Tag Archives: stereotypes

Fighting bigotry with bigotry

I got carried away watching suggested videos on YouTube and came across a video titled “Cheating husband caught sleeping with his wife’s mother for four years*” (Don’t ask) I thought that this situation was pretty ludicrous so I decided to read some of the comments, just to see what other people think of the scenario. I stumbled upon the following comment:

“eat pork become like pigs usually westerners[sic], thanks God no such cases in muslims[sic]”

In response to the above statement, someone else wrote:

“muslim scum bastard, stick to what your [sic] good at, selling smack, and blowing shit up…”

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 3.17.20 pm *Face-palm* As I recently mentioned in my previous post, you don’t have to be of a particular race to be a bigot; you just have to be a bigot. Both of these comments upset me on the same level and to the same extent. As I have mentioned  in my post “But (s)/he started it”. you cannot justify your intolerance towards someone else simply because they were intolerant to you first. If we can just for a second accept that eating pork makes you become a pig (and eating beef makes you become a cow, eating a salad makes you become a leaf etc.) I wish there was something that people could eat to become tolerant, respectful and accepting of one another.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

The irony of stereotypes

As I have already mentioned in my previous posts, like “Bikinis, Niqabs, oppression and assumptions” and “Good luck to him, he married a foreigner”, there are just as many stereotypes about the West in Middle Eastern countries as there are stereotypes about the Middle-East in the West. A lot, if not all, of these stereotypes are completely incorrect at worst, or distorted at best.

One of my Iranian friends (who lives in Australia) has a relative (who lives in Iran) who honestly believes that all Western women are prostitutes. The relative of my friend believes that all people in the West recreate pornographic movies by attending pool parties where young men and women walk around half naked, rubbing oil on one another and procreating with anything and everything that moves. Funnily enough, I have never been to such a pool party in Australia, but I have witnessed such an occurrence in Iran. The parties that I attended in Iran were 100 times more risqué than those I attended in Australia, or any other Western country for that matter. Either I have been going to all the wrong events in Australia (and have clearly been missing out) or the stereotype that my friend’s relative has set is not an accurate representation of Western social events.

To make myself very clear, I have nothing against people who are sexually liberated and choose to attend social events where everyone walks around naked and openly has sex with one with another, but it’s just personally not my thing. I was particularly shocked to see this happen before my eyes in the Islamic State of Iran. It wasn’t something I was expecting to see. It took a lot of willpower to resist the urge of filming what was happening around me and showing it to my friend’s relative and saying- “Do you see this? This happened here, in the country in which you you live, not in a Western country…. please explain”. Don’t worry I didn’t do it. The relative of my friend’s world of “Iranian is good; Western is bad” has remained intact. The only footage I retained is a memory of the hilarious irony of what I witnessed.

*Please note: I specifically restricted this post to dismantling a particular stereotype that some Iranians hold about Westerners. I can just as easily dismantle stereotypes that Westerners hold about Iranians, but the post would be too long. I acknowledge that this specific post is one-sided and does not give a balanced perspective of the various stereotypes people of different cultures hold towards one another.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled“Introduction…”.

“Islamic Extremism is a ‘Muslim’ issue”

Ahhh, the world of Facebook…full of wonderful insights and keyboard warriors- there’s never a dull moment. A Facebook “friend” recently posted a status stating that that issue of Islamic extremism needs to be confined to Islamic communities: “South Korea has their issues and they keep it within their borders. Jews have their issues and they keep it within their borders…why do these [Muslim] extremists feel the need to cause trouble outside of their own community? Unlike any other group of people.”

*Face-palm*

I have so many issues with the above sentiment but I won’t waste too much time dismantling the things that are obviously wrong, I will just say one thing before I get to the crux of the matter. I didn’t realise that South Korea had ‘their issues’…I am going to presume that the writer of these wise words meant North Korea but was temporarily geographically challenged. Irrespective, the oppression that North Koreans experience is not just the problem of North Koreans…it’s a global problem. In the words of Martin Luther King, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As I am writing this, I am experiencing déjà vu. This kind of mentality reminds me of a woman I described in my blog post “Collective concern, collective responsibility”, who said the following words- “what happens to Africans in Africa is Africa’s problem. Its none of my concern, its not my responsibility.”

