15 things I learnt about Islam and British values being a gay boy living opposite a mosque.
- No mosque has enough parking and muslim men love to complain about it. I don’t care how young or trendy they are, within seconds they will be pointing at bits of pavement muttering about the number of cars you could fit in there — like my Granddad from Manchester does at Sainsbury’s
- You can do that look British people do to each other, when someone near by is making a scene, in a full face veil.
- Muslims pray a lot.
- You will be happy they pray a lot when you get stabbed on your door step and are too scared to go outside. So you time your trips to the shops to coincide with these prays as the streets are full of friendly people.
- Muslims, like all British people have that one problematic uncle that kinda ruins family occasions.
- When confronted with something out of their comfort zone, like me and my boyfriend in full drag dancing down the road, muslims like all British people get flustered and over compensate with being overly polite — a bit like Hugh Grant.
- When finding out you have been dating your boyfriend for 5 years your muslim neighbours will be disgusted that you haven’t proposed. You hear “get a civil partnership — for your mothers sake” a lot.
- Apparently there is usually half a cup of tea next to the pray matt when praying at home — especially for morning prayers.
- Like in the rest of Britain all muslim fathers think their daughter is smarter than everyone, even though she is only 6 years old…
- …and that their son is a heartbreaker even though its clear to everyone else that he spends all his time on his Xbox.
- Young muslim women are really, really, really ambitious.
- British people’s dry sarcasm works really well when confronting the times the more traditional parts of islam come face to face with modern gay culture. For example when I donated 3 sequined crop tops to the islamic relief Syria clothing drive, one of the older guys their smirked, shaking my hand and saying “our brothers and sisters in Syria thank you for the evening wear.”
- There is always an Aunt who gets too involved in the wedding planning and annoys the bride.
- During ramadan and eid there will be so many people on the streets going to mosque that the drugs dealers will have to move to other places — making your area really safe for a while.
- Mothers will say anything to stop their kids nagging them. I once saw a Muslim mother tell her kid that wanted some fried chicken, after Friday night prayers, that the shop wasn’t halal even though there was a 5ft sq neon halal sign in the window. Reminds me of when my mum told me that the chip shop was closed for a private event as she wanted some peace.
The media stories about islam meant that I was genuinely a little nervous about moving in across the road to a mosque. What I have learnt in the four years since I moved is that the ridiculousness of British culture is universal. We all love tea, are really polite and tut rather than saying something, no matter our religion.