I’m an alien; I’m a Muslim in France

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Bonjour, aslamailakun ca va? ka fa hal? Both greetings are the same, hello, how are you? In France, you can often hear a mixture of French and Arabic being spoken.

Are the French islamphobic? Do they fear Muslims? Do they welcome Muslim or ethnic minorities? I cannot answer this question.

France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Western Europe 5- 6 million (8-9%), yet you will struggle to see many Muslim people in senior management positions. Muslims from all over Africa especially Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria come to France with the hope of making a better life for themselves.  I personally did not experience any form of Islamaphobia from French people during my weekend in Paris. But, then I do not wear a hijab and have an English accent. However, the story is different for some Muslims living in France and the subject of racism is a taboo subject.

In London, you can see Muslim women roaming the streets head to toe in black with only their eyes showing. In Paris, I didn’t see one women with an abaya in all the different neighbourhoods I explored. I spotted a few women wearing the hijab and Muslim men wearing traditional attire from their home countries. I am not saying I want to see women wear the niqab or that I support it. However, I am a firm believer that a woman and a man should be able to wear what they want to.What is it about the hijab and niqab that scares some people? I admit speaking to someone whose face I cannot see is NOT a comfortable experience. However, seriously it is not hard to converse with someone who covers his or her head. What is so scary about that? Please tell me as I am struggling to figure it out. Is the hijab such a sore sight and who are we to tell people what to wear? What happened to freedom of expression or the freedom to wear what you want?

In France on January 25 it was announced that the parliamentary committee, having concluded its study, would recommend that a ban on veils covering the face in public locations such as hospitals and schools be enacted, but not in private buildings or on the street. On 22 June 2009, at the Congrès de Versailles, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that the Islamic burqa is not welcome in France, claiming that the full-length, body-covering gown was a symbol of subservience that suppresses women’s identities and turns them into “prisoners behind a screen.” A parliamentary commission of thirty-two deputies and led by André Gerin (PCF), was formed to study the possibility of banning the public wearing of the burqa or niqab.[35]

As I enjoyed my weekend in Paris, I spoke to various Muslims from Tunisia, Lebanon, Africa, Algeria Senegal and Ivory Coast and they all have the same story to tell, that in France Muslims are feared and the hijab is not allowed in public places.  . In France, the French people will not admit they are racist or do not like Muslims or minorities. However, realistically, who is going to openly admit that they do not like a certain set of people. This is a view shared by the people I encountered and other Muslim or minorities in France may have a different tale to tell.

Islam, niqab, hijab

The problem in France is that it asks children who are born here and grow up here to eat French, sleep French, but they still don’t accept me as French,” said Bigaderne, the son of Moroccan and Algerian immigrants.

“A real Frenchman is white,” he explained, “not black or Arab.”

It saddens me that in 2012 we still discriminate against minorities and cannot fully accept other faiths and people and have to pose restrictions on people and what they can or can’t wear. I hope with the new French President Hollande things for Muslims in France will get better.

Blind as a bat…

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Muslim girl's life experiences

How many of you have been on a blind date? Or had someone try to set you up on one? Come on, don’t lie if you have. How scary can a blind date be? Well if you feel like poking your eyes so you’re blind because you can’t bear to look at your date, then girl you have every reason to scream and run. The build-up to a blind date can be exciting or nervous. You could experience panic attacks or waves of excitement. Please listen carefully and learn the ten commandments of blind dating.

1. Always demand a recent full body length or head shot photo. We don’t care how hot our date looked ten years or ago or if they were a cute baby. We want to know if you’re hot now and have your own hair and teeth.

2. Engage in at least one or two telephone…

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Sorry is not the hardest word

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How many times have you said sorry?

“I only ever say sorry if I mean it other wise I won’t bother saying it”  

“I say it sometimes to keep the peace”

“I say it but I don’t mean it”

“I rarely say sorry”.

Which statement best describes your response when it comes to saying sorry?

personally, I only ever say sorry if I have to or I genuinely think I am wrong. I don’t see the point in saying sorry for the sake of it. I also don’t feel comfortable when people say sorry to me as I don’t know how to react.

I sat and watched someone today sincerely say sorry and it moved me and I could feel my eyes welling up. The apology was not made towards me and I was only a spectator, but I was touched by how a simple word ‘sorry’ can have such an impact and forge or break relationships.

The man in question turned to face the person he was apologising to and held his hands out to him for forgiveness. He asked him to forgive him for any hurt or pain he had caused him and I could hear the sincerity in his voice and see the tears rolling down his face. Both men are in their 50s, married with children and known each other their entire lives, yet something trivial caused them to close the door on their relationship. It was moving to watch two grown men apologise to each other as often men don’t show their emotion. It took a few deaths, weddings and births for both to realise how short life is. But a lot of time was wasted due to pride and anger.

Are you to proud to say sorry and admit you’re in the wrong? Will you hold a grudge for years and allow it to eat at you and make you bitter. How do you react when someone says sorry to you? “I don’t care and I will not make amends”, “So what if they said sorry, they shouldn’t have done it in the first person”, “you always say sorry and I forgive you and you just do it again”. These are thoughts that can often run through our minds. I will always acknowledge someone’s apology and I might forgive, but I’ll never forget.

As I’ve gotten older I realise that life is too short and it is not worth holding grudges for ever. Often it can be too late to say we are sorry and let someone know how much they mean to us, because of pride or just not caring and then it’s too late, that person has gone for ever.

Don’t wait too long to let someone know what they mean to you and don’t let your pride hold you back from saying sorry.