The colour of my skin didn’t shape who I am.
Coming from a Pakistani background, I always felt insecure about sharing my cultural background — instead alluding to self-deprecating humour to mask my insecurity.
The term, “Not all Muslim’s are Terrorists, But surely all Terrorists are Muslims”, started revolving around, and I dug myself deeper into being ashamed of how I would be perceived.
I chose to assimilate, keep my religious views to myself — embrace the culture I was visiting.
Adapt and accept, rather than Demand change and reject.
Surely, if foreigners visiting my country were to abide by the rules; I had to do the same.
Knowing full-well what visiting a foreign western culture means, I had to break out of my shell and not be so easily offended — instead extend a loving helping hand; hoping that I’d make some friends along the way.
I followed a simple rule, don’t be offended by things that do not hurt me.
Even then, something felt missing; even when I attempted my best at trying to assimilate, somehow somebody somewhere would mess it up — and I’d end up feeling ashamed and depressed again.
Being perceived with the paranoid look, “Is he one of those?”.
I starting reading up on Learned-Helplessness, and how it related to Depression.
I realised I was digging myself into the same category.
If society views people that look like me with the views represented by ignorant extremists, does that mean that’s all we can aspire to be?
If a child grows up around gangs, that’s the culture they think they best belong to; because that’s what they perceive is the best they can be — it’s not true.
When the media puts up a photograph of a bearded, muslim man, as a Terrorist; I felt like one too, not because I am one — but I would be perceived as such.
I couldn’t understand why I’d been cursed.
Why I had to feel like I always had to go a step further to prove I wasn’t all that bad, and there were others just like me.
“…but you know, you’re just a small minority of those people. Not all Muslims share the same views as you do. You’re fine, you’re a modern Muslim.”
I don’t know what a “Modern Muslim” is.
I’m against the Death Penalty, Capital Punishment, and Support Freedom of Speech.
My belief system is not that brittle as to be shattered by criticism.
There’s no such thing as “Hate-Speech”, maybe?
But there is such a thing as provocative behaviour, and I do believe that to be true.
There’s talks about “No-Go” Zones, and I’m not sure if they do exist; maybe they do — I’d have to visit to find out.
A little common sense would tell me that doing something deliberately to invoke violence would be considered provocative behaviour.
I’m not against how women dress, as a matter of fact most Pakistani women dress in western clothing.
I respect women, to the extent that I won’t view them as sexual objects.
I know some men do, men from my culture.
We do not all dress our women in burkas.
Neither are they prohibited to drive.
Most of my life I felt like an outsider, in my own country and foreign land.
I’ll never quite fit in.
Yet, I feel ashamed and embarrassed to show my face in public after I hear of a Muslim Terrorist attack.
Same as I do when I hear of a Mass-School Shooting.
Because it’s innocent people getting hurt.
Because it means we’re back to square-one, of having to justify “We’re not ALL bad”.
Only to receive the response,
“Not all Muslims are Terrorists, But surely all Terrorists are Muslims”.
I still cannot respond to that, but I’ll admit I understand when countries are fearful of people that look like I do; a bearded Muslim man.
Because how could they tell the difference? They have their right to be concerned.
I know muslims who drink more than my atheist friends do; so I guess that makes my muslim friends hypocrites when they proclaim that the ‘media’ is painting a bad image of us.
I don’t blame airport security for taking precautions when I approach them, I guess I just feel a little insecure, a little embarrassed of my skin, of my appearance, because it feels like that’s what had led to this moment.
I’m a uniform, not a person to them.
Neither can I protest to being subjected to extra security, after-all they’re just doing their job — can’t blame them for that.
I wish there was some harmony to be found when I see my young Niece and wish that she has a fruitful future, one without prejudice, one without insecurity, one that isn’t shaped by the colour of her skin.
In a family that supported me from my failed days in a Punk-Rock Band to basically being able to find solitude in kindness and opening our home to my friend from Sweden, Australia, Norway, and South-Africa.
I guess, I owe it to them to be a better person.
Better still, I owe it to the youth to not be disheartened by what’s going on in the world right now — how hated we’ve all come to be known.
How the world of opulence has blinded some of us, to a point where we feel it’s perfectly fine to have private planes fly in supercars so that our kind can harass residents of Knightsbridge, London.
I’d be frustrated too, not because I can’t afford one but because they’re horribly annoying — I’d rather wake up to my alarm clock rather than a roaring sound of a supercar engine with a driver barely able to handle it behind the wheel.
Yet we can’t bring ourselves to use those same private planes to lend a helping hand to those who are truly suffering — our own people?
We’re the first to complain and criticise foreign Immigration Policies, yet not one Middle-Eastern country has put forward a decent solution to fixing the Refugee Crisis.
Do I really have the right to mock the western world for at least trying to help?
In turn, the west receives criticism and hatred for their generosity.
Driving me further down the hole I’m currently in; of Identity Crisis.
Ashamed of showing my face in public.
Hiding my face behind a newspaper every time there’s news of a terrorist attack by a muslim extremist.
I can’t defend that, I can only hope there’s a better role-model for us to follow to dig us out of this ill-fated crisis of learned-helplessness.
I hope that things do change, and whilst hoping is all I can do — I hope that whilst we are trying to do better, I guess it might take a while.
Forevermore, your patience, love, and generosity is never the less appreciated.