Ban the burka

Life today for Muslim women in the UK is completely different to when I was growing up in a Muslim home. You know you are getting old when you start saying ‘the good old days’ when talking about the past. But life in Glasgow, Scotland in the 70s and 80s for Muslim women was actually really good. Yes, there was racism, but other communities had to put up with that too. The Muslim community doesn’t have a monopoly on victim status.

It was frightening to have our windows smashed by young white men who were not pleased we had moved into their predominantly white area. It was frightening to have white men and women swear at you ‘fucking darkies’ or ‘smelly paki lover’ as you walked passed them, as I experienced when out with my mother, a white Catholic who had converted to Islam, when she married my father. Thankfully, the racism from children at school was less frightening and it didn’t take long for me to be accepted by my classmates. Children are better at integrating than most adults.

Back then the Pakistani community was decent. Everything was all new and exciting. The men had come over to earn a living and make a new life in the UK and in time called for their families to join them or created new families, the first generation to be born in the UK, my generation. Pakistani people, when they first arrived, were relaxed about their religion. There were few hijabs, and niqabs and burkas were fewer still. Men with long beards were generally only the very devout, such as an old uncle or perhaps the occasional eccentric teenager who took his religion far too seriously, and it often went hand in hand with regular praying and learning the Quran off by heart. The majority of Pakistani women and girls in the UK wore a headscarf, either round their neck or on their head, but not to cover their hair

Today Muslim girls face far less racism than when I was growing up, and again I would argue no worse than other ethnic minorities. The more serious problems they face are within their own communities, such as the dilemma of covering or not covering – assuming they have that choice. Everybody is interested in what a Muslim woman should wear and politicians in Europe are now discussing a ban on the burka.

The burka is a head to toe garment that has a piece of mesh to allow the women to see through. Seeing a woman wearing the burka makes me feel uneasy, and I am a woman of Muslim heritage. It makes me feel uneasy for a number of reasons, the main one being I cannot see the woman behind the burka, I cannot see her facial expressions. Is she happy, is she miserable, is she bored talking to me, is she up to no good? Who knows? When a woman wears a burka I am denied the ability to receive crucial non-verbal communication that is a natural part of everyday human interactions in open and free societies. These are simple things we all take for granted when conversing with one another and meeting people for the first time.

Deep down you just know, or at the very least suspect, that the women wearing the burkas will be married to, or are the daughters of, men with beards, long beards. Men who take their religion very seriously. Men who regularly pray at the mosques that preach hate. Men who teach their children to hate the kaffir and all things Western. To say families like this do not live in the UK is foolish.

Women can be seen in burkas at Islamic protests in the UK, protesting with banners calling for ‘Death to those who insult Islam,’ and ‘Sharia Law for the UK’ sometimes even accompanied by children in prams. Sadly, for too many people the burka symbolises something sinister and when you see burka clad women calling for Sharia Law, you can understand why.

Nowhere in the Quran does it say to cloak the women in a black bag with only a tiny piece of mesh to allow them to see where they are going. Nowhere in the Quran does it say to cover your hair, yet many Muslim women do, and they say it is their own free choice. The whole question of what is or is not in the Quran seems to me irrelevant here, though, because if burkas and hijabs are “nothing to do with Islam”, why then is it “Islamophobic” to object to them? And why are they always justified in the name of religious freedom? Which specific religion might that be?

Women in hijabs do not concern me as much as women in burkas, but I fear that our soft stance on the hijab, which like the burka is also a symbol and tool of women’s oppression, has helped lay the path for making the burka so acceptable in mainstream society. At least when someone is wearing a hijab, though, I can see their face and I can converse with them pretty much normally.

Some hijab wearers try to make non-hijab wearers feel guilty and shameful for not covering their head. There was one hijab wearing girl at my school in the 80s – yes just one. We all felt sorry for her, we the lucky Muslim girls who did not have to wear even a scarf to school, never mind the hijab. Now some Muslim girls are feeling sorry for those without a hijab.

I used to think that the hijab wearing girls and women who had a full face of make up done (I swear some of these girls have a make up artist on speed dial) – you know, the ones with skin tight clothes and high heels – were kind of defeating the purpose of the hijab. If it is to be worn to cover your hair and hide your attractiveness to the opposite sex, to make you look pious and protected in the eyes of Allah, then why draw attention to yourself? Now I view those girls as rebellious and mischievous, and I like that, even though they may not think that way of themselves. But even though I might like their own sassy interpretation of how a hijab is to be worn, the downside is that it makes the hijab more and more acceptable and “trendy”, which I think is bad news. This then encourages high street retailers to cater for this fashion trend, normalising the hijab even more.

The burka offers no such choices, and comes only in one style and perhaps two colours, black and dark blue. The burka is incredibly oppressive; it allows men to control the women in their families. How insecure does a man have to be that he will not allow his wife or daughters to leave the house until every part of her is covered up? These men claim their religion is compassionate yet they impose on their womenfolk an oppressive rule made by men to control women.

That we are even having a debate on whether the burka should be banned or not is pathetic. When you see the actions of many burka clad Muslim women on the high streets of towns and cities in certain parts of the UK, promoting death to all things British, to behead those who insult Islam and calling for Sharia Law, you wonder why the ban is not in place already.

If anything banning the burka is probably one of the simplest ways Britain could assert its culture and its values in the face of hostile and uncompromising Islamisation. Banning the burka should be low-hanging fruit. But Britain hasn’t even got the bottle to do that. This is not tolerance. It is weakness. If we can’t win the easy battles, we will never win the difficult ones.

Religion and the Politics of Distraction

 

“There is no significant far-right or nativist party in our politics; in January 2016, the noxious British National Party quietly slipped out of existence, crippled by internal feuding and financial debt (mostly brought about, I am pleased to say, by legal action I took as chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission).” Trevor Philips – Race and Faith: The Deafening Silence.

I grew up in a home that was very much all about the Labour party, with political talk in the household dominated by the assumption of support for Labour and parents who attended the party’s events religiously. My father also hosted regular dinner parties where Labour party councillors would be invited, along with other men, to eat a variety of curries and to discuss politics.

