Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
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Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu sister how you
widely considered 100 Allah, really sister.
And she's looking for joining us today on the na kabhi diaries. It's a real pleasure to have you. And for those of you who don't know we have with us today is that startup party Mr. Bhalla? khatola and could you please introduce yourself? Tell us about what you do for some of the reasons you may not know who you are.
Well, I think most people have maybe come across me through the LM feed podcasts. So I'm one of the presenters of the LM feed podcast.
I've graduated from two anomia degrees Islamic Sharia degrees, and I'm currently doing an MA in Islamic law.
And I used to be the head of seeds of change, which is a Muslim women's conference.
That was run by IRA Islamic education research Academy, that our organization
the largest Muslim women's conference in Europe.
And how they did that sorry, sister, Mashallah. I first came across Jacqueline, personally, I've seen you like on the news have been like a couple of times when it came to.
in this country there was talking about the niqab ban and shipping fines and weddings and women with a knockoff. And there was a shirt on I think that was the first time they actually saw you on there. And they did say that he was like, you know, a female scholar or something like that, but they never like instance, for me personally, I didn't feel satisfied that they've given me enough time to actually really kind of address the questions that were asked on there. They do edit things as well. And so for me, they've cut things down quite a lot. And I find that
often this happens. And so this is one of the reasons why I started such a podcast in order to let sisters who do wear the niqab actually share their stories, without being censored or edited against like, you know, they will basically and letting them express themselves. So inshallah I'll ask you some questions about some your experience within a call. And how long have you been wearing it?
I think before, like, we go into that, I should
explain that. I
probably the first time we went to call was, um,
probably I first tried it as a teenager.
But I, like started wearing it on and off.
From my wedding day, actually, because, you know, like, my wedding day was one of the first days that I really properly wore makeup. Okay, I was quite young, young, when I got married. I was 19.
And it was,
I wasn't really brought up in a family with makeup was a big thing. You know,
I was caught up in a religious family. And,
on my wedding day, my I had a lady who was seeing my makeup. And it just made sense to me that I'm going to wear makeup, I'm going to beautify my face, especially.
And I'm doing that for my husband's though, that should be covered, right for any other than him.
Because otherwise you don't see I'll be
exposing my beauty
and accentuating it. So
I started when I was going to call when I was coming. And when I left my house basically for
my wedding. And
I would say I ever since I haven't, I wouldn't say I'm like a full time the garbage, right? Like not somebody who wears it all the time, like when I go out.
especially when definitely when I'm online. If I have to be on camera, I have to work with men closely.
You know, because I was in some Muslim organizations and stuff and
then I would win.
But um, you know, I don't wear it all the time, like on the streets and stuff.
So, did you have any obstacles when you first like decided to put it on was that you mentioned that your family are quite religious, so I'm assuming they wouldn't have had an issue with it. But was there any reason
Anybody kind of questioning like, why are you bothering to wear that? Because, especially when it comes to weddings, often people, you know, in some cultures can take that as an excuse that you can just, you know, show your beauty as much as possible that you have any kind of Yeah.
Well, I think maybe like, maybe some of the guests might have been a bit surprised because they never seen me in the car. Um, but
overall, I think people people respected it sometimes over the years. Like, my, my parents said to me, you know, she does. He once said to me that, you know, he kind of hinted, I would say, but I don't really have to win a call.
When I'm when I'm on when I'm doing like, stuff on TV and stuff yet, because he thought maybe, maybe he thought it would make me more approachable. Yeah.
But, you know, more than anything, more than just a hint.
So from from, I would say, the worst experience I've had,
um, while we're in the cop, as been, I was at this a sonic event once
the sonic event and a Muslim women's event, organised by someone, and, and I was at a store for representing them with some organization. And this lady came up to the school and she was like,
she was a Muslim, but was not wearing a job, okay? And she seems she seems quite westernized, you know, like,
modern looking right, and, like, stylish. And then she walked up to the stool, and, like, out of the blue flow reasons, she just started pointing at me and my sister, my friend's sister is here with me, and said, you know, the reason why us Muslims are being held back in this country is because of people like you.
People are just like you.
And then I remember we were like, trying to engage it and say, well,
actually is probably due to mentality, like, the one that you're expressing
is that, you know, we have to literally let go of our principles, our D, our, you know, culture, everything, and conform to the Western the colonizers way of life in order to be accepted. Yes.
So, that was quite shocking, actually, because I think it was shocking, because it was a Muslim. Yeah, he said it, you know, um, but he kind of shows you that. I mean, even like, when I when I started doing the MP podcast, and it's quite funny, like, if you read the comments on the any of the videos,
there'll be those who will come on, and, by the way, these are usually brothers. There'll be brother brothers, he'll say, Mashallah, the sister, you know, she's dressed the way I must say, my shirts, right? Yeah, the ideal the same women's dress, right? And then you'll have people
straight afterwards saying things like, you know, why do you have to dress like this? You know,
this is great. So, hello, there's quite, quite interesting that it's quite polarizing still, you know, in that way? Yes. Yes, definitely. So from the Islamic perspective, I felt guilty because Mashallah, you're the scribe or you know, you've studied and
how, like, what is your kind of views? Like, how do you think, as Muslims,
How do you think as Muslims democamp is kind of like, how do you think we can wear the niqab and integrate into the society? What's your kind of views on that? I know, obviously, we do integrate into the society. But when you're approached by, for example, because obviously you do a lot of media and these kinds of things, and even with them, like British media and stuff like that, none of them media, what is your, what's your perspective on that?