The essence of what the Facebook user is saying can basically be summarised as follows: if Jews kill Jews its okay but if Jews kill Muslims its not okay; if Muslims kill Muslims that’s okay, but if Muslims kill Christians its not okay and so on. It’s basically like saying “if they kill each other that’s ok, but heaven forbid they kill one of “us”. I have concerns for this “us” and “them” division.

Labelling Muslims and terrorists under the category of “them” and everyone else under the category of “us” is not only a very primitive way of looking at the situation, it’s blatantly wrong. Islamic extremism is just as frightening to Muslims as it is to anyone else. Limiting Islamic extremists to terrorising other Muslims and no one else doesn’t actually fix the issue. All it shows, is that we are tolerant to violence that happens to “them”, but intolerant of the very same violence when it applies to “us”.

I feel like I am constantly repeating myself, I have already stated that not all terrorists are Muslim in my blog post “Do you have any Jihadi friends?”. But the sentiment of “Why do these [Muslim] extremists feel the need to cause trouble outside of their community? Unlike any other group of people.” – implies that Islamic extremists are the sole perpetrators of terrorism.

There are a lot of people who cause trouble outside and inside of their own community, but the media simply does not label these individuals as terrorists. The media labels them as ‘depressed’, ‘troubled’ or some other nice word other than ‘terrorist’.

When Dylann Storm killed 9 people declaring that “blacks are taking over the world” and “someone needs to do something about it for the white race”, his actions were described as “pure, pure concentrated evil”. His actions were not described as terrorism, even though they could have been. I am sure that if he were Muslim and substituted the word “black” for “non-Muslim” and the words “white race” for “Islam” the word “terrorist” would have appeared all over the media.

When Elliot Rodger shot 6 innocent people and proclaimed that he will slay every person he sees on the street, he wasn’t labeled a terrorist. When pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully crashed flight 9525 and caused 150 people to die along with him, he wasn’t labeled a terrorist. People actually went out of there way to try to prove that Lubitz had converted to Islam and crashed the plane for a jihadi purpose. People created lies to rationalise in their heads that someone other than a Muslim could intentionally crash a plane and kill 150 people.

When Anders Behring Breivik shot 85 innocent people and set off a car bomb that killed 7 he was seldom (if at all) described a terrorist by the media. Even though Breivik’s motivation behind the attack was to eradicate Islam and Marxism from Europe, you don’t really see the media throwing around the word “terrorist” next to his name. If Breivik were a Muslim, who’s actions were motivated by wanting to eradicate the world of Capitalism and Christianity the word “terrorist” would have been thrown around left, right and centre.

The media, along with a lot of people who buy into what it says are so quick to pair up the word “Islam” with the word “terrorism”. Terrorism is terrorism, however according to the media it’s only terrorism when Islam is in some way involved. Even if it is terrorism and Islam isn’t involved, someone out there will do their best to make it look like Islam was involved, exhibit A: Andreas Lubitz.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled“Introduction…”.

Bikinis, niqabs, oppression and assumptions.

assumptions

Image:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/547539267167376074/

I recently had a conversation on a Facebook thread with a close friend of mine after I had shared an article with the following feature image:

WaterWorld-Stoke-on-Trent-waterpark-burqa-Muslim-584338

(The article can be found on http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/584338/WaterWorld-Stoke-on-Trent-Muslim-Islam-waterpark-women-only-bikini-ban-clothing-veil-burqa, but this post relates to the feature image, rather than the content of the article itself)

My close friend (who is a Muslim female) had left a comment stating that she found the image to be an ‘interesting’ depiction of what is ‘Islamically appropriate’. I followed on by saying that a niqab (a form of veil that covers everything other than the eyes, as depicted in the above image) is not the only form of female attire that is considered ‘Islamically appropriate’. My close friend followed on to say that what she meant by her initial comment was that the opposite of ‘Islamically appropriate’ doesn’t necessarily mean bikini.

