I was first introduced to the term Islamophobia in year 9 by my R.E teacher who began the lesson by asking everyone “who here is a bit hesitant when they see a muslim walking down their way?” I among others honestly put our hands up, not too sure why this had anything to do with Catholicism. But then we got shown the truth behind it all. Since that day I learnt to judge people by not what is on their head but what is in their head.
For those of you who don’t know what Islamophobia is, it is the “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.” It is when you are suddenly so scared of a person JUST because they are a Muslim, when they too are human like you. Wanting to do psychology at A-level I was interested in learning about the brain and one of the terms I came across is phobias. Phobias are actually a learnt behavior that either can grow into something worse or it can be something that you can break free from. The media portrays and links terrorism to Islam and having this repeatedly shown on the news and social media your brain starts to link faces of Muslim men, woman to terrorism. Now this is wrong because those people shown on the news are nothing but extremists. Extremists are found in every religion even in mine. There are so many innocent Muslims out there who are left to face the questions created by these extremists. They are people just like me and you.
The reason I am writing about all this is because I had to witness the most horrifying thing yesterday as I was walking through town. I was just waiting for my mum to come and pick me up in an alleyway when I saw it. A Muslim couple being physically and verbally abused when they did absolutely nothing wrong. They were just walking by probably just finished their weekend shop, minding their own business when a couple of immature men, no they aren’t men, they don’t deserve that, boys started picking a fight saying how they should go back to their own country and that they should just die. All I could do was shout at them while two of them started punching and kicking the man and the other started ripping of the girls hijab. They left as soon as I turned to go into the nearest place to get help which so happened to be a pub. The owner came out and helped with first aid and by the time they were all good to go my mother pulled up and I had to go. To say I was shook would be an understatement.
I am a strong believer in the Catholic faith but I respect all religions. Each religion has it’s own beauty. So I wish to start a movement to show support to those who are Muslims but aren’t terrorists. To some how ease the troubles they have to face every day by showing that we care. To encourage them to walk through the streets with their head held high and not to feel ashamed to wear their hijabs with pride. Come on we have to respect these women who respect their bodies, who live life with modesty. Behind the hijabs are women just like me and you, unless of course you are a guy. They are not monsters or animals that you get to shout hate at, they too are human. We are one. I wish I could do something for the guys side but couldn’t think of anything. If you got any ideas hit me up.
How to get involved?
- Take a picture of yourself wearing a hijab or a scarf on your head, covering your hair, like so.
- Post it on social media (I’m doing it on Instagram)
- Caption it “This is to show our support to all those Muslims out there facing discrimination, it is not intended to disrespect the religion or it’s customs. Islam is a religion of peace not war”
- Hashtag it #behindtheveil
- Tag your friends and encourage them to join in
I honestly have no idea how well this will turn out but I think everyone should get involved.