I think with regards to the niqab, I think there are strong arguments within Islam, you know, within the Islamic schools of thought, and
for it being obligatory,
but also, for it being, you know, muster hub, which is like,
recommend you then a good an extra
Good beat, you know, but not obligatory. Right? And I think,
I'm not sure when you read when you read the literature on either side,
you get quite convinced, you know? Yeah. So I think the arguments are very strong on both sides.
But I kind of have leaned towards the opinion that it was the hub, right? So I actually encourage the students to wear it as much as they can. So
I remember once I had an argument with the sisters and my friend,
Rebecca, pressure, that discussion
when I said,
you know, we, when she realized that, you know, some of us we were called, sometimes, you know, like, when we're getting spanked for giving a speech in front of a big audience and stuff like that.
We have to, like,
you know, work with men, etc. And
I remember how she her thinking of it is very black and white.
Either you wear it or you don't, right. Yeah. And I said to her, do you consider it to be obligatory said no. So I said, Okay, so then let me dislike a good deed. Right. So it's like soccer. Yeah, if you you give, the more you give, the more reward you get, right. Mm hmm. So, similarly, I think one way to look at the niqab is, the more the more modest we are, the more we cover, and the more kind of we can preserve ourselves.
Then each column gets a reward for that. So I think
I like to encourage sisters, especially when they're in situations where they're wearing this where they're wearing makeup, you know, and
so definitely wear the color because
I think it's not it's not like to kind of
accentuate your dream I mentioned this because it's become quite common now. You know, makeup, it's become makeup with the job has become very normal now. Or I wouldn't say normal, I would say it's starting to be normalized. And, you know, I see younger sisters often that will never go out without wearing quite heavy makeup.
And that goes against the aisle, the last one says, you know, what are you gonna tell them not to, not to show that adornments that beautification, right? And so anytime we do, we put Vienna on whether it's another different interpretations of the word Xena. But any one of one general or generic interpretation could be beautification, anytime we beautify ourselves,
you know, especially when it's like noticeable makeup, then I think we, as Muslim women have a duty to, to cover that, you know, and to preserve ourselves. If Allah Subhan Allah said in the Quran that, you know, don't shake your don't tap your feet in such a way that people will know the jewelry that you're wearing, like the anklets and the jewelry that you're wearing and the heat
and that's not even visible, right?
And then what more for makeup and these types of things and even worse, like people tending the hay job itself into a sort of like a dress, right? Like I would say, beautification by putting jewels on it and, you know, sparkly things. And so,
I think, in that sense, I think I would like to advocate This is that, you know,
Nicole should be a part of every Muslim woman's life, even if she's not wearing it permanently. Yeah. Every I think every Muslim woman should have a nickel in her in the wardrobe. And it should be something that we wear,
at least on occasion, you know, especially when
we beautified ourselves
because I know one of my close friends, that's what she does. She has a prompt for that process especially like if you're going to like a wedding or something. And she puts makeup like you know kind of cover up you know, and
like what what about for example, sometimes when you do weathering a golf and you've got makeup on especially like I makeup This is one of the most on your faces to play for you can probably put the most makeup on like especially for women colors and things like classic. What would your view be on that
Because obviously it's still kind of each one their problems, but then if we tried your eyes, So would it be more for sisters here for example, if you were lipstick, then you were there. Because it's covering your, the lip the area that you actually got back most makeup showing. And if the sister for example is just wearing like an eyeliner, like a simple call, it's not like so kind of prominence Would that be okay, like with nickel
considered as like a beach vacation.
Obviously, like, I would say, we should do our best, do your best. So, but we don't need to be overly obsessed about it, I think.
I think when we get overly obsessed, then it goes into the territory of life.
You know, I have seen people have quite extreme ways of
dealing with sisters, you know, and
you just do our best, you know, except anything that is necessary, obviously, you have to be able to see
if you can see, if you need to be able to see then that's fine, but don't
maybe we can do things like put the eye makeup on when we arrive at a venue or, or even if we are going to go out and we have eye makeup. And you know, we have a niqab and obviously your eye is exposed, we just try to avoid kind of
seen by people, you know, if we can get into the car or whatever.
But I don't think it needs to be we don't need to be too overly obsessed with it, you know, because I do think there's an extreme that sometimes happens, which is that
you know, as a woman, it's almost like
you have to completely be raised before you your your job is valid. Yeah, and I don't think it's like that if you notice the verses in the Quran about the job they always end with, and allies forgiving, you know, and I think I feel that one of the reasons for that is that we do try our best, but we might fall short, you know, um, and we don't need to, like, overly obsess about it. But we should do our best. Yes.
And on that note, I just wanted to add like there are some new knockoffs now, which they have like an extra like little flap. So it kind of makes it easy to help you copy is like a little bit more. And you'll be able to see at the same time, suppose you might be another option consistency. If you're listening and you do wear no makeup for weddings, and you'd like to wear the niqab like maybe you could look into one of those and Sharla that would also be helpful.
matters. I think it also matters like what if you're married? Mm hmm. You know, what your husband thinks as well.
As Muslim women, I think this is one of the things I didn't used to like about them kind of media discussions that we would have,
that they would kind of coerce you almost into or expect and want you
to say that it's completely your own decision as a Muslim woman. Right. And, and I know that for most many sisters it is. But as Muslim as we, we choose to submit to Allah, right? Yeah. And and Allah tells us to obey our husbands. So we choose, we choose to submit to Allah, we submit to, you know,
the consideration of our husband and what he would like as well. Right. So I think if the husband, for example, feels very strongly about his wife, covering her face, and, you know, obviously with with,
without coercion or like, obviously, without any kind of
anything coercive, but
with good manners, he
he would like to it would like her to win it, but then that's something that as Muslim women we were supposed to obey, and we're supposed to respect, right. And we should not see that as a overprotection or something like this, you know,
we should see that as actually we should be flattered that, you know, we have he has laid off for us. He has a sense of protectiveness over us and
he's within his right to have that. You know,
obviously, it should be something that
a man would encourage his wife to do with him.