There was a clear division at these parties: the women usually did the cooking and the men discussed politics. Maybe it was this that made me avoid politics. Maybe at some point I just accepted that all political discussions should be left to the men and that my role would be to attend to the chores, like life was back in the 70s and 80s for so many people.

Whatever the reason I am glad I didn’t waste my life following politics and watching as every political party lied and cheated its way through the latest scandals and accusations. Even if I had immersed myself in politics, though, I would still struggle, as I do now, to understand and keep up with all the labels that people give to themselves or to each other: left, right, far left, far right, progressive, (as though anyone would boast they’re not “progressive”), regressive, liberal (again who would boast they’re “illiberal?”), secular, moderate and extreme to name some of them. Having grown up with labels, such as ‘the gori’s daughter,’ ‘paki’, ‘coconut’ and ‘half caste,’ you can understand when I say the only labels I like these days are the ones of the designer variety. (Birkin is my favourite, if you must know.)

The Labour party have recently been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with a number of councillors and MPs suspended for anti-Semitism. There are other councillors who make remarks that are quite clearly racist and if it had been a white councillor making these comments then cries of ‘racist’ would forever follow them around, but because it‘s, say, a Muslim woman then it seems everyone just moves on once that person has reeled off a formulaic and unconvincing apology in the face of public pressure.

The issue of gender segregation at Labour party meetings is also well documented, with non-Muslim members bending over backwards to accommodate the wishes of their fellow Muslim members, usually male. These wishes (actually they’re not wishes at all but demands) have no place in a secular society and any political party that has the cheek to call itself “progressive” should not indulge them.

The Labour party, we now know, have also been part of a mass cover-up going back thirty years, of vulnerable underage girls being raped by gangs of Muslim men, in towns and cities across the UK.

The Conservative party is not free from scandal and corruption either, and there are numerous stories surrounding them. Theresa May has promised an independent inquiry into the operation of Sharia courts in the UK; this came about after concerns were raised that these “courts” discriminate against women. There are an estimated 30 to 85 Sharia “courts” operating in the UK. It will be interesting to see what is uncovered, or more to the point, what action is actually taken if the enquiry uncovers what any decent person already knows. We shouldn’t hold out too much hope for this enquiry given that Theresa May has been known to cover her head with a scarf when meeting with self appointed Muslim community leaders. In doing so, she is actually obeying sharia law.

The Conservative party are also guilty, more indirectly, of the cover-up of the grooming gangs scandal for fear of being labelled racist, even though the areas in which grooming was taking place were Labour majority areas. They are guilty because someone in the party had to know what was going on.

Zac Goldsmith stood as the Tory candidate for Mayor of London and when he challenged Sadiq Khan on his links to extremism, the race card came out and Zac Goldsmith was instantly accused of running a “racist” campaign. Goldsmith challenging Khan on his links to extremism was more serious than Khan’s links to extremism.

Just recently there have been serious concerns that a known terrorist sympathiser has been granted a visa to visit the UK from his home in Pakistan. If I, somebody with no real knowledge of politics, thinks that a terrorist sympathiser should be the last person to be given a visa then why are those in power allowing it? A terrorist sympathiser is being welcomed into this country and yet half a million signatures were gathered to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK. Trump holds some controversial views, there is no doubt about that, but it is because he challenges the ideology of Islam that he is smeared. Fear of being labelled racist shuts down debates amongst ‘normal people’ and the recent elections for the Mayor of London showed us how easy it is to silence people, and even to neuter the political process, with the word “racist.”

The Scottish National Party is Scotland’s largest political party and was formed in 1934, but it wasn’t until the 50s and 60s that their popularity started to grow thanks to resentment of Westminster’s control of Scottish affairs. In the late 90s the SNP ventured into the mainstream of Scottish politics and it was probably around this time that my staunch Labour supporting parents became SNP members, along with many other people living in Scotland, regardless of religious background. Like every other political party the SNP are not without their scandals and there have been stories involving finances, racism and marital affairs.

One of the differences between these three political parties is that the SNP have so far escaped a rape cover-up scandal. I say so far because I believe it is inevitable. We have seen the proof of the cover-up of grooming gangs which were operating in towns and cities in the UK, such as in Rotherham where at least 1,400 girls were raped because politicians, the police and everyone else with the responsibility for safeguarding children exchanged their moral and vocational obligations for a worthless badge proving they weren’t racist. To believe that Scotland has been immune from the Muslim grooming gangs phenomenon and that no such cover-up has taken place here is foolish and naïve in the extreme.

Then we have UKIP, a political party that I only heard about a few years ago. A party whose entire membership and voter base are racists and homophobes, every last one of them, according to mainstream media and therefore according to the general public who often believe whatever the media feed them. It makes no difference that UKIP have no actual racist policies and that they have members, supporters and elected officials from all ethnic backgrounds, gay and straight (how many people know that UKIP’s candidate for London Mayor, Peter Whittle, is openly gay?) If you even mention UKIP in conversation with friends instantly they will describe them as ‘racists and bigots and fascists.’ And don’t dare tell anyone you are voting for them because then you will be viewed as the lowest of the low. UKIP are deemed worse than the Labour and Conservative parties who turned a blind eye to the rape of children. Wanting to control immigration or even discuss immigration is a bigger crime than rape, for the deluded and virtue-signallers.

Also interesting to note is the treatment of UKIP’s Anne Marie Waters, who is the founder of Sharia Watch UK, (whose website is hacked on a regular basis). Many people smear Anne Marie as a racist or say she spends too much time criticising Islam, the same criticism Tommy Robinson receives. Anne Marie set up Sharia Watch to confront the growing influence of Sharia in the UK, such as Sharia Councils. Many women from Middle Eastern countries have emailed her and she has a huge support from women living in countries under Sharia law. These Muslim women do not care that Anne Marie is white, or that her party is UKIP. Living under barbaric, deathly rules with their every move controlled and perhaps every part of their bodies cloaked in black, they have slightly more important things to worry about. If anything should outrage them about the political behaviour in the UK, it should be the Labour party’s cowardly appeasement of the very ideology that makes these women’s lives so dreadful. For those that have witnessed the appalling smearing of Anne Marie, it should be very obvious that Sharia does not want to be watched in the UK.

