Letter to the editor: Islamophobia is everywhere, but so is hope

Sabaa Qaisar, Hounslow, UK

Islamophobia is everywhere:

I, my sisters, and my mother have faced distrust and prejudice against us due to our purdah (hijab and modest clothing).

Once a boy in my year-six class was presented with four photos of women. Someone asked him whom he wouldn´t trust with directions, and he unashamedly pointed at the woman wearing a hijab, “She looks like a terrorist,” he said.

Why is it that this view has been drugged into the unconscious bias of society so deeply that many would associate me with terror in a single glance? How twisted is the world that claims to be progressive when it feels like my mere presence can disturb others? 

Almost three million Muslims live in England, yet many still regard them as “the other” and people to be wary of. Surely, we should be wary of the consequences of such narrow-mindedness in a diverse society.

Despite this, I have always stood tall, despite the misconceptions about my faith, I feel glory in it. This is because my belief in Islam makes me strong. So, I do not pity my existence as a Muslim, do not pity my hidden hair, do not pity the media’s glares, do not pity the often-terrorised understanding of my faith. 

Because I can say that although Islamophobia is everywhere, so is hope; fluttering like a butterfly, swooping into hearts, telling people to wake up and look at Muslims for their attributes, for the joy and pleasure they feel from their faith, and to realise that if they love their faith, surely there is nothing to fear.

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