Come on wisdom.
But I think that these are mentioned that is that is also a consideration, isn't it? When we're talking about whether, if you're wearing eye makeup?
If your husband feels very strongly about that, then yeah, you should try to find Nicholas that would cover eyes, you know? Yeah.
Yeah, cuz I know some, some husbands don't even like the washable makeup at all, like, even at home, they just don't like makeup. Full stop.
But um, yeah, so what you've mentioned so far about, if a husband would like his wife do whether they caught them, you know, he should be wise. I've just applied so gently to try to convince her to wear it without, you know, forcing her. But on the flip side, and if the husband doesn't want the wife to webinar called, and she's somebody who was wearing the niqab before then, what would you What would you have must be in that situation?
I think these are probably things that should be discussed before marriage, if possible.
Especially if people feel strongly about them. But
even also marriage, I mean, look, if
he, I think in any marriage, right? You can have different opinions about things, right.
And just about anything, be about
that best days, and
I'm thinking of different things that sometimes people might have different views on.
Or the way you bring up your kids or the rules in the house and stuff like that, right.
And the thing, any marriage is about negotiation.
So it's about
your argument forward, and you're listening and listening to the husband's reasoning, and then coming to some ground that you can both live with. Right. Yeah.
I mean, that would be the ideal.
But I think
if a husband has legitimate concerns, you know, for reasons, then
I think if the wife feels strongly that she would like to continue wearing the cops, she should, she should speak to her about it. She She tried to convince him. But if he isn't convinced, and, you know, I don't mean that he's telling her to wear makeup now in public or that. But I mean, he's just maybe concerned about her.
Safety. Right. Well, something like this, then I think,
overall, the husband is the mayor of the house, right? Yes. The
he's in charge. So
she should do her best to, you know, to comply with the trauma.
So would you would you say that the niqab is a barrier? And if so, what sense?
Unfortunately, I think
the job is about a result can be a barrier as well. It's, it's not really,
it's not really, those items themselves, it's the way people perceive them, right? less.
So for example, when you're in an area like East London, maglites, you know, I know that even bat an eyelid is like, so normal for people to interact, you do not even Nicola bees, and, you know, it's, like,
literally true, like, there's no barrier, whether you're talking to you along with them, I'm just gonna get up people just take you as you are. It's just come from wild experience anyway.
You go to certain areas, which are maybe a little bit more, less, I would say diverse.
definitely get stared at. People see it as a barrier they see as
they, they wonder if you can speak English.
You know, and stuff like that as well. So
in that sense,
you know, people do invoice and just anyway, know what it's like in America. But in Britain, and in many European countries, it is seen as a barrier.
But I think that's more about
what is in the mind of the people who perceive it as a barrier, you know, rather than it being an actual real
I think there is a cultural aspect to that, you know,
I remember when I lived in Egypt,
there was this cultural idea that black was not a good color to wear. So if you will black, they'll
go while you were in luck.
They they associated it with death, I guess and
funerals? Are they do you know that he apparently?
Yeah. And I think in the West as well, Black is associated with funerals and sadness, and although black festivals I guess.
But still, you know, there's this idea of a life lesson. And I think
when you read books, and you read about the,
the imagery of all the negative imagery tends to be
like that, yeah, especially in western literature.
So I do think there is a,
there is a cultural perception. And in certain areas, it's not so
it's not so self. And in other areas it is.
But I think,
as a Muslim,
in various situations, you you, you end up feeling like a stranger anyway,
you're gonna hold on to your principles.
Actually, just the other day I was,
I wasn't wearing a cup, I was at a ladies only
working space, like a, like a, you know, these are the co co co working spaces, okay? Where you basically have a table, you can come in, you have membership, and you have a table, which you can use for working away from home. And
the lady, a lady came one of the earners, and she wants to speak to me about it, and about something, and she's very nice to me and everything. But
I don't know why she wants to speak to me. She, she,
she started the conversation. And
I think it's because she saw that I was online, and I was like active online. And that my, my content was religion related.
And then she decided
to explore something with you, you know,
we would like to keep this working space and a secular space.
And I was like, okay,
you know, okay. And she said, she said, You feel really great that you're you you feel comfortable here, right? And, you know, because we want to encourage diversity.
And she said, you know, but I just want you to be aware that we do have women here who are basically
from the LGBT community. We have women here from Jewish, Christian, all sorts of backgrounds and atheists, and
a lot all the time. I'm sitting there thinking, yeah, and what does it have to do with me? Yeah, like, why are you?
Why are you like, it was a, it was a place full of white women, right.
And I was one of the probably one of the only minorities, right? And she had come over to me, saying that they want to, like celebrate diversity, while making me feel really uncomfortable about being different.
at the end, towards the end of the conversation, I said, You know, I still really don't know what exactly what exactly, you are trying to say. Right? And that I am uncomfortable with the way I'm dressed. I literally asked her point blank.
And she, she went quiet. She was very sort of cheated. At this point. I guess she probably felt really shallow.
I think she kind of realized that yes, that's the only thing that differentiates me from the other people that write the copy the way I'm dress.
Because I said, Are you saying that I can't work on Islamic work because you don't know what the people here are working on? On the church, church project or synagogue project, whatever, you know, like, anyway, and also as I sent her an email
and actually said to her that, you know, thank you, she's, she's, she's, she thanked me and she said, I hope you're there. You didn't mind us having that conversation. We're just trying to feel our way around these issues. And anyway,
I actually sent her an email to say, actually, you know, I just want you to be to think about this because I think the only thing that you were objecting to wasn't the way I'm dressed. Yeah. And then I wonder if there's some internalized unconscious Islamophobia there.