My close friend went on to say that a lot of non-Muslims associate Islam with a niqab and opression in the same way that a lot of Muslims from Islamic countries associate non-Muslims with open relationships, provocative attire and prostitution. Obviously these sorts of stereotypes are intolerant and incorrect. Islam doesn’t equate to niqab and not-Islam doesn’t equate to open relationships and provocative attire. To quote my close friend- “I think we need more knowledge and less assumptions” I couldn’t agree more and I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Islam is much more than a niqab and non-Islam is much more than a bikini.

As I have already mentioned in my post titled “Does he drink alcohol? Does he eat pork?” religion can be followed to various degrees and there is no single unanimous expression of a particular religion. The same goes for culture, national identity and much more.

In my previous post, I suggested that the best way to combat intolerance is through education, positive reinforcement and love. Likewise the best way to fight assumptions is though actual knowledge, not further assumptions that only lead to more and more intolerance.

Below, is another image that highlights the unfortunate nature of assumptions, which also suits the given theme of bikinis, niqabs and oppression.

opression Image: Cartoonist Malcolm Evans

 Unless the woman on the right lives in a country that makes any other form of attire other than a niqab illegal, both women are exercising their free will (if there is such a thing) to dress how they wish; and both women are making assumptions about one another. The woman on the left probably doesn’t think she is oppressed and the woman on the right probably doesn’t think she is oppressed either; yet oppression is the exact conclusion they have each reached about one another’s choice of attire.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”- Isaac Asimov

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

“Good luck to him, he married a foreigner”

Image: http://www.sfu.ca/~torsten/slacker-moderated/msg00161.html

There are always two sides to a coin. While I’ve encountered stigma from Westerners regarding Middle Eastern culture, my husband and his family have too encountered stigmas about Westerners from fellow Iranians. If you thought that only Westerners felt entitled to make stereotypes about the Middle East, you thought wrong, there’s another side to that coin.

Before they had even met me and given me a chance, some of the friends and relatives of my in-laws had already concluded that I have no family values and that I’m not hospitable, simply because I’m Western. Prior to coming to Australia, my husband’s family told some of their friends about how they were going to live in the same house as my husband and I for 8 weeks. The responses my husband’s parents got were great- “Are you sure you can stay for that long? Your son’s bride is foreign after all, and foreigners don’t live with their in-laws. What if she kicks you out?” Another friend of the family told my husband’s parents the following: “We feel really sorry for your son…good luck to him, he married a foreigner”

After I had met the majority of my in-laws’ friends and family, their opinion of me had changed and they started to say things like: “She’s one of us” and “She understands us, even though she doesn’t understand our language”. Some even said, “A foreign bride is better than an Iranian bride”. I’m glad that I was able to change their mind, but really I shouldn’t have had to change anything. I should have started off with a clean slate. My husband also shouldn’t have had to change unfounded opinions about himself. He too should have started off with a clean slate with my friends and family. Neither one of us were lucky enough to have a clean slate.

Irrespective of who we are and where we come from, why do we feel the need to make assumptions about people we don’t even know based on stereotypes? I wholeheartedly agree that Australian culture differs greatly from Iranian culture, but that doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. What’s right and wrong is subjective anyway. There is good and bad in every culture and in every person.  Can’t we at least meet a person and give them a chance to show themselves for who they really are before we jump to conclusions?

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

Does he drink alcohol? Does he eat pork?

Much to my surprise, and perhaps to your surprise, apparently there is an implicit and silent prefix of ‘devout’ before the word Muslim. At least that’s the impression I get from people when I tell them that my husband is of Muslim faith. The typical follow-on questions I usually receive are “Does he drink?” and “Does he eat pork?” I don’t really know if this is intolerant or not and the answer to that depends greatly on context.