For daring to discuss the problems with multiculturalism, Islam and mass immigration, Anne Marie is smeared as a racist and people, who may have otherwise listened to what she has to say, avoid her because, you know, she is racist – because she talks in actual facts.

I like facts and I like people who are honest and are not scared to tell the truth. Yes there is a problem with Islam, yes we have to talk about mass immigration and yes we need to look at the ways in which multiculturalism has failed and is still failing. Why are we so quick to say someone is a racist or holds bigoted views for wanting to discuss this? Anne Marie was an active member of the Labour party for 8 years before joining UKIP, at which point she realised very quickly how people who were once friends no longer wanted anything to do with her, all because of her new political leanings and mainly because she wanted to talk about immigration.

Anne Marie is also the Deputy Leader of Pegida UK, a street movement that is rarely given a fair hearing by the mainstream media with the result that Pegida is generally viewed as a nasty and thuggish organisation who hate Muslims. The fact that ex-Muslims and Muslims alike support what Pegida are trying to do makes no difference to those who have decided it is easier to call them racist than to admit that perhaps they have a point and are part of the solution rather than the problem.

“The Pegida UK event will be a peaceful, no-alcohol, silent march of protest. Families and people from all backgrounds are welcome to join patriots from all over the country in Rotherham on June 4th. Homophobes, Nazis, racists and anti-Semites, however, are not welcome. PEGIDA UK is in Rotherham to demand people’s rights are protected, that people receive justice, and that all are treated equally under one British law.”

When I first saw Pegida’s silent march for the raped and abused young girls of Rotherham advertised, I thought “I want to go, I want to march in silence for the girls but for the non-white girls.” Not because I didn’t care about the white girls who were undoubtedly the greatest victims of the grooming gangs – of course I do but perhaps I was just worried that people might overlook Muslim victims of these grooming gangs. I thought I would get up and join the speakers on stage and give a speech for the non-white girls and let them know they weren’t forgotten. I emailed Anne Marie and asked if it would be possible to give a speech for the girls nobody is speaking about, the forgotten victims of the grooming scandals, forgotten because the shame and honour surrounding rape in their community is placed higher than help and justice for the victims. She replied and said she would be marching for ALL the girls but that I was more than welcome to come along and march with her and also give a speech.

The date was changed from 28th May to 4th June but, sadly, having other commitments meant I could no longer attend. If I am honest I was somewhat pleased at the change of dates as the thought of publicly speaking, even for such an important cause, filled me with dread. But knowing that Anne Marie was going to be there for all the victims of the grooming gangs I didn’t feel too bad at letting them down.

We shouldn’t need Sharia Watch, UKIP or Pegida to tell us that many women are oppressed in the countries where Sharia is law, or in the UK where its influence is sadly growing.  It should be common knowledge and the only controversial thing should be failing to tackle it, rather than tackling it.

Yet when Anne Marie is vocal about these issues and writes about them she is a “racist” and if you associate with her in any way, then by default you too are a “racist”. Even if you’re Muslim. Go figure.

UKIP’s popularity has been increasing slowly over the years and the reasons for this are perhaps similar to the rise of the SNP’s popularity in the late 90s. With the SNP it was a desire to control Scottish affairs and with UKIP the desire is to keep Britain, British. Which means discussing immigration, discussing Islam, and discussing the real danger that Sharia law, one day, will be implemented into parts of Britain.

UKIP has its share of scandals involving racism, homophobia and sexism within the party and amongst its members, like every other political party. But because this particular party is willing to discuss taboo subjects such as immigration, Islam and British identity, that criticism lacks any sense of proportion, and often indeed any sense of truth, and so the one political party that is perhaps best placed to confront these crucial issues, and which is most willing to speak frankly, is constantly silenced and demonised – which means those crucial matters simply fester.

What happens after that? Well, if credible, mainstream organisations such as UKIP are not allowed to confront these issues then other organisations will, and they will not be pleasant. So, well done to all you ‘anti-racists’ for trying to silence and demonise UKIP. You’ve made it much more likely that actual racist organisations will flourish. What a wonderful achievement.

 

 

 

 

Muslims must focus on their own behaviour, not that of their fellow Muslims

 

Everyone, it seems, is interested in what religion you follow. In Glasgow you are usually asked what school you went to and if you reply Saint this or Our Ladies that then the person asking will know you are a Catholic. I have been asked many times if I am Muslim as I have a Muslim name. Am I a Muslim? I suppose I am, because I was born into a Muslim family, even though my mother is a Catholic. She gave up her religion when she met my father and converted to Islam. In Islam, the religion of the father trumps the religion of the mother and I have never felt an affiliation to Catholicism.

I never knew anything about the Catholic religion when I was growing up and even today I know little about it apart from confessions, Mass and Hail Marys.

Religion should be a private matter between individuals and their chosen God. All religions declare that ‘Only God can judge me’ yet its followers spend a huge amount of time judging each other. It’s a human trait no matter what religion you follow or don’t follow.

Many Muslims who leave their religion call themselves Ex Muslims. There was recently even a popular hashtag on Twitter #exmuslimbecause, where people were leaving comments as to why they left Islam. I also left a comment or two even though I do not see myself as Ex Muslim; I did this in solidarity with those who had left Islam and in solidarity with those who live in countries where it is punishable by lashings and death.

“I am of Muslim heritage” is how I describe myself to people who ask. I tell them my father is a Muslim and my mother a Catholic. I did not choose to be a Muslim it was forced upon me, at birth, by my parents. Why, then, do I hold onto the Muslim label, you may wonder, when I do not pray five times a day, I rarely eat halal meat, I drink alcohol and on rare occasions I even eat a bacon sandwich? And as crazy as it sounds I have no idea why I have this need to label myself as someone of Muslim heritage. I don’t go around shouting it for all to hear, just my answer when the discussion comes round to religion.