I tried to do it in the nicest possible way, right? Yeah.
And the thing is, he replied, really apologetic? And she said, You know, I'm glad you brought that up, because I think you might be right.
And insidious, you know, that she said, one of my co founder, co founder of that space, that white space, and had grown up in a Muslim family, okay, like one one parent who was Muslim, and had had some very negative experiences with the Muslim community, right?
In her country, and all the time thinking, What's this got to do with me? But still, she said, but you're right, maybe there is some unconscious stuff that, you know, that we're like, and then it's tough to deal with? And she said, Please, would you have another cup of tea with me one day, you know, whatever. But I thought to myself, you know, I, I was, I tried to be as kind as possible. But at the same time, I wasn't going to take it, you know, of course, because and I think that's the kind of thing maybe we need to do more of
pulling this stuff out, you know, like, literally, somebody's making you feel uncomfortable. It
doesn't matter if I was out when the cop was wearing a job. And
so I think it's a bit of a red herring, thinking that niqab is the thing that makes people freak out, it's actually just the different just being different, and just the narrative surrounding what it is to be a Muslim. And,
you know, and people thinking of the job as a anti feminists
are kind of symbol, right? Well as a symbol of male subjugation, and
so I think
we have to help people in the community, in our communities in the Western world to
to understand us, and I know that people think, oh, why should I have to do that? Right? And other purchasers say, Why should I have to do that? It's your responsibility to find out about me. Fine, that's one approach. But you know, that's not really going to help us I think, you know, just wait for everyone to
reach out to us, I think, sometimes we need to be the ones who, especially as people who think about being that us as people who want to invite people to invite people at the end of the day to, to Allah.
You do have to be the ones who reach out we do have to be the ones who break the ice, who in very kind, but firm terms do not accept some a phobia and don't accept people, you know, singling us out
for nothing, but the fact that we we worship alone, that we dress in a certain way, right.
So yeah, I think one way to break that barrier is to literally be the one who breaks the ice be the one who actually maybe is a bit more goes beyond
the norm, the call of duty in terms of
being friendly and reaching out to be on Yeah, definitely.
I think it's showing that human connection as well, just reminding people that yes, rare human beings do.
But sometimes I do think like, would I if I was going up to some village up Wharf in London, UK, right. Would I know where they've gone?
I must admit that I would not know if it was like a rural area where there's people who
literally don't even see a brown face.
And I'm walking in there with niqab.
I think because I don't consider it to be feet.
I don't believe that the DNA asks us to,
to kind of
what's the word
to do to bring unnecessary
sigma to a situation?
I don't know sigma is the right word. But what I mean is that
in any situation, you have to weigh up
The benefits in the homes. Yeah, definitely.
And I think
in, in places where people have hardly ever seen a Muslim, they've never seen even diversity of any kind.
we keep, we must, of course, obey Allah and we must keep to our principles
to whatever amount we believe is obligatory, you know.
But that's do like extra things that we think are not obligatory, but they are, you know, maybe was the hub in normal situations, in those situations might not be simply because, you know, the home that you could bring
in terms of animosity, the
it could be what it could be more than the good. So, I think, I think it's worth weighing up situations, you know, and I don't think I don't think there's like a blanket thing you could say, for the whole of any area of the world, you know, like,
on the other hand, if you are going to somewhere like Saudi Arabia or
a country where niqab is the norm,
is the norm anymore in Saudi Arabia actually
been for some time, and I don't think Morocco is always a big representation of the rest of the country.
But say, you are in an area where Nikolaev is the norm. Now for you to them, not when a god and go out would make you more conspicuous, right, will make you speak out. I spoke recently, he said Bratton, t westerhof. For that reason, only so that she doesn't speak out because like if she's going to seniors in Medina, and she says it doesn't matter then a couple of the time but when she's going to a gathering where she knows that all the sisters whether they're called she just read it, because she doesn't want to be the only one that when the niqab.
Yeah, and also because the men that would kind of they relate to you differently. Don't wear the car because,
again, it's complicated, but there's cultural considerations, as much as we are supposed to take cultural considerations in. And that's probably one of the reasons why I I kind of avoid wearing all black. Mm hmm.
in the West, I feel okay, and I'm not saying that other sisters should avoid wearing black, completely up to you.
personally, I felt that even color makes a big difference in black, you know.
And the idea of black, I believe, is very much a golf thing. You know,
probably we we, especially the 90s and stuff when people when all the jobs were being like, started being exported, I think we we were, we were more likely to wear black because that's the color that was available.
literally all over Saudi Arabia and the Gulf black is beautiful black is like, it's sleek, it's seen as for women, and it's seen as very elegant, right, like, the jobs and the cars, but that's it and in that culture,
but in the West,
in the room.
In some ways, I would say I do adjust things like the color, you know, yeah. Simply because
I don't believe color is
like shocking, shocking, pink or anything.
And it just, you know, just to take local culture into consideration a little bit is not is not a bad thing. No, no.
I think just on that note, I would like to, you know, just add something here like, I do live in north. I live in Newcastle. Okay. And I find that being black as well, like when I first moved here, you know,
I'm a Londoner, right so people you said to me, why are you moving to Newcastle? Like, you know, you know, these Northerners to say racist? You know, sometimes you have to check things off.
We judge people, but new new
rule. It's not like a flower. You know, when I first moved to the cafe, literally count the amount of non white people on one hand, okay, in the city.