If my husband and I are invited to someone’s house for a meal asking such questions may be considered on par with asking about someone’s dietary requirements e.g. ascertaining whether or not someone is vegetarian, has allergies or intolerances. However, outside of this context I find these questions if not at least a little intolerant then definitely strange.  The reason I feel this way is because I highly-highly doubt that if I had told someone that my husband is of Christian denomination they would have go ahead and ask “Does he go to Church every Sunday?” or “Did you both abstain from having sex before marriage?”

The other reason why I think it’s intolerant is because when I apply the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” tactic, the person I speak to gets confused at best or offended at worst. Upon being asked whether or not my husband drinks alcohol or eats pork, sometimes I respond by asking my interlocutor whether or not they adhere to everything that their religion prescribes. Apparently, while its okay to ask a Muslim if they drink or eat pork, it’s not okay to ask a person of Christian denomination if they abstain from sex before marriage. Personally, I don’t see the difference, but the person I was speaking to sure could.

Furthermore, if I am to answer “yes” to the questions, people then question how my husband is Muslim in the first place. Does that make it okay for me to question someone’s Christianity if I know for a fact that they practice sex before marriage? Obviously, people hold various degrees of religiosity. So why is that common sense when it applies to Christian denomination, but not so much when it comes to Islam?

People follow religion to various degrees and at times pick and choose which elements of that religion suit their individual needs. One Muslim woman chooses to wear a headscarf while another doesn’t; and each woman feels just as Muslim as the other. One Jew chooses to observe the Sabbath while the other Jew doesn’t and that doesn’t make him or her any less Jewish. One Christian practices sex before marriage, while the other Christian abstains, yet both occasionally go to Church on Sundays and consider themselves to be religious. When someone says that they are of religion X, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they follow each and every element that religion X prescribes. Moreover, just because you are born into a particular religion, doesn’t automatically mean that you are devoted to it. Religion can be an individual experience and an individual expression.

So, to answer the questions of whether or not my husband drinks alcohol and eats pork…He married a Russian-Orthodox Jew, for crying out loud! What difference does it make if he eats pork or drinks alcohol? He’s definitely more open-minded than some of the people who ask about his drinking and eating habits.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

“Do you have any Jihadi friends?”

Out of all the questions that my husband and I have ever faced, this one definitely takes the cake. I don’t even know where to begin with this so I think I’ll start with the setting within which this question was asked.

My Hubby is a successful personal trainer. He has several clients of various ages and backgrounds. He once trained a male teenager who was around 16 years old. My husband had trained him, on and off, for roughly 6 months. Usually, my husband is quite friendly and open with his clients, but given that this particular client was underage, he thought it best to exercise caution and keep more distance than usual. While my husband did his best to maintain a professional client-trainer relationship, the teenager always wanted to test the boundaries and ask my husband personal questions.

During one session, the teenager asked my husband about his nationality. My husband told him that he was from Iran and the conversation didn’t really go beyond that. On the next session, however, the boy came out with this precious gem:

 “So ‘cause you’re Iranian and all, do you have any Jihadi friends?”

I would have punched him, but that’s just me. My husband, however, answered the teen’s question with another question- “Can you tell me who jihadists are?”. After some silence, the boy replied with: “terrorists”. My husband then asked “Okay, and who are terrorists?”. After some more silence, the teen uttered the following golden nugget:

 “Terrorists are Muslims who kill people”- the teen replied.

Out of mouths of babes…I would have punched him again, harder than the first time. But my angel of a husband simply laughed and said “Oh-kay buddy, ten more squats, thanks”. Later that night when my husband told me about the conversation, I lost my temper. My husband calmed me down, laughed and then jokingly said, “If I actually had Jihadi friends, the kid wouldn’t be alive right now”.

I thought it appropriate to tell the teen’s parents about what had happened, but my husband said that he wasn’t prepared to offer the teen, nor his parents any such favours. As my cousin pointed out after reading one of my very first posts “Building Tolerance”, it’s not good for children to learn intolerance, it’ll only make it harder for them later on in life in our multicultural world.

