Editorial - Who Am I?

Sajid Iqbal

I’m a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, a son and a daughter. I’m a child, a teenager and an adult. I’m a neighbour, team mate, work colleague and soul mate. I’m a student, a graduate and a teacher. I’m soap mad, a football fan, a food fanatic and a shopaholic. I’m normal, special, ambitious, creative and fun.

So what am I? I’m a Muslim.

Yep that’s right. It’s me you sit next to on the bus everyday. It’s me you see on the train to work. It’s me who smiles at you at the coffee shop. It’s me that you see bringing my kids from school. It’s me that leads the team meetings at work. It’s me that celebrates with you when United score.

And I’m still the same Muslim.

Do you recognise me? No. Why not?

Did you think I was the terrorist? Did you think I was a wannabe suicide bomber? Did you think I was the fanatic? Did you think I was the fundamentalist? Did you think I only attended angry marches? Did you think I burnt effigies? Did you think that I hate you? Did you think I was intolerant of others?

Did you not think that I was normal?

But I’m still the same old Muslim I’ve always been.

When 9/11, 7/7, and the recent bomb threats in Glasgow and London took place did you think it was me? Did you look at me suspiciously? Were you afraid of me? Did you start hating me? Did you think I should ‘go home’? Did you think I was the enemy within?

But I’m still the same old Muslim I’ve always been.

What is it about me that makes you uncomfortable?

Is it my beard or my headscarf? Is it my long robe? Is it my hat or my turban? Is it because I pray? Is it coz I don’t drink or go clubbin’? Is it because I’m different to you? Is it because I speak a second language? Is it because you think I’ve got your job? Is it because my name is foreign to you? Is it because I go to the mosque?

But I’m still the same old Muslim I’ve always been.

I’m a Muslim like 2 million others in the UK. There are 1.6 billion of us worldwide.

I am human like you. I am normal like you. I work and play like you. I am law abiding like you. So don’t fear me but talk to me. Don’t judge me but respect me like you respect others. Don’t isolate me but rather help me to integrate with you. Don’t blame me for what others do. Just like I don’t blame you for the actions of others. Don’t have misconceptions about me but invite me for tea so I can answer your misconceptions.

You and I may have different beliefs, different ideologies, different dress codes, different tastes in food, different languages, different cultures and different social lives. But I live here and you live here. The law of the land is the same for both of us. We go to the same school, college and uni. We go to the same work place. We both want to have a peaceful and fun life. We both want to see our kids and loved ones safe and happy. We both want to pay off our debts. We both want success.

I’m still the same old Muslim I’ve always been.

And a word or two to Muslims like me...

Let me ask you: Do you get really hacked off when non-Muslims label you, put you in to categories and stereotype you?

If you don’t want to be labelled as a terrorist, a fanatic and extremist by non-Muslims then don’t label non-Muslims too. Don’t see them all as part of the BNP. Don’t brand them all as racist just coz of a few. Don’t put them into categories and stereotypes. Treat them as individuals if that’s how you want to be treated too.

Don’t accuse them of Islamophobia simply because they disagree with you. They have a right to do so just like you do- that doesn’t mean they are racist or they hate you- it’s called democracy, freedom of speech and expression. If you don’t want to be accused of being intolerant of other views then prove you are tolerant by respecting different views without throwing a rage.

Let me ask you again: Do you get really peed off when you are called an extremist, radical, the enemy within, backward and so on?

So what are you actually doing as a British citizen to make sure non-Muslims don’t think of you in a negative or derogatory manner? Do you have the right manners and etiquettes of a Muslim? Do you practice peace and tolerance? Do you practice what you preach? Are you a walking, talking advert for Islam? Or is it because of your behaviour and mentality that you are seen in a negative manner? Let me ask you finally: Are you desperate to be seen as a good person?

You should never be desperate to please anyone but Allah (swt). Just be yourself. Practice Islam with wisdom and automatically you will be a good advert for your faith and you will not be seen negatively. But you have to do your bit first. If you are still accused of everything under the sun...then don’t let it bother you. Show a bit of patience and with the help of Allah (swt) people will see you in a positive light.

How do you see me now? How do I see you now?

I am still the same old Muslim I’ve always been.


i like it, nice piece of writing mashaAllah. and i agree, i wouldnt go outa my way to please people even if they do think im a terrorist lol. just gnna stick to bein myself, which is a good way to go (even if i do say so myself! Wink

"Verily, in the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find rest"

If someone thinks you're a terrorist then you should correct them! Poor people thinking you've got a bomb hidden under your scarf...wait where did that stereotype/misconception/whatever come from?? Why would you put on your head...why would you attach it to your body?? Terrorists are stupidddd

"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi

I really like it, thought provoking, well written and in a way-poetic. But I think the flow of the writing is a little disturbed by the 'clubbin' instead of clubbing and the 'coz' instead of the because and the 'peed' instead of pretty much any other word that means angry. The serious tone that asks you to contemplate is lost because you end up focusing on those words.

Still, sends a meaningful message that many of us can probably relate to, well done Ed! (Oh and I know it was written for an old issue but hey)

Jihad of the Nafs (The Struggle of the Soul)