Wednesday 19th June 2013

Leaving work yesterday evening I saw a young couple canoodling behind the offices. Not an unusual sight I suppose in the middle of a large cosmopolitan city in central England on a warm slightly grey evening. A young Asian couple probably not more than 17-18 years of age sharing a little bit of intimacy before heading home. They certainly didn’t look old enough to be a married couple! What made me stop and look again was the fact that the young pretty girl – dressed relatively modestly in jeans and a top and jacket was wearing the hijab.

For far too many young girls the hijab or headscarf has become little more than a fashion accessory and a way of earning more freedom from their families. Wearing a headscarf has become synonymous with being a good Muslim and conversely if you’re not wearing a headscarf by definition you become a bad Muslim. Yet the whole notion of modesty is so lost on this group of young people. Why do they feel so torn between cultures?

There is a real need to work with the young Muslims in this country and ensure they understand the teachings of Islam in such a way that they fully appreciate what is expected of them not just as Muslims, but as representatives of Islam and just as importantly as citizens in British society. There is no clash of cultures – there is just a need to understand how to balance our lives and how to make full use of and embrace all that is good around us and stay away from all that is not.

One thought on “Wednesday 19th June 2013

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  1. When having lunch in Stoke-on-Trent College a couple of years ago I engaged a couple of non-European females in conversation, who were sitting at the next table.
    My curiosity had been aroused as to what nationality they were, as from their attire, and body language, and general demeanour, they speaking also in a foreign language -as to what country they ‘belonged’ or originated from.
    So a ‘guessing game’ ensued -which delighted and amused them, especially more so as I was so far well ‘off the mark’ with my first few attempts. I tried several middle-east countries first without success, then moved into S. East Europe (the Balkans and Turkey -again failing, -and in the end, and priding myself on my ‘sense of international identities’, dismayed to have to admit defeat, they, giggling, said with gusto, ‘We’re from Pakistan!’
    Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather! They seemed as ‘western’ as any female indigenous ‘stokie’ in the room. They wore jeans, fashionable shoes, t-shirt, and most importantly -neither had them covered their head/hair with a scarf.
    When I pointed this out to them as why I didn’t guess correctly, they giggled more and said that they were very surprised on arriving in England of how many Muslims females wore the head-scarf or Hijab -compared to their home city in Pakistan.
    I pursued this aspect and asked if they were regular adherents of Islam -and they both replied that they were, and wearing of the scarf or not had nothing to do with their beliefs. I found the pair of them quite refreshing.

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