Growing up in a Muslim home the indoctrination runs deep, the fear of the hell fire never quite leaves you and also turning your back on the religion is a sure way of being shunned by your family and the community. For me the problem of being shunned is no big deal, as I was disowned many, many years ago. For other Muslims, though, it can be a matter of life and death in some countries and even in the UK, where it is relatively safer, the fear of losing contact with all that is familiar, your family and the community, means it is just easier to say you are still Muslim.

I am lucky that my Muslim friends don’t really care if I am religious or not, and they accept me for who I am. They themselves are not overly religious. Some drink alcohol but eat only halal meat; some pray only on Eid and at funerals. Some give nothing to charity and have not been on Hajj (something that all Muslims are encouraged to do in their lifetime, at least once). Many are Muslim by name only. Who decides if they are good enough Muslims or not? Not me. And it should certainly not be fellow Muslims or Mullahs, Sheikhs and self-proclaimed scholars of Islam. It’s between that individual and God.

Being Muslim is on a different level, today, to when I was growing up. Back then it was racism and ignorance from non-Muslims that was our biggest fear. Today the hatred towards Muslims from their fellow Muslims is, in my opinion, far worse than the racism I experienced growing up, which now actually seems quite trivial in comparison. Hatred from fellow Muslims is worse because it is so much more dangerous than the racism I grew up with, and also because it’s incredibly hypocritical too: how often do you hear Muslim ‘leaders’ take to the airwaves to tell us how compassionate and peaceful Islam is? Sadly, this compassion rarely extends to allowing fellow Muslims to practice Islam as they choose, as individuals, and it certainly doesn’t include letting Muslims leave Islam safely. All the other religions have no problems with their followers leaving and most family members still love and welcome their children if they choose to stop attending the church or the chapel. With Islam it is a different story and openly leaving Islam is dangerous for many, regardless of where you live in the world.

Maybe social media is partly to blame, as we can now connect with people from all over the world and not all connections are positive. There are so many different labels for Muslims: progressive, liberal, secular, moderate, ex, and depending which label you give yourself, your fellow Muslims will attack you for not, in their eyes, being a good enough Muslim. And if you are a liberal Muslim woman then the hate and vitriol aimed at you will be ten times worse than what the men have to put up with.

London now has a Muslim mayor and people are divided about how they feel about this. There are many Muslims and non-Muslims who are rightly questioning his links with extremists and then there are those who are claiming he is not Muslim enough.

Maybe if the Muslim community stopped gossiping about each other’s business, and also stopped playing the racism/Islamophobia card at the drop of a hat (something the new Mayor of London did when his extremism connections were questioned in the electoral campaign), and focus instead on their own individual relationship with God, rather than everyone else’s, our news wouldn’t be filled to bursting point with so many sickening stories whose common factor is Islam. Until Muslims, en masse, can get even a basic handle on the concept of personal liberty and freedom – something people of other faiths and no faith throughout Europe have generally managed to do- I fear that as far as the harm Islam can cause, we really ain’t seen nothing yet.

 

 

Islam kills women

 

When I was asked to write a piece on the campaign ‘Islam kills women’ I instantly thought of all the women and girls, who had been murdered in the UK or around the world, and whose tragic stories I had read. I thought of the women who are oppressed in countries ruled by Sharia law, countries in which women are killed by Muslim men, in the name of Islam.

We know it happens. And we know the difficulties women face in Islamic countries if they challenge the laws.

I have lost track of how many petitions I have signed in the hope that prisoners will be released. Prisoned for questioning the hypocrisy and barbarity that is evident in all Islamic countries.

We know it happens here, in the UK, where figures show 12 honour killings a year are reported. When I was asked to write this piece I did not for a minute think or ask, “Why pick on Islam only?” I did not for a minute think it was racist or bigoted to focus on Islam and only Islam, and the women killed by Muslim men who believe Allah will be pleased by their murderous actions. How easy it is for some people, though, to look the other way when faced with blatant injustice, through fear of being called names, or simply through sheer ignorance and denial.

Whenever I read the desperate stories, I cannot help but think back to my own upbringing, in a Muslim home. It was an upbringing in which I did not dare question the different treatment of men and women in the family, an upbringing in which it was normal for the men to have more freedom than the women.

I may not have been allowed freedom at home but at school it was a different matter. There, even though I was discouraged from mixing with boys by my father, I did still talk to boys and I even dated boys, with only the fear of getting into trouble rather than the fear of being killed, for defying my father’s orders.

My punishment for bringing ‘shame’ onto the family name was to be married off to an unsuitable distant relative, a stranger who I met for the first time on the night of the forced marriage. I was 18 years old, when I was forced into this marriage, and I think of myself as one of the lucky ones rather than a victim because I escaped with my life for the crime of becoming too westernised. My father did not take the law into his own hands and kill me, nor did he consult the community leaders and wider community for an opinion on what to do with his wayward daughter, and then allow some other family member to carry out an honour killing, on his behalf.

I am lucky to be alive but nonetheless, I was forced into a life of never ending misery. Days after the forced marriage took place, in Glasgow, Scotland, I knew there would be no happy ever after for me. How could there be when I had been married off against my will to become someone else’s responsibility, because my father was no longer able to control me, and my ‘husband’ had married me with his eyes more firmly placed on a British passport than any interest in me. My husband cared not one bit about my feelings, my dreams or my plans for the future.

From the start he made it clear that our marriage would not be equal and that he was the boss. I was there to cook, clean, wash and bear him a child year after year. Six months into the marriage I ripped up the marriage certificate and threw the papers at him, demanding a divorce. I screamed three times at him, ‘I divorce you! I divorce you! I divorce you!’ He laughed at me and that was how I found out that only Muslim men could divorce their wives this way, because women don’t have this unilateral right of divorce.