In the Sacramento Yeah. So what was that like 1819 years ago now. So it's completely different now.
It's changed a lot since I've lived here. And there are a lot of rural areas because Newcastle's quite small town, small town. So you don't have to drive very far. And countryside, you know, you have lots of fields, there are sheep, there's cows. So I've been to places where, you know, if you drive up the coastal areas where they've got castles and things like that have been enclosed areas, and you'll come across villages, you know, where's that these people people make, they've never met somebody who isn't white before. And I find Mashallah that you know, these people, they've just very well managed. So even if they see me,
they might look twice, but they they're not, they're not rude or anything like that. So I think it depends, like, it's just like he said, he has to kind of weigh up things that are particularly in the, in the, in Newcastle, for example, where, you know, there's, it's nice that they've got, like the EDL, for example,
housing everywhere they have
known that people, you know, across the EDL, so we avoid things like that, or even sometimes a monsoon The problem with this kind of thing. So those days, you'll avoid going to the town, for example, you know, there's much surrounding areas like in Sunderland as well, you know, there's certain phases where they're known for certain things like maybe maybe racial prejudice and this kind of thing. So you just have to be wise and avoid certain things. But I think in general, and my experience, at least, meeting people who live in small villages or very rural areas, usually they don't, they're just very polite, I find and respectable like
to talk to them, they're not that you can see that it's something different for them. But that, I think it's just that they're so well mannered. And I think that's part of
the beauty of English culture that has been lost with many people. That's my opinion. on it, like a lot of people haven't, like, you know, been brought up in this country, myself, I think a lot of people are losing certain kinds of English values, they don't talk about British values, but people are losing some sad values, and they had to was being polite and respectful, even to people that you don't even if you don't agree with what they're doing, or you don't like certain things, it's not your place to just, you know, be rude and, you know, make rude comments or something like they just very politeness and respect them, I find that in these rural areas, people still have those values.
So it's usually a lot easier to kind of, be on and do what you want to know, usually, there's not many people anyways, you'll see hardly anybody when you go around these places.
I mean, I think it takes somebody confident, to break the ice, because, yeah, basically, to change people's perceptions, and, and I think one of the ideas that really helped me, I think, even just wearing a job, even just being a visible Muslim is,
you know, we think that people are constantly looking at us judging us. But actually, the average person is as afraid of you as you are of them.
In the sense that all human beings are self conscious, you know,
it doesn't matter how normal they look, or how, like, how much they fit in. Every human being is literally walking around
wondering how other people think what other people think of them. And once you kind of realize that, once you realize that actually, this sense of self consciousness is just a human condition.
Then you realize that actually,
I have as much right to be the way I am
the person who might be in a non minority community, but still a human being. They also have questions and they also have like, I would say insecurities, right? So but our, the way we're dressed, we're doing it horrify, of course, we're doing it for the sake of a lowly obeying our Creator. So I think once you keep that in mind,
and you get over the kind of entree, self consciousness, yeah. I think it it does become easier, and you become braver and you realize that actually,
people aren't as like you said, you know, especially in Britain, right. But one of the things I love about Britain is, people are polite people. They don't actually like confronting you. And actually, you know, the situation that I've mentioned about the CO working space.
Ironically, the person who came to approach me and the co founders of this from this co working space who both had a bit of an issue and wanted to talk to me about secularism, etc. They're not British.
I actually believe that it's because they're not British that they had that issue because I have no
harmonise almost was a kind of a British person, definitely a British person would never have come over and talk to me about the way I'm dressed. Yeah, it just would not happen, you know, especially in London. And, and, you know, I think, in fact, a British person would be mortified at the thought of it and the thought of making another person feel uncomfortable.
He's not doing any harm is literally just
wearing certain clothing.
So that's why I think also that the whole niqab debate when whatever it kind of comes up in in Europe,
I still think that Brazil is the country that is least likely to ever have a niqab ban.
it's just not British.
Literally, it is not British to go around dictating how people dress. But I think there are some opportunists type politicians who might use it as like a, like a popular thing to just,
you know, to just pull up Stoke emotions in certain parts of the public. Overall.
You think, inshallah, in Britain, I don't think it's
I don't think it's a betrayed British to kind of impose types of clothing codes of clothing onto people. And I think British people are quite comfortable overall.
And now with COVID. I mean, you know, nobody can say anything about face though.
Still, actually, they still got the ban on the face rail, but you have to wear a mask. So it's your slight
sense. Do not I mean?
Yeah. Friends, you grew up in France, and, and they said to be Muslim friends, and they said,
and now they live in Britain. And they said, It was only when they came to Britain, and they realized how,
how mentally restricted, they were in France.
Because like, I said, literally, you grow up feeling like, you can't really be express yourself as a Muslim. You're not allowed to. Whereas Britain's like, Wow, you guys look so confident. So like, I was thinking about that, and I'm thinking, where did that come from? And, and, you know, I actually think that we were brought up encouraged to be ourselves by our British schools and our teachers. Yeah.
Because my teachers were, most of my teachers are white.
And especially in primary school, and
I literally remember them telling, encouraging us to embrace our culture to us, you know, like, they see that have clubs, so we can speak a language.
Yeah. Because one of the teachers are interested in learning what to do. He was like, I'm gonna start an odd club.
And he got those of us in the booth together, come along, and help out and
and so I was doing a job from primary school.
And it was always, like, celebrated as a positive thing wasn't.
