Does the way you dress and look determine your religious belief and identity?
If you see a bearded man or a woman with a hijab on, do you automatically think terrorist or Islamic fanatic? Do you assume the bearded man or covered woman walking down the street is oppressed or uneducated? The amount of types I have heard people say things like ‘”Oh my god, I feel so sorry for her. It’s hot and she is forced to wear that black thing”. “Why does she cover her face or her hair”? You may not do, but some ignorant people in our society do. Having a beard or wearing a hijab is a choice for some Muslims who want to be identified as Muslims and form a closer relationship to Allah. Not all Muslim women wear a hijab out of force. It is their choice as they want to make a statement, form a better relationship with god or don’t want men staring at them. The hijab is about modesty of the body and the mind. The woman in the hijab can look at scantily clad women on a Saturday night and think, “Aren’t these women cold, it’s freezing and they have no clothes on.” “Looking at them is making me feel cold”.
An educated man and woman can make a decision to represent their identity and still have a brain and opinion. The woman with the hijab sat opposite you could be a brain surgeon, speak five different languages fluently, and be a martial arts expert. However, some see her as an oppressed fanatic who needs to inject some colour into her life and try wearing a different colour to black.
The bearded man walking across the street has not forgotten how to shave and is not going for the hippy look. He wants society to identify him as a Muslim or just likes sporting a beard. It is not cool or funny to shout Bin Laden or the Taliban as he walks past. It is immature and ignorant. So even if you think it, don’t say it out aloud as a sarky comment or rude reply back can offend. Do not be cautious of this man or speak very slowly as he can understand what you say and may have a PHD in nuclear physics and likes Cold Play.
I am fed up of society and the media that depict Muslims who choose to sport a beard or wear a hijab as Islamic fanatics. They are not fanatics. Nuns dress modestly and wear all black. Do you see a Nun as an oppressed woman and feel sorry for her because she isn’t wearing the latest mini skirt in summer? Or when you see an Orthodox Jew or Greek, do you see them as fanatics with their beards and skullcaps. Why is it acceptable for them to dress in this way and not be classed as fanatics? Figure out what a person is truly about before making assumptions. The media loves to portray Muslims as fanatic. I am a Muslim educated middle class woman and I don’t wear a hijab, but I pray, fast and believe in my religion. Am I fanatic to?