I begged him to divorce me but the British passport was more important to him than my unhappiness. Forced to stay in the misery of a marriage, unable to escape, I became depressed and thought of suicide. It’s the only time in my life when I have suffered from such low thoughts. I was living a life with a man I did not even like, never mind love, a man who I knew felt the same about me. He spoke down to me, as though I was an idiot, he criticised every aspect of my life down to the way I spoke and if I dared speak back or defend myself, which I did often on those days he used his fists. I was more than able to defend myself in a vocal argument with him but when it came to fists, I was terrified. He was a man and he was stronger than me. I hated him.

In the very early days, though, when I became pregnant with his child, just weeks into the marriage, this pleased him. He was even quite charming and I thought maybe it could work out. I would soon learn, though, that having his baby would change nothing, and any thoughts of happiness soon disappeared.

Being pregnant releases hormones and women often feel happy. They are said to be “glowing.” That wasn’t my experience. I was depressed. I had nobody to turn to and no way out of the life I was being forced to live. Forced into a marriage, and then forced into a pregnancy and then forced into becoming a mother, suicidal thoughts were often in my mind. I never thought of how I would kill myself, I just wanted to die and for the pain and misery to be over.

Despite my emotional frailty, the birth of my first son was a happy moment. I remember being proud of the perfect little boy I had created – even though the nurses and mums in the beds beside me all thought my ‘husband’ was my father coming to visit his grandson. Nothing and no one could have spoilt the joy I felt, at least initially, at having given birth to my son.

The feelings of joy didn’t last long and I soon slipped back into depression, this time even worse than before as I now had a baby to care for. Families either do not realise or just do not care when they force their young children to marry and then to become parents, which makes them take on responsibilities they are mentally unprepared for. I was not ready to be a wife and I was even less ready to be a mother. Thankfully my mother took over the caring and well-being of my son, visiting every day, making sure the baby had been bathed, taking over feeds and generally taking care of him.

I spent a lot of time at my parent’s home, during my forced marriage. Anything to escape having to share a bed with my husband. After my son was born, I began to spend even more time at my parents’ home, as I hated being alone, cooped up in a flat with just me and the baby. My parent’s house was busy and there was always someone wanting to hold the baby. I could pretend I was still living at home, pretend I had no husband and pretend that the baby belonged to someone else.

However, I knew I could only pretend for so long and that I would eventually have to face reality and go back to my husband. Until one day, that is, when having had enough of pretending I found the strength to walk out and take control of my own life and to be responsible for my own decisions and choices. I knew it would mean losing my son, who would be sent to live with his grandparents in Pakistan and that it would also mean losing the Pakistani side of my identity. When my son was 11 years old he came to Glasgow for a visit and I was allowed to have a brief reunion with him.

I escaped from my forced marriage and once again my father chose not to kill me. Luckily for me the Islam he followed told him there was no honour in killing. His punishment was limited to merely disowning me from the family and in turn from the entire Pakistani community, in Glasgow, thus forcing me to live amongst white people (oh, the shame). As he saw it, he was forcing me to live amongst people who neither knew me nor cared about me, people who were strangers and whose cultures and traditions were just as strange.

I quickly learned to stifle my Pakistani traits. Having been raised in a Pakistani home I knew of no other way to be, but to integrate and fit in with my new friends I had to change. Such is the powers of family tradition that, even where it causes misery, as in my case, I still saw giving up my Pakistani traits as a punishment. In my darkest moments I saw this as worse than death.

Loneliness was a new experience, and I found it difficult to deal with. In the Pakistani community, especially for women, there is little time to be alone. With extended families living together in large numbers – a popular practice for the Mirpuri community where they think nothing of forced first cousin marriages – the only time you are alone is in the bathroom or your bedroom. Otherwise there is always someone around, young and old. So as you can imagine, being alone for the first time was both terrifying and exhilarating.

I was in my early 20s and for the first time in my life I had freedom. Freedom is a strange thing to have when your entire life has been controlled for you, and discovering freedom for the first time I behaved recklessly and believed I was invincible with this newfound freedom. At first I often kept to Pakistani friends – it was the only community I had ever known, after all – because I still had the need to be part of something familiar. I would see my Pakistani friends go home to their own families and be welcomed, even though many were doing what I was doing – ‘haram things’- but I knew I would never again be accepted by my family.

It would always be my flat that everyone chilled out in without fear of being caught. This was because I had been disowned and there was never a risk of anybody from my family turning up announced, as Mirpuri families are famous for.

I am now in my 40s and I have been dead to my father for longer than I spent living at home being his obedient daughter. In that time I have seen an increase in the honour killings and crimes towards Muslim girls and women. The first time I heard of an honour killing was when I was a teenager. I remember there was a story on the front page of the newspaper about a Muslim family from somewhere in England, who had murdered their daughter for becoming too westernised. This was to protect their honour in the Pakistani community, a community, like every other community in the world that loves nothing better than to have a good gossip. We all do it, we all pick up the phone or meet friends for coffee and a chat, and somewhere in that chat, a little bit of gossip is shared. For some in the Pakistani community they thrive on the gossip and never for a minute stop to think of the consequences their gossiping may have on someone’s life.

The community leaders and preachers in the UK and around the world could put a stop to the killing of Muslim girls and women just by changing what they preach to their faithful followers. There was a time in the UK when Pakistani women wore vibrant and colourful shalwar kameez – traditional outfits consisting of long dress and trousers – with a dupatta – a scarf draped over their neck or over the back of their head. Then the community leaders started preaching their nonsense and the sheep in the community started listening and whereas before a father didn’t mind his daughter going out uncovered he now demanded she wear the hijab. Now, in some towns and cities, there seems to be more Pakistani girls and women covered head to toe in black than wearing the colourful and vibrant colours of the past.

Fathers who had previously understood that their daughters would need to speak to the opposite sex at school, college, university and work, and who had understood that this was part of living in a secular society, all of a sudden kept their daughters at home until they could be married off or quietly killed, depending on how much the fathers idolised and listened to the hate and sheer nonsense spouted by their local community leaders.