Funnily enough, when I Google terrorist, the definition doesn’t state “Muslims who kill people”, it states “a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims”. While my husband handled the situation beautifully (and I can only aspire to such eloquence and patience,) he shouldn’t have had to experience that kind of situation at all. Having said that, had the conversation not occurred, I wouldn’t have been able to make this post, so I guess I need to be kind-of grateful to the teen’s ignorance and intolerance, otherwise I’d might have run out of material by now.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

Familial Intolerance

Image- http://imgarcade.com/1/couple-fighting-silhouette/

To be honest, at first my parents had their doubts about me having a Middle-Eastern boyfriend. As soon as they met my now-husband, however, they realized their fears were simply a product of their own imaginations. My grandparents, on the other hand weren’t as easy to convince. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to apportion part of that difficulty to the fact that they don’t live in the same country as I do and my communication with them is limited to phone calls.

I received countless phone calls from my Grandma (Mum’s mum) who told me about a Russian television series she watches with the following storyline: Middle-Eastern men luring Russian women to the Middle East and then not letting them leave. It was basically another “Not Without My Daughter” conversation, except this time it was with a person close to me. Unable to just simply dismiss her concern, I was forced to engage in discussion in an attempt to prove her otherwise. Usually by the end of the conversation she would agree with me, but the next time she called it was like Ground-hog day and I had to enjoy the same conversation all over again. To my Grandma’s merit, as soon as she found out that I was getting married, she stopped comparing my life to a soap opera and told me that she was really happy for my fiancé and I, and that she had full faith and confidence in our decision to wed.

I wish I could say the same about my Dad’s side of the family. They didn’t even know that I had a boyfriend, let alone his nationality, because they’re not the type of people that can be trusted with such information. Naturally, when they found out that I was getting married and the nationality of my then husband-to-be, all hell broke loose. My Grandma (Dad’s side) phoned me and came out with the following gem:

“My dear granddaughter, given that you study law, why don’t you just go ahead and write up a prenuptial agreement stating that you won’t change your religion and that your kids won’t be Muslim”

I had not only lost all words, but all faith in humanity. I reacted intolerantly to her intolerance by hanging up on her. My Mum later called her back on my behalf and tried to have a calm, rational conversation. My Mum explained that she herself didn’t need to write any contracts relating to religion when she married my Dad. “Yes, but you two were young and in love”- my Grandma replied…I thought that we reached rock bottom with the prenup comment, but apparently I was wrong.

“Blood is thicker than water”- goes the expression, but with relatives like that, I don’t need enemies. Thank Christ, Moses and Mohammed that these relatives live on the opposite side of the planet and I am not forced to interact with them often.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

Colouring Perception

Image: http://www.seeyosemite.com/print-out-coloring-pages.html

Unless you are spiritually enlightened or I’m just really primitive, usually the people we meet colour our perception of that given person’s nationality and/or religion.

For example, if we had a pleasant interaction with a person of religion X or nationality Y, we are more likely to perceive religion X or nationality Y favourably. Conversely, if the interaction with the person was unpleasant, we are more likely to impute that into our perception of religion X or nationality Y. I have been both victim and perpetrator of this phenomenon.

On one occasion someone said to me that I was the first nice Russian person they had met, and that prior to meeting me, they thought that ALL Russians were bitter. There’s about 150 million people in Russia. Lets presume that the person I spoke to met 19 Russians in their life prior to meeting me. Having met those 19 bitter Russians allowed that person to render the remaining 149,999,981 Russian people as bitter. Then I came along and changed that, so now that person only considers 19/20 Russian people to be bitter, with 1/20 Russians being nice. While it’s an interesting statistic, I highly doubt that it actually reflects the bitterness and kindness of Russian people. The example does, however highlight that the interactions we have with people will make us either biased against or in favour of that person’s nationality or religion.