And I believe that that's a very British value, telling people to be themselves
and telling. So, you know, sometimes when somebody says to you, you know, what, you're British, why do you wear in the car or something like this? There was a, I think, being British made me feel comfortable enough to embrace my
religion, you know, like, I felt like,
I am supposed to do what I believe, as a British person, I've always been encouraged to do that. And,
and so it's actually a, I would say, a really positive thing about Britain that, I guess, those of us who grew up in this country as Muslims.
We were always encouraged to embrace
ourselves, our culture, you know, and not to kind of suppress it.
That's been my experience.
Can I think I would firstly agree, I think definitely there's, you know, he grew up in this country. You know, I've experienced some racism but never, never to the US.
In the sense where I'm trying to make you feel why I shouldn't be who I am. You're not I mean,
Usually some odd VCs here and there maybe experiences where you may feel uncomfortable bias, particularly ignorant people.
Overall in terms of,
I don't know, this for me, for my, my experience has been, whenever I've interacted with policemen, for example, once I reported somebody for like, shouting some racist, kind of these
summer phobic abuse, and that it was just
a random person.
And I was not, I was swearing, I was not wearing niqab that day. But yeah.
I mean, that's really not about,
about difference, being different and being Muslim being visibly Muslim.
I think when I reported anything like that, or one second airport, I had like a, I was having a nosebleed. And suddenly, I came off the plane, but I came came, and there were some people nearby, and they helped me out. So in terms of like, any kind of interaction I've ever had with official people, it's like, yeah, whether it's teachers or,
you know, policemen, no, hospital, any any kind of situation like that. I've always felt completely accepted. And,
you know, really, people have been really, really helpful.
And, and not discriminatory.
At the same time, I don't want us to think sometimes, you know, when we talk about the job, we can paint it as a paint a picture of too much Islamophobia on the streets and stuff like that. But I do, I am cognizant of the fact that,
you know, when I was growing up my mom, she was literally the only kajabi, though we knew, right? All right. This is like in the 80s, you know, the 80s.
And it's actually when she gets used to a job, other women started growing up in our area.
And she would literally get somebody saying something racist, every time we went out.
white person usually would always say something, you know, but that was more like, you know, being Asian. So I guess they would say something about being a practicing yoga.
But what I'm trying to say is that, that level of kind of constant and direct
abuse is not there anymore.
Might be might be in other ways. But I think our generation do have to be grateful to the generation before
he did start wearing the hijab, and did normalize it massively.
And we have to realize that actually, we've got it a lot easier in many ways. Because if it wasn't for them, normalizing it, you'd still be chosen. Now, this many parts of the UK and then the cities. It's not seen as strange at all. Yeah.
So on that note, do you failed? Obviously, as somebody who doesn't live in a house full time? Do you feel that there's a difference in how Nick hobbies are treated? Two sisters who just whether he's out, for example, like in the Muslim community, or otherwise?
difficult question because
I think I don't really want to speak for all the garbage. I don't want to like, because I don't know what experiences other sisters have had just been gone. But I do think personality has a lot to do with it. Yeah.
if you are somebody who has makeup and you are very a very private person, Mm hmm.
Then maybe you won't have had that many positive experiences, right.
But if you're a very confident person, and you're the sort of person who would initiate conversation and stuff like that, then you probably had a completely different experience of life, you know, in the UK, as in the coffee, some tea because people tend to respond to you the way you present right? Yes.
So, so much
Parents who want to find this
more kind of outside outgoing.
I've noticed they have more positive things to say,
than sisters who are quite private, and
they've been on the receiving end of ratio of abuse or Islamophobic abuse, but
but they're not really very proactive in there are not precise, but I'm just saying it's their personality, this style of being.
They're not the sort of proactive people who would go out and
strike up friendships or, you know, they just may be quietly taking their children to the park or, you know, that sort of thing and keeping keeping themselves to themselves. And then they might experience negative things. So I really think it's about
I think, when you when you talk to any Barbie, and she's got nothing but negative things to say about her experiences, and
usually, when you dig a bit, you can see that, okay.
it's not as simple as, Oh, this is a racist country. It's definitely not Yeah,
it's more, I think we have to also be introspective as to like,
and I do think we do have a responsibility. And I know that people don't know why people don't like that. They're like, why should I? Why should I be the one?
Because you're doing something that's against the law? Basically.
If you're doing something against the law, yeah, you have to explain it a little bit. Yeah, you have to go out of your way a bit. You know, it's not the whole world is not there to just bow down to you. Yeah.
It's just like, if I was doing something weird in my garden, my neighbor would
be like, Well, you know, just explain it, you know, I would just explain it just because human beings like, like to be in the know, that they like to sort of,
you know, and especially because people are so like, worried about offending you. And,
you know, they they will be kind of reticent to to start a conversation about the elephant in the room, or the, you know, the thing that they're thinking about, you know,
so sometimes you have to be the one who does that.
I know, that's difficult. If you're like, say, an introvert and you
and you've chosen, maybe your your persona is such that you don't want to reach out and
but in a way, you know, the way your experience of life is not just about the external world. It's about the way you choose to interact with the external world as well.
I think, like, when I speak to somebody, and they know that I'm working, or when a cop, or they think I rent a car, and I act as though it's not a barrier to anything, to any, any any work that I'm doing or whatever, or my effectiveness, right, in any given thing.
Then that person accepts that as well. Yes.
But if you act as though it is a barrier, and you do think of it as a barrier, and something that's sloppy, then
that's going to affect the way people
people take it and respond to it.
Mashallah, that makes a lot of sense. I definitely can agree with that as well, just from experiences that I've had with other Nickleby sisters as well. I think that makes a lot of sense.
So just how young have you in your, you know, time as you know, living in the UK and being abroad and stuff like that? Have you come across sisters who've been forced into wanting to?
Um, not that anyone has admitted it?