Muslim men are killing their daughters, or forcing them to live in misery, with no sense of remorse or guilt, purely because of Islam. These men think only of pleasing their own retarded notions of pride and the egos of hate filled preachers, whose sermons they have listened to day after day, whether at the mosque in an audience of other local Muslim men from their communities or in the comfort of their own homes, watching the latest guest on the Islamic TV channels.

Anyone who has allowed Muslim women’s voices to be silenced, by allowing Muslim community leaders, always men, to speak on behalf of women and the issues that affect Muslim women, which are issues that need the expertise and experience of (funnily enough) Muslim women, is complicit in perpetuating the killing and subjugation of Muslim women in the name of Islam. They are guilty of putting the neuroses and insecurities of Muslim men over the rights of Muslim women regardless of how loud the Muslim women were shouting to be heard, and they are guilty also of prioritising their own fear of being labelled a racist above all else, resulting in the shameful appeasement of the demands of Muslim men at the expense of real, brutal suffering of Muslim women.

 

Islam – submission to the will of Allah

I was raised in a Muslim home although home life was more about the Pakistani cultures and traditions of my father than the specific teachings of Islam. Nevertheless I was sent to mosque every day after school to read the Quran and to learn namaz – prayers. I never prayed five times a day I never even prayed once a day. I did think it strange having to read and pray in Arabic, a language I could not speak or understand, and which therefore meant I had no idea what I was reading. But I was not allowed to question this, or anything to do with Islam. I went to mosque until I was about 14 years old and not once do I recall being taught any hatred towards the West, or a distrust or dislike of ‘kaffirs.’ I, like many other, Pakistani Muslims, went to mosque simply to read the Quran.

Like so many other Muslims, my family was not a religious family. We were not forced to wear hijab and music was not forbidden. Family gatherings were not segregated (well, unless my father had white friends visiting, in which case the men would sit separately from the women). A hatred of Jews was also not passed onto us.

However, in other aspects my family was backwards in their ways. For example, they saw nothing wrong with forced marriage, and integrating with the Scottish community was not allowed. Even though my father welcomed Scottish neighbours and his Scottish friends into our home, we were discouraged from visiting white friends, or any other friends unless they were Muslim.

I was forced into a marriage with a much older man when I was eighteen years old. Three years of misery was more than enough and I walked out on my so called ‘marriage.’ For that my family and the Pakistani community disowned me.

I still described myself as Muslim, when people asked what religion I was, as people generally do, thanks to my Muslim name. My reply was ‘I am a Muslim, just not practising.’ I still prayed no times a day, I smoked and drank alcohol, I had relationships of my own choosing and none of these ‘haram’ activities bothered me in the slightest. I knew many other Muslims who also behaved like me without the fear of hell fire.

The only thing, and still to this day that I struggle to do without fear is eating the meat from a pig. I do occasionally have a bacon roll and when I do, I have to fight the inner voice telling me I will be sent to the fires of hell, the inner voice telling me how dirty and disgusting the pig is, even though the taste of bacon is heaven. I eat no other meat from the pig, just the bacon. Silly I know, when I do more ‘haram’ things than eat bacon. Sex before marriage is up there with the top three sins you can commit in Islam yet that never worried me, or millions of other Muslims. I was raised to avoid the pig at all costs whereas I think my parents took for granted that alcohol, drugs and sex would not feature in my life. Ha! The pig indoctrination runs deeper than the other forbidden things.

Other silly things, like an upturned shoe continue to have a powerful, irrational effect on me: I have to turn it back over. I remember as a child being told it is a sin to leave a shoe like that as the dirty sole is facing Allah and is an insult to him. All these years and still I need to turn the shoe over. Crazy what stays with us and continues to influence us. What bothers me may not bother other Muslims and vice versa.

Islam is the number one talked about topic nowadays. Muslims argue with other Muslims for not being the ‘true’ Muslim, non-Muslims argue with Muslims over whether Islam is the religion of peace. Muslims are killing each other yet we still argue over how peaceful the religion is. I remember asking my father what sect of Muslims we belonged to and his reply was ‘We are Muslims.’ He believed we were just all one, which I suppose is a better approach than what is going on in the world today. Sunnis killing Shi’ites, Shi’ites killing Sunnis and ISIS killing anyone – all for the pure sake of killing, it seems. Saudi Arabia killing the innocents in Yemen, the Taliban killing in Pakistan. It never ends. Every day, it seems, brings more misery, and that is even before we start talking about Muslims killing non-Muslims.

Only God can judge me – that is what Judgment Day is for, after all. The day when Allah/God decides who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. Yet here on Earth we have all these crazy lunatics deciding they are God and that their God will be so pleased with them for killing innocent people, in his name.

The drawing of Mohammed also causes many people to lose their minds and want to behead those who have drawn the picture or insulted the prophet. Many have been killed and many have gone into hiding for fear of being killed. Is this peaceful?  As someone who was born into a Muslim family, does it bother me when I see pictures of Mohammed, or insults aimed at him? No, I ignore it and move on.   If you are a pious Muslim and praying five times a day, then there should be no anger, no rage, in you that makes you to want to kill. There should be no time in your life for you to even think about these things. But when you have hate preachers, preaching at the mosque you attend, about the infidels, the kaffirs, and the “corrupt West” in which you are living and making a life or claiming benefits, then you can see where the hate and resentment can start to grow. These radical hate preachers brainwashing the minds of young Muslims attending their prayer classes, still continue to live in the “corrupt society” they preach is the worst of the worst. They brainwash the minds of the young to not have any fun, everything is deemed haram, for females especially. Covered from head to toe these women are allowed only to see through a slit in the niqab they have been forced to wear.