In a similar fashion, I denied my Jewish identity (or rather failed to acknowledge the 50% of my identity that happens to be Jewish) until I was about 16, simply because I didn’t like the attitudes of my Dad’s side of the family and didn’t want to be associated with them. My dad’s side of the family had unfavourably coloured my perception of Judaism. That changed with time, partially because I had met a lot of really nice Jewish people and partially because I grew up and realised that my Dad’s relatives don’t represent the attitudes of the entire world Jewish population.

In ANY religion, nationality, tribe, group etc. you can find good and bad. There is no need to paint everyone with the same brush. The choices that we each individually make along with the attitudes we exhibit represent only ourselves, and not the religions, nationalities and organisations that we form part of.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

Guilty as charged

Image: KEVIN CURTIS via Getty Images, as sourced by http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/01/28/tyler-beavis-arrested-attempted-rape_n_6564918.html

I am a hypocrite. I have probably already contradicted myself several times in the last 48 hours of making my first few posts. Here I am preaching about the importance of tolerance, when I myself am just as intolerant as the people who I have described in my previous posts.

These posts not only serve to convey an important message to the world, they also remind me to work on myself. I’m trying really hard to dismantle intolerance within myself, towards a lot of things and its both challenging and rewarding.  I’m now going to share a few stories that I am not particularly proud of. Frankly just thinking about the examples makes me feel ashamed of myself, but I hope that I have come a long way since then.

I was getting ready to hit the town for a night out with a few girlfriends. I decided to be a little risque and put on a really revealing top. I wasn’t quite sure if it was appropriate, not just for that particular occasion, but generally ever.  When my husband (then fiance or boyfriend- I don’t exactly remember) saw what I was wearing, he gave me an unimpressed look followed by the sarcastic comment-  “Could you be wearing any less clothing?”

Immediately I felt empowered to start my unnecessary feminist rant of “I can wear what I want”, “This makes me happy”, “Don’t tell me how to dress” etc. Then the following scary-scary thought popped into my mind. It wasn’t just a fleeting thought, it was something that I had attached weight to-

“He demands me to cover-up because he is Muslim”.

I don’t have anything to say for myself. The thought entered my mind and I considered it. It was detrimental to me, to him, to our relationship and probably to humanity in general. ANYONE, including myself could have told me that the article of clothing was revealing. Had that person been my Mum, or my friend, I wouldn’t have gone ahead and dragged their religion into the discussion I was having with myself in my head.

I didn’t need to verbally articulate the thought, just thinking it was enough for it to be written on my face anyway. My better half read it in my eyes and said: “Are you really giving into what society thinks I’m going to do to you? Do you really think I am trying to break you? That I am trying to project Islam onto you? How could you think that?”

I cried, and he comforted me. I should have been comforting him and apologising profusely, but instead he held me and told me that everything was going to be okay and assured me that I am not a horrible person.

I’d love to say that stupid these thoughts stopped entering my consciousness after that occasion, but that would be a lie. Similar thoughts popped into my head when my Hubby told me that he wasn’t comfortable with me taking pole-dancing classes and that he didn’t like me staying out late at night without his company. He didn’t tell me to go to a mosque, befriend Mullahs and pray 5 times a day. But I felt entitled to interpret his concerns about my reputation and safety in that way.

My husband never gave me the third degree for having these impure thoughts. He didn’t label me “intolerant”  or “racist” or “religionist”. He just simply accepted me and continues to accept me for who I am, as I am, with whatever thoughts that enter my mind. This makes me wonder why can’t I just simply do the same? Why can’t we all do the same? Simply accept people as they are without labelling and without trying to force them into a mould produced by stereotypes. I know from my own experience that it’s easier said than done, but it needs to be done.

Having been born in a different country to parents of contrasting religions and growing up with a different culture, doesn’t make me any more or less susceptible to intolerance. In this regard, I need to work on myself just as much as anyone else does. The way we interpret what others say to us depends a lot on our own perceptions and paradigms, not necessarily on what the other person is actually saying. Lets not be quick to jump to conclusions, especially those offered to us by stereotypes.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

~

Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.