Please stop trying to convert me. You have no idea how insulting you are
No, I’m not going to see the light, yes, I have read the Quaran
There is a certain type of muslim man who really makes me squirm.
“What faith are you, achoti?”
“Oh…we are all of one God.”
“…Please achoti, read the Quaran…”
I HAVE. I’ve actually read three different translations. I’ve studied Islam. When I tell you this, you look at me, baffled. Then why haven’t I converted? The fact that I haven’t is completely bizarre to you. Then it hits you. I must have just not heard the real version from an imam. You try and push me to attend a mosque. You just don’t get it. I could attend 500 mosques and still not believe the Quaran. I’m very, very happy not being a Muslim. You seem to view this as some sort of grave insult. It’s not. I’m completely comfortable with you being a different faith to me. Why can’t you accept mine?
If it’s not trying to push me to be a Muslim, it’s trying to push me to observe hijab. Please achoti, cover yourself and glory in Allah. Please achoti, respect yourself. Please achoti, don’t you know a lollipop should be covered? Please achoti, a good woman veils.
I am a good woman. I’m a very good woman. I do my homework, I give food to homeless people, I give my seat up on the tube if someone needs it. I find the idea that I’m ‘bad’ because I don’t follow a cultural practice of dressing really rude. If I demanded a muslim woman took off her hijab, you’d be rightly outraged. So why the hell are you demanding I put one on? It isn’t my faith, my culture or my tradition. Respect goes both ways. You insist you are trying to help me. But it just comes across as an insult. You can’t respect my personal beliefs or choices, but demand I follow yours. That’s not tolerance, that’s really supremacist.
This is made even worse by the fact you often combine it with a particularly toxic brand of misogyny and antisemitism. The reason I should veil is because I should ‘respect myself’. I do respect myself. I don’t drink or smoke because I believe health is important. Where is your respect for me? Why can’t you see past my clothes and onto my ethics? To you, I am in some way unclean or immoral purely for a neckline. You point out that my future husband won’t want a ‘woman who has been gazed upon by a 1000 men’. Why not? Why on earth would I marry a man who thought my value was in how many men looked at me? As for Judaism, you ask me to explain why ‘Jews run the world’ or why ‘Israel wants to wipe out Islam’ or even to confess that ‘Zionists were behind 9/11’. Don’t you realise how offensive you are being? I’m not your ‘achoti’. I’m a very pissed off woman.
I will respect your right to be muslim. I will defend a women’s right to wear the hijab, I will condemn those who seek to persecute you, and I will champion your right to worship and live in peace alongside other faiths.
Just please respect my right not to be a muslim, my right not to wear a hijab, condemn those who seek to persecute me and champion my right to worship and live in peace alongside other faiths.