Even though many women will argue it is their choice to cover up, you know it is the religious interpretation of the Quran and Hadiths that the males in the family have chosen to follow. When I was growing up as a Muslim, in the 70s and 80s, the hijab was nowhere to be seen and the niqab rarer still. Very few Pakistani Muslim families made the females feel ashamed and dirty for not being covered and thus “tempting” to all the males around them. We were more relaxed back then. Today the hijab is a popular choice for many females, young and old, and the niqab is also fashionable in some town and cities across the UK. It is a political statement for many and for many others they have been brainwashed by the likes of Zakir Naik, preaching his hate via Muslim channels, viewed in many homes in the UK.

There are also those that negatively judge a woman who may choose to wear a hijab yet continue to wear Western clothes with it; they’ll say her clothes are too tight or that it’s pointless wearing a hijab, Astaghfirullah – God forgive her and many other catty comments. Many strong Pakistani Muslim women have been speaking out against the hate preached in their communities, they have been vocal about forced marriage and honour violence too. The males in the Muslim communities, the males that dictate how everyone should live, have shut out their voices. This in turn has led to non-Muslim men and women being “de-programmed” so as not to express concern or solidarity with women of a Muslim heritage. Otherwise decent people have been silenced for fear of offending the Muslim men who are responsible for the suffering of Muslim women.

Islam does not mean peace; it means submission to the will of Allah and it is supposed to be a way of living your life. If only it would evolve with the times, as other religions have done, and not be stuck 1400 years ago.

Muslims boast about Islam being the first to give women rights yet are silent at the treatment of women in Muslim majority countries today, and are trying to silence women in Western society from speaking out against the atrocities carried out in the name of Islam. Many of those who view Islam as the religion of hate and war only need to point out the endless and senseless fighting that is occurring amongst Muslims in Middle Eastern countries, and those that argue back that Islam is a religion of peace need to stop with the denial and silence. Denial and silence is what causes extremism to flourish in communities. Denial and silence is what causes evil in places like Rotherham. Silencers and deniers will resort to any diversionary tactics they can: when you talk about the serious issues that are occurring in Pakistani communities, especially the raping of young underage white girls, you are accused of somehow implying all non-Muslim men are perfect and commit no crimes. It doesn’t take long for someone to shut down discussion of thousands of rapes in Rotherham and other English towns with the words “Jimmy Savile.”

Until we can have honest discussions, involving both Muslim men and Muslim women, the elephant in the room will never be named and terrible harms will continue to take place. Young children have been brainwashed into thinking that beheading someone for insulting their religion, or killing someone for being gay or an apostate or lashing and stoning to death those that commit adultery, or daring to question Islam in any way, are reasonable responses and a way of life to aspire to. Some of these young children have maybe married and have children of their own and so another generation is being raised in hate.

The time for women to be involved in the debate of Islam has never been so important. Mothers send their children to mosques, sometimes but certainly not always, blissfully unaware of what is being taught, glad of the few hours of peace every night and for some weekend visits to mosque are a must also because of community pressure. It has been proven that mosques are a breeding ground for hatred. There is no need to link to articles and references just listen to the Pakistani women in the community who have been shouting for long enough about this abuse and still the Government allowed molvis and mullahs to enter the country and preach a version of Islam that belongs in the 7th century and helped create a society that lives in fear and hatred of each other. People are fearful of Muslims because they think they want to behead them, or blow them up and Muslims hate the non-Muslims because Muslims consider themselves superior to them and their kaffir ways.

Where as this taken us? It’s created a society in which young and old, those born Muslims and those who have converted to Islam, have left the safety and prosperity of Britain to join ISIS, a cult that is the most barbaric of Islamic terrorist organisations I have seen in my lifetime – against some stiff competition.

Muslim heritage is my identity and nothing will ever change that for me. But unfortunately it is the actions of many in my community, and not just a few as we are often told, that is the problem: credible polls regularly show that support for Sharia law is sadly very high amongst British Muslims.

However, there are many Muslims who are against Sharia, especially women, and we must do everything we can to amplify their voices. At the same time, though, the obligation isn’t simply on people to listen to these women: there is a firm obligation on these women to speak up and do much more. If they won’t speak up in the relative safety of the secular West, where Muslim populations are still relatively low and Islam has no formal state power, then there is little hope these problems will ever be solved from within the community. If Muslim women in the West won’t loudly speak up now, and in large numbers, the question of whether Islam is at all compatible with the West is an entirely legitimate one to ask.

 

 

Mass Islamic Immigration

 

Mass Islamic immigration

You know mass immigration is an important issue because you aren’t allowed to talk about it, you get called names if you do talk about it, and those in favour of it will never back down no matter what facts you give them or how rational your arguments.

Talking about Islam is virtually impossible, talking about immigration is virtually impossible and so talking specifically about mass Islamic immigration is something of a suicide mission. A frank discussion of mass Islamic immigration is absolutely guaranteed to generate smears of racist, fascist and bigot in order to silence that discussion. The reason this tactic is employed so often is very simple: because it really works. Europeans have been successfully denied a discussion of immigration for decades.

In an ideal world, perhaps it might be wonderful to have open borders with everyone travelling as they please and causing no harm to each other. But only a fool believes we live in an ideal world, and only a fool believes we can achieve Utopia by opening our borders to all.

As the daughter of an immigrant who arrived in the UK from Pakistan in the 60s, many might assume I would be for open borders – yet I am all for closing our borders temporarily. My father arrived in the UK to work, not to claim benefits. He started off as a bus conductor, working his way up to driving the buses and eventually he had his own businesses, five of them.

When my father arrived in the UK, along with many other men and women of South Asian origin, there was plenty of work, there was also enough housing, they didn’t rely on benefits and they weren’t a strain on the NHS.  Yes, there was plenty of racism and ignorance towards the migrants but, crucially, they generally worked hard and integrated, and they were slowly accepted. It was a two-way street: migrants generally proved themselves capable of integrating and working, and racists stopped being racist. In historical terms, this was done in the blink of an eye and is testament to the decency of humanity.

