in the name of Islaam, have a fundamentally flawed reasoning. They derive “evidence” from the sacred texts of Islaam and use that to promote their ideology. But, really, if they were to be scrutinized, their very claims of evidence are in reality evidence against them. But, this isn’t the scope of this post.
I understand that the powers that be need a scape goat to divert attention from them. I’m not going to urge you, the reader, to not judge me, because that is impossible. We all judge, as we all think. Judgement is simply the conclusion, whether right or wrong, of those thoughts. Nor am I asking to be embraced and celebrated in society. But what I am calling attention to is a good look to the bigger picture; the West prides itself in the liberty and freedom of the people, yet is that truly the case?
How is it liberty and equality, when I’m repeatedly told to go to another country because my dress isn’t welcome here?When I’m told that ‘this is our land‘ and I better conform, when I was born here?By what standards is this supposed liberty gauged by?
In reality, the way I see it, and the reason I cling onto my controversial face-veil even though it’s not something obligatory to don in Islaam, is that the moment that society dictates our mode of life, it has in reality enslaved its’ people under the false pretence of civilization. It’s not really about fabrics and symbols, it’s about eradicating the thinking capacity of the people to advance the interest of a selected few.
Another thing that is worthy of consideration is that, when you anticipate the occurrence of your fears, the anxiety that arises from that causes you to act in ways that in fact, create the very situation you dread. This is called anticipatory anxiety. This is the issue that alienates many Muslims who are innocent of what they are accused of. This, too, is the reason many Muslim youth become frustrated and angry, and fall victim to so-called religious fanatics. Their modus operandi is to use the energy from bottled-up frustration and anger to incite violence to propagate their hypocritical desires. Their ever-repeating theme is call for violence. I’m not going to call it jihaad, because while jihaad serves a legitimate purpose under the correct circumstances, what these people are calling jihaad is in reality anarchy.
The recent Donald Sterling controversy made me realize that we are unwittingly forming a society where we are oblivious of the sheer mind control. The man holds some vile opinions,I’ll give you that, but being pushed into a corner and essentially have words placed in your mouth that are recorded and then disseminated over the world is hardly in keeping with the spirit of “democracy”.
It’s awfully contradictory that the very people who push for the betterment of human beings, are the ones bullying others into resonating with their ideas. In the name of political correctness, no one dares air views that are contradictory to what the bulk of society supposedly believe in. This vicious political correctness whip is like the one used herding sheep; nomads herd sheep by taking them out to the plains to eat grass but they need to be kept in line or else they’d wander off and get lost. The herder might initially think it’s in the best interest of the sheep to be protected by him or else it’d be eaten by predators. But in reality, the sheep is being herded to be later eaten or sold off. So he is in fact only interested in making sure they get fat enough to yield milk and money.
As the queen of tangents, I digress. If you can make some sense out of this verbiage, I salute you.
¹Mahrem. Islāmic terminology in Islāmic law that denotes the men a woman can’t marry; such as father, son, brother, father-in-law, et al. and consequentially doesn’t need to cover up in front of them.