Life in the Country: Discrimination

July 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Most people associate living in the countryside with living in a huge house from a Jane Austen novel. Or living  in a town/ village with a completely white population. If you belong to an ‘ethnic minority’ and happen to be Muslim, people also think you have to deal with the EDL.

Actually, country folk are very polite. In my experience they are very friendly, and if not, they appear very tolerant to other races.

As a Muslim woman living in the country side and adhering to Islamic dress I can say that I have never been verbally discriminated against or endured any racist comments. Okay maybe the next door neighbours aren’t so friendly, and there was that one time someone shouted something as they drove by- but going about daily business such as going to the local shops or walking the local trails, almost everyone has said hello. The people who live on our road are just as friendly.  In fact some lovely people have even greeted me and my mother with ‘As salaamu alaikum’. Yes, WHITE people.

For a lot of Muslimahs I’m sure they have a desire to go out and explore the British country side but feel they maybe discriminated. Don’t let that stop you. If I have ever feel disrespected it is more from the ignorant secondary school kids who swagger around the streets like they own it. They unabatedly stare and whisper… or perhaps I feel self conscious.

For me personally, due to my ethnic origin, I remind myself that I look just as English as they are, after all no one in this country is purely English… after how many foreign kings and sieges from abroad I don’t think ‘English’ as race even exists. They therefore, have no right to discriminate me.

There is no doubt that wearing hijab will draw stares- of course it will, you have come to a country town where sights like you aren’t common. You would stare too if you saw cloaked, hooded figure in black walking down the street.

If people say hurtful comments, remember they have been fed media lies and clearly their education has left them quite ignorant.  If they engage in conversation, calmly speak to them and refute anything disrespectful they say, you educate them.

I think this is more of a problem in the city and low class estate areas. Tourist destinations in the country side are full of a mixture of people, and most highly respected country towns have a well educated population who will most likely be open minded.

You as a Muslim also have a duty to break down stereotypes, consider it Dawah of a sort.

Me and my family always strive to be friendly and extend greetings with our town folk as we walk past each other on the street. We also engage in conversation- we don’t bite, and no we aren’t ‘terrorists’ as the media would like you to believe. We are friendly and love this country as much as you do- that’s why we live in the beautiful English (if not rainy) country side.

Unfortunately some Muslims do not present themselves with manners and respect to local customs, if you are going to be loud, disrespectful of the area, litter and be rude and inconsiderate, the people will apply that judgment to the other Muslims.

Sisters, don’t sit inside a concrete box and breathe in fumes, even little England has a lot of lovely things to offer. For Londoners, the Chiltern Hills is a 45 minute drive, and Surrey Hills for those down in South London. Go to the woods and enjoy it all.



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