For the most part of my life, I’ve listened to one radio station; 2CH. It was my father’s favourite station, and years after he’s passed, it’s my way of keeping close to him. It’s also a station with minimal adverts and classic music dating from the 50s to the 80s for the better part of the day.
I didn’t think I’d ever stray from this station. When I like something or someone, I’m loyal to them always making it hard for me to stray from that loyalty. But some things will drive me away and one of these is where I hear a subtle general dislike in the voice of the commentator, even if they don’t realise they’re doing it.
A conversation late one night cut into me deeply. It didn’t offend me personally, but the distaste in the conversation offended me as a human being. The conversation was between the host of the late night radio show and a listener and the subject was, as is often the topic nowadays, Muslims. They were agreeing with each other about the fact that Muslims like to distance themselves and how they do this is with the clothes they wear.
I’ll admit that in the past, when I had neighbours from hell that bullied me, who just happened to also be Muslims, for a decade, I developed a distaste for them also, but since moving from that address to a new address, and studying the locals, also a good number of them being Muslims, their attitudes were very different to my previous neighbours. They’re friendly and polite, and even those that don’t appear friendly, at the very least appear civil, but that makes them no different to every other stranger I see on the street.
My personal dislike for Muslims have since dissipated helped by my more recent experiences and awareness and I now find it abhorrent that people should judge a culture, or religion by the clothes they wear.
Do people not realise that Muslims aren’t trying to distance themselves? They are blending in the best way they can. I see them here locally participating in the same activities that everyone from other cultures do, yet, they stand out because of the clothes they wear.
Muslims wear the clothes they do because it’s part of their culture and their belief system. They CHOOSE to wear these clothes out of respect for their beliefs, NOT to keep everyone else at bay! Since when has wearing unique clothes become a faux pas in the community?
We certainly have short memories. Not so long ago, in our own culture, and too in countries around the world, scarves and hats were all the rage, and it was a fashion statement to cover our heads with the scarf or hat of the day. Just look back to magazines of the 70s to see nearly every supermodel gazing off into the distance, their head wrapped in a silk scarf, and no one looked twice at them… well.. they’re figure maybe, but not the clothes they wore, unless that item of clothing was rather sparing.
And it’s not just about the head wear.
Nowadays, with awareness of skin cancer, the big campaign is for people to cover up to prevent this much hated disease. I remember in my own youth, and well into my 20s, my most favourite fashion statement was wearing a dress over trousers because that’s how I felt comfortable, in fact, I still do that at times even at 50. No one looks twice at me when I do it, yet when Muslims do the same thing, they’re frowned upon, why?
To Muslims, it’s a culture and a faith, to me, it’s common sense; it keeps me warm, it keeps me covered and I happen to like the look as a whole.
As recently as the 90s, nuns would still wear a habit and for the most part, full length dresses. No one looked twice at them, and often would show nothing but respect for them. Nuns weren’t told that they should wear normal clothing and try to blend in, although sadly, these days, the habit is gone, and the dresses seem shorter, so it’s harder to tell these days the difference between nuns and laypeople on the street.
In other cultures, both here and around the world, I see a lot of types of clothes that people wear according to their cultures and beliefs, from the Sikh to the Scots, an entire suburb can be a fashion show with the assortment of clothing that people choose to wear, which now includes hybrid fashions as people like what they see on other people, then they may buy a culture based article of clothing and blend it in with their own collections.
I have seen my Mauritian friends who are Christian wear outfits that are more popular amongst Muslims. My own mother, who originated from Germany, would love to wear traditional Chinese dresses. Although I’m female, I will wear men’s clothing as frequently as I wear women’s.
In the streets, elegantly tall and thin African women walk around in the most colourful and beautiful clothing I have ever seen and no one takes a second glance at them.
So why then do people need to judge one faith on what they wear when there are so many other people walking around with just as unique clothing? I thought the goal of our society was not to blend in to one another making us look like a boring culture, but to show your individuality, to stand out and be yourself, and when a culture or religion does do that, they’re hounded. You can’t have it both ways, people!
Grow up! Open your minds and learn to accept other cultures, races, religions for who they are and don’t try to change them to make them look more like you just because you feel more comfortable if they dressed as how you might deem “normal”. How boring would this world be if everyone dressed the same, or believed the same things.
DON’T discriminate others.
LEARN from them.