I’ve had enough. I’m calling it. This shit has gone on too long and my gag reflex, while exceptional, cannot take anymore of this. And by this, I mean the onslaught of apologetic drivel from Muslims across the globe.
Ever since, well forever, but let’s say 9/11 to keep this easier for you, Muslims have been on a sorry crusade to convince the Western world that although we’re different, we’re actually just like everyone else out there.
It’s been conveyed in numerous ways, most noticeably, and most popular, has been the ‘I’m Muslim and…’ message. Sometimes, it’s even ‘I’m Muslim but…’ It changes depending on which teen lead social media site has concocted what they obviously thought was a genius plan to redress stereotypes and contribute to a sociopolitical discussion. The only thing it really contributes to is my blood pressure. Which continues to rise as BuzzFeed type sites spit out more ridiculously inane lines before giving themselves a pat on the back for being culturally aware.
I’ve seen them all. Things like:
• ‘I’m Muslim but I like to date.’
• ‘I’m Muslim and I have Jewish friends’
• ‘I’m Muslim but I drink’
• ‘I’m Muslim and I work in tech.’
I’m torn between admiration for a society that has managed to displace us so completely that we believe we have to tell people we work in technology just to become ‘relatable’ (you have to admit it’s impressive), and complete rage at the Muslims who so happily go along with this because they’re so glad that they ‘finally have a voice’.
I want to tell them that trying to climb into someone else’s voice so that you’re easier to digest doesn’t make it your own. That’s not your voice and nor will it ever be.
I want them to stop using Jewish/Christian/Hindu friends as some kind of proxy trophy wife to prove their levels of humanity and caring. That’s great that you’ve got a Jewish mate, but really, no one cares.
I want to tell them that you can slip between the sheets and fuck who you want and they still won’t see you as an equal or the same. They’ll probably just slap another label on you and if you’re a woman, it’ll probably be ‘slut’.
I definitely want to tell them that talking about your middle class, socially acceptable job as a means of defining your place in this world is bullshit. Your job doesn’t make you and if it does, you should probably leave it.
If I have to see one more ‘enlightened’ statement that is trying to position Muslims as non-threatening and safe, I might just blow myself up (yes, I went there). If I meet someone, the only question I run past myself is; ‘is this person a cunt?’ If the answer is yes, keep moving. If it’s no, then great, we’ll be friends and your religion, job and sex life are facets of your personality and not the sum of your being and quite frankly, I couldn’t care which way you swung on all of them.
What really gets me is that while we’re all sitting here desperately trying to be exactly the same, we seem to have forgotten that we’re fundamentally different. I don’t mean that in a, ‘I’m about to bomb this train’ type of way, but more of a ‘we grew up with a different belief system’ type of way. I’ve lived in England since I was 4 and I’ve never tasted alcohol. So when my peers laugh over drunken antics, I have nothing to contribute to that conversation. When they nostalgically reminisce about their first crush and how their parents took them shopping for the first date, I can safely say my mum would have beaten me with a slipper if I had started discussing wardrobe options with her.
We may have lived on the same soil, but our reference points differed wildly, and that’s part of the beauty of living in a country that’s diverse and multicultural. When we were kids in primary school we all learnt about Diwali and Eid and other cultures. We celebrated it. Yet as we get older, we’re suddenly trying to sweep the differences under the rug so a Western audience will find Islam easier to swallow.
We’re all multifaceted creatures with tiny intricacies that make up the lace of humanity, and that’s pretty fucking glorious. But we’re sitting here pulling at the seams of who we are so the uneducated and misinformed masses can sleep better at night. All we really need is a little bit of knowledge and an admission of our differences. A celebration of them. Perhaps the next ‘viral’ video could say something like, ‘I’m British and here’s what I learnt about Islam’. It’s time we stopped apologizing, and others started learning. Islam has been on the defensive for far too long.