Some Things You May Not Know About Muslims

Hello, All. I first wrote this as a tweet on election day in the UK, but I thought it might be useful to include here as blog post.

Radicalised violence and terrorism in the UK is often closely followed by waves xenophobia and Islamophobia. As a liberal Muslim, I take a lot things with a rather healthy pinch of salt but, there has been a lot of misinformation in recent months, particularly in the run up to the UK general election. So, to challenge some of the inaccuracies and divisive rhetoric, I put together a list of some things you may not know about Muslims:

  • We aren't allowed to charge interest on any money we lend to others, this includes banks lending money too (my dad wrote his PhD thesis on this, it’s an amazing idea)
  • We have to give 2% of everything we earn to charity
  • We fast during Ramadan to feel the suffering of those less fortunate
  • Allah is just another name for the God from the Bible, Old Testament / Torah
  • I, and a lot of people like me, use the phrase, Allahu Akbar like my husband's family uses, Oy vey! 
  • As a British, Pakistani Muslim, I don't really have that much in common with a Middle Eastern American Muslim, or a Polish Indian Muslim. We are not the big, organised, homogenous, West-hating mass we are often made out to be. There's very little unification outside of our own nationality; much like everyone else in the country. There is no single voice of Islam and there is no one Muslim experience. We are just as intersectional as you are
  • Not all of us women wear headscarves, nor do we have to
  • Wahhabism and Islam are two very different things. Wahhabism is cray cray.
  • Anything a woman earns, or any money she brings into the household, belongs to her and her alone. It does not have to contribute to family life
  • We really, really, really like Jesus. In fact, he's our messiah too

If your view of Islam or feelings towards Muslims is influencing how you voted (or would vote), please just take the time to get to know us. Don’t let all this divisive fear mongering cloud your judgement. People like Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, who speak about us and for us with the intimate authority of a social anthropologist, but who have never spent any significant time in our community, know nothing. People like Theresa May and Donny Trumpo who wax lyrical about “Radical Islam”, but refuse to get out of bed with the nations funding these radical Islamist groups, know nothing. If you want to know how a Muslim thinks, feels or what we want, ask one. I'm here and it’s never too late to start a conversation.

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