We now know that the mass migration that occurred in the 50s and 60s and the years that followed weren’t without problems. We now have laws, which protect those at risk of being forced into marriage or at risk of being killed in the name of honour. It only took the Government thirty odd years to realise that cultures and traditions that were normal ‘back home’ should not be tolerated in an advanced democracy, and no longer ignored under the political correctness excuse. We still have a long way to go in changing people’s attitudes and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

Allowing Muslims to make their home in the UK, whether escaping war and persecution or looking for a better life with free housing, benefits and medical care, hasn’t been without problems. There will be few people who have not heard by now of the term FGM – female genital mutilation – where girls as young as two and three years old are forcibly held down to have their vaginas mutilated, their clitoris sliced off and labia sewn shut, allowing only a tiny hole for them to urinate and bleed from. This barbaric practice is carried out purely to destroy a female’s sexuality and to ensure she gets no sexual pleasure, and so once again a new law has been passed and it is now a crime to carry out FGM. Even though we know it happens, even though we hear stories from survivors of this cruelty nobody has been successfully prosecuted. Not one single person. The fear of being labelled racist for not understanding people’s cultures is always stronger than the desire to protect those who are at risk from being mutilated.

There is another “tradition” that is only now coming to light that few people in the UK will have heard of, which is called “breast ironing”. It is as horrendous as it sounds. It is another barbaric way of controlling females: their breasts are ironed to stop them growing, or sometimes they are cut off completely. Those that carry out this evil say it is to protect the girls from being raped. Perhaps we should also remove young girls’ eyes in case they go blind one day.

Britain is now aware of the Muslim grooming gangs who have been allowed to rape young underage girls with de facto legal impunity. In the majority of these cases the perpetrators are of Pakistani origin, or to be precise men from a Mirpuri background, and recently we have also heard of gangs of Somalian men who have also been convicted of these horrific crimes. The names Rochdale, Bradford, Oxford, Rotherham and Aylesbury have become destinations on a dystopian Monopoly board of towns that have suffered a perfect storm of Islam, rape, political correctness, appeasement and cover up. Vulnerable, underage girls being raped by multiple men while those responsible looked the other way for fear of being labelled racist. These are the towns and cities in the UK we have heard about and no doubt that there will be many more.

Germany opened its borders and welcomed refugees, and it had no plan on how to deal with those that arrived. The vast majority of these ‘refugees’ are young, able men, escaping poverty and looking to make a better life in a country where they will be housed and given benefits. It is not racist nor is it bigoted to demand that these economic migrants be returned to their country of origin. These migrants make it difficult to help the genuine refugees, the ones fleeing war and terrors that we could not even begin to imagine. The children who have been born into war and who have known nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire. These are the genuine refugees we should be helping, in a controlled and responsible manner – not the armies of economic migrants.

Sex crimes and rape are on the increase in Europe at an alarming rate.  Sweden has almost become the rape capital of the world, second only behind South Africa. The most disturbing thing I have witnessed happening in Sweden are the pictures that appeared on Twitter, screenshots from young Swedish girls’ Instagram accounts, before they turned their settings to private. By young girls I mean girls as young as eight or nine years old, children, being cuddled by grown migrant men. The children’s parents weren’t in these pictures. Perhaps the parents are unaware or the girls are from broken homes, neglected and unloved. These poor little girls see absolutely nothing wrong in what these grown men are doing to them, and for many it may be the first time someone has paid them any sort of attention, which they falsely believe is love. Men old enough to be fathers of the girls they are posing with in the pictures and the world is silent, apart from a little outrage on Twitter, not enough for it to be trending or for it to go viral. Sweden is experiencing its very own Rotherham and the world can see it, yet nothing is being done, again because that dreaded R- word puts such Kryptonite fear in to people. No, not Rape, but Racist.

There was an immediate, sustained, moral and political panic that we had to house the occupants of the Middle East and Africa on the basis they must all be “refugees”, but there is no equivalent moral or political panic that we must do something about mass rape committed by Muslims. On the contrary, the only panic I can see is that we must cover it up or make excuses for it: perhaps the rapists didn’t speak good enough English or good German, or perhaps it’s because of austerity? The surprisingly mild weather we have been having? Perhaps the food in Rotherham is not to their liking? Cover up after cover up and children continue to be raped by adults in our country so why should we now care that the children of Sweden are being raped? And so we stand by and do nothing. Do nothing for fear of being labelled racist.

We know integration by Muslims into many parts of the UK has failed and that ghettos have been created, where the community leaders rule their kingdoms and elected councillors have to listen to what they say, or else. Racist. Bigot. The usual words used to get their own ways, allowing Sharia law to prosper and flourish, unchallenged. If we heard only feel good stories about the large percentage of Muslim women who use Sharia Councils then it might be tempting to say it’s cultural and that it harms no-one and so why put an end to them. However we know for a fact that the Sharia Councils operating in the UK do not believe in gender equality and that women are penalised purely for being women. We hear about the women who have been divorced by their husbands only to find out their marriage was legal only under Islamic law and not British, thus leaving the women with no marriage rights whatsoever. We hear about the women whose children have been taken from them in cases of divorce with all rights “granted” by the Sharia Councils to the fathers (the Sharia Councils have no right to do this), regardless of the father’s suitability. Muslim men who have appointed themselves rulers of their own little empires mostly operate sharia Councils across towns and cities in the UK.

The UK has many problems as it is. There are many that are homeless, either living on the streets or in homeless units waiting to be re-housed. There are children who will spend their entire childhood in care, never fortunate enough to be fostered by a loving family, leaving care at 18 years old to fend for themselves. The strain on the NHS is also another problem and with mass immigration it will only get worse, you would be a fool to think it wouldn’t.

We should be controlling who is allowed in, and we most certainly should not be labelled racist for wanting to do so. Young able men arriving purely for economic reasons should be sent back immediately, to deter future migrants from making the journey. These men are not fleeing war or persecution, they are bringing it.

We have already seen what mass Islamic immigration has brought to Europe: it has brought absolute carnage because Muslims have proved themselves unwilling to give up Sharia. The great European experiment has failed. This is the hand Europe has been dealt and the hand it must play. There is only one thing left to do: it is now time for Europe to give up Islamic immigration. If it doesn’t, there will be no Europe.