I will say
I haven't met anyone who's been forced. But I know lots of sisters who do it because their husbands would like them to do it.
Or their husbands have asked them to Yeah.
But I haven't experienced from them a rejection of that in the kind of, as I said, as a Muslim woman, you submit to Allah, and you choose to obey Allah. And
within that choice means that you're choosing to obey Allah rules and laws.
And, and one of those is obedience to one's husband. Right. And so I think the sisters who they've done that consciously, you know, yeah, it turns into and we have we as Muslim women, you choose to
accept that we have the head of the house, right. Matthew has the final, final say on it. And so
then after that, if a sister accepts, you know, her husband would really like her to do something and
and she goes along with it or accepts it, then that's a blessing, something she'll be rewarded for.
Mostly, I've met sisters like that.
And what happens is you are not allowed to wear it, but because of their husbands.
You know, my mom used to intercom when she first came to this country.
She grew up in an area of India where niqab was normal, like vodka.
But my dad told him to stop wearing the niqab.
And that was interesting. When my mom told me that. And I asked her like what, you know,
she said, because
she said, we would be on the train and like, nobody wears hijab or niqab. Right? And she said, my dad,
this is interesting reasoning, right? My dad said to her,
is better if I can sit here and look at your face? Yeah.
Then look around. And there's all these women everywhere. You know?
That's interesting, actually. I never really thought of it like that. You know, like the kids Amelie were basically at that point. And as a man, he's thinking, you know, what, it's like all these naked,
not naked, but you know, women who are showing their beauty all around me. And my wife is sitting here on black. And like, a, you know, it's better if I could just
look at her. And that would be my focus, you know?
So that's that. So that was quite interesting. And, yeah, she, she stopped her in the car at that point.
And so that's one example. I have, I guess. But apart from that, again, maybe, maybe people just haven't told me about their situations, but I don't really know of sisters whose husbands are that kind of, you know, authoritative. In that sense. I would say, also authoritarian, I mean,
rather, it's usually a negotiation between the two.
And a discussion, you know, so the, he might say, look, be careful. If you're in this area, then don't worry. You know,
go ahead, safety. But yeah, that's the kind of situations I've, I've come across personally.
So, what would you advise a staff who would like to start when they're not
kind of afraid to wear your shirt, your confidence or whatever?
Um, okay, I would say,
There must be a reason that she feels, you know, she's thinking about it.
This way, worth thinking about that, you know, like,
and, again, like, I think we need to take this sort of,
over emotional, overly emotional and overly kind of prescriptive thing out of the issue of Nicole. Yeah. And instead embrace it as a good deed. You know, even if you don't, if you believe it's obligatory, then that's a different matter, then you should wear niqab. Right? If you are convinced that it's a big issue. But if you're not, then we should all and that's what the I would say.
All of schools of thought at least agree that it's a good thing? Yes. If not obligatory? So. I think all of us as Muslim women, instead of thinking of it as a separate category of the job most Yeah.
I think we should all embrace it as part of our Islamic dress. Yes.
Just as we embrace any good deed, and you should think of it as you know,
something that we all do at times.
But for sisters who are considering doing it, like full time when they go out, etc. I'd say if you believe it's obligatory and you're convinced of that, then
then I think you should do it. Yes.
No understanding how long it's going to come to you any direct harm.
But if you, if you do it and you'd like to do it as a good deed, then,
you know, like I said,
what's stopping you? You know, is it
the reason that you're not doing it?
I would say, it's a big deal and you're doing it, you want to do it, and you believe that it will be pleasing to Allah? And do it.
You know, just stop.
Don't don't don't don't think of it as I think what happens is people think put so much pressure on themselves, either a Nickleby, or blocked type thing. And that stops them from ever doing it.
You know, it makes the decision much bigger. Yeah, you know, I think just embrace it as a good thing to do. And
I think it's fine. You know, I think we should normalize it. And
I think that's, I think that's really, what you say, makes a lot of sense. Because I think in the Muslim community, because there's so much going on, there's a bit of stigma around the hub now. But it is spatially hijab, like you're saying that the hub is part of the hijab. So you know, whether you get it obligatory or not, if every missing one more, just embrace it as being a form of your job.
parts of Islamic
dress, you know, that her wardrobe.
And also just knowing that, even if it's, if you don't consider it obligatory, the wives of the Prophet SAW Selim did used to cover their faces. It's not just a cultural thing, you know, how some people keep saying, it is an Islamic thing. All the books are covering the face.
Shouldn't be nice to cover.
The simplicity in which she, you know, it's clear that she doesn't she talks about it. So at least the mothers of the believers did it. And
if not more than them, and
symbol of, you know, modesty, virtue, obedience a lot. So I think, if we embrace it as that, and we normalize it, the thing that I'm worried about is that because it's the state that either you are in a hobby or not, even when they literally take in makeup,
they will go out without niqab because they think
the copy? Yeah, right? Who created this category of the gabion?
Your needs to he said, You have to be a category? No, you're a Muslim woman. You're supposed to observe the right Allah, Allah has only allowed you to go out of your house, and to appear in front of men and women in public.
If you have your hour and certain
decorum and a certain amount of yourself in a certain way.
If you look at it like that, then you think, Okay, I need to forget about categories, I need to think.
How what would be pleasing to Allah, you know, I'm wearing red lipstick.
That is, I'm accentuating my lips, and making them more beautiful to learn
in front of men, and it's not right for me to go out like that.
So I must cover my face in that situation, and I should, or I should not wear makeup, and I should get to that place, wherever I'm going my party, whatever.
gathering and then I can wear it there.
I think this idea that sisters are caked in makeup, and they think it's completely fine, you know, to kind of literally be pulling a lot of attention to themselves and his job in his job.
