Is Anne Frank’s Diary now Amina Farouk’s ?
20 June 2017.
Cautions are high. The temperature is high. Climate change is doing bits and I’m sitting here, having just finished a day of work at home, staring out the bedroom window.
It seems calm, almost as if nothing has happened. There’s a breeze. A much needed, warm gust of wind relieving us of the heatwave that’s taken over the city recently. Children are laughing, playing in the neighbourhood. The innocence of the laughter, the brightness of the day and the smooth wind choreographing the curtain contrast everything that’s happened.
I’m fasting. I’m trying to be spiritual. I’m also trying to make sense of some Python code I need to prepare for a major international data conference I’ve been accepted to present at. I’m excited. But that excitement and hope continuously gets tainted, shrivels up and decays in a coma awaiting revival.
You see, apparently I am not myself. I am not me. I am Muslim. Like visibly so.
What’s that supposed to mean though?
Right now at 17:21 it basically means that if a lad named Abdullah from Liverpool happens to do something another lad named Mike doesn’t quite like, a hijab wearing girl named Amina from London might just pay for it — with some acid to her face, a puncture to her lungs or worse, her life.
But Amina was just on her way to sit her GCSEs at school. She doesn’t even know Abdullah nor has she anything to do with him. ‘It doesn’t matter!’ says Mike, ‘they’re all the same, them Muslims!’
Amina’s gone now. She didn’t sit her GCSE that day. Her desk, empty. Her answer sheet, blank.
The media weighs in to ‘inform’ the public. Helping them form their opinions based on ‘facts’. The words ‘condemn’ , ‘ extremism’ , ‘Islam’ and the list goes on. Headlines that will produce more Mikes.
The collective apology situation is a given. Muslims, wherever or whoever they are, have to ‘explain’ and ‘apologise’ for something that even affects their wellbeing.
You could be at work and something happens. 6pm comes around and you’re headed home, hungry, still fasting after an exhausting and hot day. You jump on the train which you’re happy about because you’ve even got yourself a seat. You’d pat yourself on the back but your so tired and catching a glimpse of yourself in the window wasn’t a good idea. Is that a spot? Aaah need to drink more water.
You get off the train and fate is waiting for you. It wasn’t you. They don’t care. But they don’t even know you. Doesn’t matter. No-one cares that you’re just another human with a family trying to get home. The only thing that mattered was that you looked Muslim. Done deal.
So, Amina’s parents had to ‘stop with their sob story and take responsibility’ because you know, it was their fault that someone else did something.
She wasn’t Amina, she was Muslim. That’s all. That’s the point. And that is the definition of Islamophobia.
For this reason, a friend’s mother was spat on and verbally abused whilst commuting to work and a knife wielder looking for targets resulted in King’s Cross Station closing. This and more, only in the last 48 hours.
Today I didn’t go to work nor did I yesterday. A lot of people are avoiding going out for as long is possible. I emailed, requesting I work remotely until everything calms down. My request was granted.
We are relatively housebound now. Kids are looking over their shoulders when they’re outside. Nobody goes anywhere alone. Anything can happen.
I tell my cousin how I feel like “we’re under some type of ridiculous house arrest with this whole Anne Frank situation. Just being stuck because of our belief”. A nervous laugh. “No, that’s not going to happen.” Her eyes trail off softly “I mean I hope it doesn’t”.
I sensed something at that moment. Something deep. Like I needed to get some of the misunderstanding off my chest. We all hope it doesn’t turn into that type of situation but honestly, that’s how it started right.
I am by no means Anne Frank. But islamophobia and injustice has made me write this entry.