I think that that is actually needs to change leads to change, because that's causing us to sin.
You know, when we do that,
and this really confuses people, like once I met this lady last night and she said
she came to a talk where we talking about her job and she said I didn't realize that it was like that because she said I've got quality to wear makeup and her job. So I thought maybe it's just like a cultural headless.
Do you see like,
we give a very confusing message when you're basically trying to try to look sexy, right? And you're you've got
going on there.
Is that person trying to be modest? Are they trying to be attractive?
And I think as women, we need to stop tricking ourselves and falling into shape on track, which is he wants us to, to meet, he wants us to take off of him. Thank you. I am a Muslim woman, I'm religious thoughts. I can also be, I just want to be attractive.
And we have to start becoming, I think, sensitive to chiffons whispers.
Because I think people are justifying these things in all sorts of weird ways nowadays, you know.
And also, I think she will have sometimes scared to call to talk about it because it's become so
politically correct, basically, especially
back in the day that you were always talking about Steve Jobs, right? And now it's like,
touch that topic, because we don't want to be seen as
collective men or something, you know, like,
and, you know, there's this narrative that, oh, you can't men can't talk about women's things, right?
Which is completely wrong. Any if a person is a scholar, if the prophet SAW Solomon's here, would we say to him, and he can't speak to us? You can't address us? Of course not. So this kind of narrative of men can't speak about women's issues, is wrong allies can actually ask the men,
you know, did they look after the women? Did they teach the women did they? Were they responsible in their communities, just as we will be asked about our families and our communities, we all of us are shepherds, right and responsible for our flocks, as the heartbeat goes, so
men do have a say, men are supposed to be men and women, if they're qualified, the teachers, they can teach one another. And they can, in the sense that we should be enjoying the good and forbidding the evil, regardless of whether we're male or female.
So I think we as women need to stop falling into that trap as well, you know, where, basically, Western feminism has kind of encouraged us to
adopt to the idea that men don't have a say,
it's not true at all, Allah has given certain people knowledge, certain people authority, he told us to go to the scholars, and now many scholars are men. So it's got nothing to do with Brenda. Now, the sex. Yeah, exactly.
So I think we need to stop being mostly Muslim women.
Remember what the purpose of our life is sort of a Allah, not to be accepted by society.
And that tells us that if you make him number one in our life, then he will cause the world and the people of the world to love us as well. Establish Love, love for us and Leah.
And I think we need to be women of substance, you know,
be strong, because if it wasn't for the past generation, being strong, we wouldn't have mosques in this country, we wouldn't have a job wouldn't have been normalized.
our generation also needs to be strong and not allow
the job and our Islamic practices to be watered down, just because of some perceived
in a consideration that we have or fear that we have.
Instead, we should be leading society.
And to do that, you need to be a role model.
And lead the way and then society will follow.
This it will follow because I don't know if you've noticed with the whole me to movement and yeah, I think, I think in the West there is like this big kind of an awakening that's happening. But you know, we've been doing it wrong all these years, right? Like we
we haven't got it figured out in the West when it comes to men and women. Definitely not in their interactions and especially at work and
and I think there is an awakening there. Right.
Some offices and places of work of introducing rules that
Islam has established 1500 years ago, right. You know, things like not not being alone in a room with you know, without a chaperone or not closing the door.
handshaking you know, not all women really want to shake hands. And when I have physical contact with people anymore, you know, they don't want it to be normal that a man Ronis
three coronas got the hand shaking as well. Yeah.
Really good. But, you know, like the whole thing of like, Men at Work thinking because they can kiss a woman on her cheek. Like,
adults are comfortable with that saying, saying, you know, actually, we don't want to wear heels, you know, heels, or
we don't want to wear them to work every day.
So I think there is a bit of an awakening happening,
or slowly awakening. And it's for us as Muslim women to posit
the alternative to to women, you know,
in this time, and instead of being insula, instead of thinking of being becoming very protectionist, I'd say like, just thinking about, okay, I'm just going to keep my religion to myself.
Instead, we should be sharing, we should be reaching out and realizing that, you know, when Allah said in the Quran, you are the best nation to be extracted for the sake of mankind.
He said that to the women as well, right? Yeah, just for the men. And he said, Why? Because you enjoyed the good and you forbid the evil and you believe in Allah. We have Islam as a gift Allah gave us and we're going to look at it as a gift, not as some it's not just merely an identity or merely a religion, you know, the label that we put on ourselves, it's
it's the way of life that God gave us to share with mankind that human beings and as women, I think we need to start stepping up not being apologetic about the fear, but showing people actually you know what, this will solve your problems. This will
bring womankind peace of mind
and I don't think I don't think we're doing that enough.
Mashallah, so sister, just to end this interview has been amazing, but I'm gonna ask you one last question that you probably answered already. But I want to ask you this. What does that mean to you in just three words? What would you say? Three words? Three words? Yeah.
can say acting worship
I'm so glad I've been outspoken about this because my son I think he said so many things that are really am points that we can really reflect on and Alhamdulillah and he had a lot to say about this kind of stuff. Because I said when I saw those little clips on TV was unused that it could be edited and you know, have you haven't been able to like really put your point across but I think Mashallah, you've really done it today. So don't feel satisfied that I've got like,
a lot of answers from you and a lot of different perspectives, a totally different perspective in the past few things. So
yeah, I find that beneficial inshallah and the other sisters and other listeners will benefit as well. So
give me the opportunity because, you know, like you said, most of the time, it's like, the pool don't talk about an account for a minute and you have to like,
do sound bites, which is
really nice speaking to
my Salaam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh