Category Archives: Muslim

If I was?

Firstly let me say that I didnt see this on TV last night, only finding out about it after it had all happened. Besides which, given I tend to avoid this sort of reality TV, I probably wouldnt have watched it, even if I had known, given what I’ve since read of her views beforehand. Yes, but for Twitterverse, I might never have known about it, though given the coverage it got this morning, that might have been hard to miss!
So my views are more my own, and as much as I could gather from comments from Twitter, and various media outlets, which may not be all that reliable.

Right, disclaimer over. Thats right, for those in the UK at least, who might know about it, the C4 program last night, A Week As A Muslim, is what I’m talking about tonight. For those elsewhere in the world, well, you’ve seen as much of it as I have!

It seems to be the classic TV take on something like this, take a self admitted non-fan of Muslim people, and get her to live as a Muslim for a week, and film events as they happen. I’m going to use that term, for now. She might have been worse than a non-fan, but as I wasnt witness to that, I’ll leave it there. Part of the reaction against her seems to have related to the fact that she was ‘made up’ to look like she was a Pakistani, which worked both ways, garnering complaints from those who wished to point out that there are white people who are Muslim, so she didnt need to be ‘colored’, and from those who said that it wasnt done in a flattering way to Pakistani Muslims, but as that is Twitter hearsay, I’m not sure how much credence to give to that. None would probably be close to the mark, there are some ghastly views on Twitter, on both sides of the fence!

Of course, as fate would happen, she went to live with a Muslim family in Manchester, and it coincided with the bombing at the Manchester Arena, which led to her realizing, even more, just what ordinary, innocent Muslim people have to put up with from some ‘idiots’! She only faced it for a few days, but for so many more, its a sad fact of life, at all times. So wrong, so sad that there are people like that, but anyway…

For me, I think it would be fascinating to spend a week as a woman in a Muslim family. But yes, I wouldnt make for ‘great TV’ because I’m pro ordinary Muslim people anyway. No, I dont support the terrorist branches, but neither do most Muslim people here anyway! And lets face it, there are some pretty awful right wing white supremacist types around too! Oh fine, she wore a Hijab, but I know that if I was in that role, I would have wanted to go out in a Niqab, or Burqa, just to find out the real truth. Mind, I suspect the reality in Bradford might be different to Manchester, but in truth, no idea.

I have some experience in these matters now, of course. Before September, I’d heard stories of people deliberately ignoring people in wheelchairs, trying to pretend they werent there, but I hoped it was being exaggerated. Sadly, the answer was no, it isnt. When sat in one, people just looked away, had to literally be shouted at, to stop them walking in front of the moving wheelchair, and so much more. All the same, I’m looking forward (hopefully, health permitting) to experiencing ‘Round 2’ in May, in 3 airports (I need to transit going out, direct flight back), I must say.

I guess it might be an actress thing, the challenge of a new role, either in a production, or in this case, a real life situation. So yes, a week as a Muslim would be a very different show with me, but I guess I’ll never know what its like. Unless…?

Equally, of course, if Channel 4 want to consider making a show, a week as a robot, hmm, lol? 😉

The video, massive clue in the title. Live version, a very good one, mind, as I’ve used the original before.

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You have the right to be free

Now this could be one of those fun postings tonight, given I’m not meant to make political comments about the UK, because of my job, so if it looks like I’m trying to avoid saying something, I probably am!

So lets start with the Brexit situation. Those who have been around a while will have an idea of my view on the matter, but we arent here to discuss, or mention that. Because for this piece at least, regardless of how it all plays out, my sympathy lies with those people here, who have moved here from the rest of Europe. Oh, and strictly, those British people now living in the rest of the EU. So why do I feel sympathy for them, its just the total feeling they must have, of not knowing how things will play out for them in the future.

No, I now have no plans to work permanently anywhere abroad (unless I get a never ending TV offer, or something, anyway, ha ha), though I still hope that maybe, just for a little while, either in standard work, or in media, that I get the chance to work in North America some day. Doubt it will happen now, especially with my current health, though I guess for some roles, someone who actually uses a wheelchair, some of the time, might be a benefit?

But for those who wish to do so, either here, or in Europe, its a bit of a ‘no mans land’ situation at present. I just hope that sometime, at some point, the whole matter can get settled in a satisfactory manner.

The other matter that has saddened me again is religion. Again, I’m not going to (hopefully) get involved too politically in this, though thankfully this isnt a UK issue anyway.

I may not be the most religious person in the whole wide world, though I always state I’m Christian on those forms you have to fill in, I’m certainly not an ‘every Sunday’ churchgoing type, or anything. In fact, if anything, I’m probably multi-religious (if possible), or for want of another term, I take the best of many religions, and try to live life like that.

Unsurprisingly, given I work in Bradford, I work with a good number of Muslim people. Now, as a Trans person, you might think some might look down on me because of that. In fact, in truth, its just the opposite. To say that they’ve taken me, and my situation to heart, and have supported me, is putting it mildly! Thats not to say that everyone in the office hasnt done the same, but if you believed some of those right wing ‘crazies’, well…Not that they like LGBT folk on the whole, but to their way of thinking, I’d have major issues, nothing of the sort.

In truth, probably inspired by one woman in the office, who may recognize herself, but I’m not naming her, and the example she sets, I’d probably be more at peace as a Muslim woman, than being involved with some of the Christian folk around today. There are a number of lovely Christian people in truth, but in terms of a peaceful religious lifestyle, guess which one wins out for me?

I know, someone is going to shout IS at me, and fair enough. But do you know what percentage of Muslims actually support IS? A tiny fraction, if that many! Bit like saying all the Christians in the world are of the LGBT hating, bible bashing type, so untrue!

Oh fine, I’ll get to the main matter at last. Another Country has banned the Burka, and Niqab, and now a Canadian State is in the process of following suit. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m sad to see this. Let me say that I would say that I would love to see women given the choice of whether to wear it, or not, and I suspect for most, they do get that choice. There may be some that dont get that choice, of course, but I do wish they could have their say. But yes, I feel the ban, thankfully only abroad at present is the wrong way to go.

Me, yes, absolutely, if I was Muslim, I’d happily wear it. But fine, I’m submissive anyway, so I guess the nature of wearing it appeals to me regardless? I’m delighted that most women here only have to wear the Hijab (forgive my spelling on these items, if wrong), if that is all that they, and their family want them to wear! Me, I’d love to experience what wearing a Niqab, or Burka is like, both as a support to Muslim women, and their choice to wear what they want, and also because, as I suspect what counts as ‘Actress curiosity’, I’d be fascinated to know what its like, both my reaction, and others to my wearing of one. If anyone could give me the opportunity, without upsetting Muslim people…?

Yes, the experience I gained of using a wheelchair last month, at airports, was an eye opener, and not in a good way. I’d heard people say that people will try and ignore anyone in a wheelchair, and I’d have to say in 90% of cases, they’d be right! Maybe one day, they will be in that same position, I wonder how they will feel then? Yes, it would be interesting to walk out dressed in Niqab, or Burka, completely covered in that way, and even in Bradford, a multi cultural city, see how many people would actually look me in the eye? Hmm?

OK, video time. Something a bit different tonight. I was 13 when this came out, and it struck a chord with me, even though at that age the sentiments meant little to me. Now they mean a lot more. I actually looked up Les Crane on Wikipedia, and seemingly he was far more than a one hit wonder!

Come on, and look at me!

One thing I’ve often heard said by disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs, is that a large number of people either tend to look away, or look over them, trying to pretend they’re not really there. In honesty, I’ve got to the point where I nearly always try to acknowledge them, even if only briefly in passing, simply to prove that I do know they’re there, and are happy to be seen with them.

The other group of people that I always try to acknowledge in a friendly way, are Muslim women wearing either the Niqab, or occasionally the Burqa, simply to show that I want to be friendly, and supportive of them, unlike sadly too many people nowadays. One thing I enjoy about Bradford is that nearly everybody I see, if not approving of such wear, at least doesnt react in a bad way. Mind, that might be because I only really see it being worn in the city center, though hopefully not the case.

But until now at least, the one thing I’ve never discovered is what life is like on the other side of the issue. Yes, I’d be fascinated to know what life is like inside of the Niqab, or Burka, and show my support for Muslim women who wear it that way, but I suspect its too complex a religious matter for it to ever happen. But yes, it would be both fascinating, and probably informative to spend a day wearing the Niqab, and seeing how people react to those wearing it. Probably only brave enough to do it somewhere like Bradford, or similar community, if going out, but as a whole, just seeing what life dressed like that would be a fascinating experience, and probably one that if more people tried it, we might have a lot less religious issues in the world too.

Yes, I am saying that if someone offers me the chance to wear Niqab, or Burka, either privately, or outside, then I would love to do it. And if it can be done in a way that brings up positive publicity for Muslim women, then so much the better!

Equally, fortunately, up to now, I’ve never known what its like to spend time in a wheelchair. I must have done as a child, when my knees were wrecked at the age of 9 or 10, but you dont expect me to remember that, do you? But at least on that point, in 5-6 weeks time, I’m going to get to see how people react to me in a wheelchair. Will they look me in the face, and be supportive, or will they try to pretend I’m not really there, hmm?

Yes, I have to be practical about my flights in a few weeks time. Currently I can walk to a pretty reasonable degree, and I can sit down without too many pain issues, though how much of that is currently clouded by painkillers, I have no idea! However, the one thing I cant do at present for more than a few minutes, is stand still. And yes, while the check in queue, and the security check queue will require some standing in line, you usually move along at regular intervals, which may, or may not be sufficient for my back not to lock up completely. However, when it comes to the queue at Boston, to go through Immigration principally, and Customs to a lesser degree, is that you tend to stand in 1 place, in a queue, for far longer than that. Now it is possible that in 5 weeks time, my back may be less of an issue, but until I’m on proper medication, I wouldnt like to bank on that. Even if on proper medication, I dont want to be confident on that, and not sure we will reach that point in 5 weeks, anyway.

So yes, today I’ve bitten the bullet (you have to give a minimum of 2 weeks warning, but being realistic, I’m not going to improve dramatically in 3 weeks), and requested assistance from the airline for my travels through the airports. Yes, I know I need it, but that doesnt stop the guilt factor, when I can walk reasonably well, but thats just my nature, I guess?

But yes, it will be fascinating to see how ‘fit people’ react to this ‘poor old lady’ in a wheelchair, I must say. So yes, if on 9th September, at Manchester Airport (or Boston later that day), you see a middle aged lady in a wheelchair, be nice to her, it might just be me! Yes, same plan booked for JFK flying back on evening of 18th, just saying…I wonder?

Right, video time. No, I have no plans to be wearing this while sat in my wheelchair, though it might be fun if I was! But yes, feel free to look at me, all the same!

Lets all take a breath, and count to ten, and then…

Yes, let me say I was saddened greatly by the news that came out of Finsbury Park in the last couple of days, in a similar way to how I felt after the London Bridge incident, before anyone points out that I didnt comment on that. Sadly, when I only have time to do 2 blogs a week, and other things do happen in my life, some things get thought about, but not mentioned here, and that was one of them. Add in the Tower block fire last week, and London isnt having a good time of late, lets face it.

Equally, can I say that I wasnt entirely surprised when that horrific incident in Finsbury Park happened, because I wasnt. Such is political, and religious extremism at the far end of the spectrum of late, that no, I wasnt surprised when a white supremacist type decided to take a stand for himself over the matter. Thankfully, both sets of incident are few, and far between (very much so, in fact), but the press, and TV tend to over focus when they do. When parades of thousands of Muslims, protesting against terrorism happen, they have a tendency to ignore, as it just doesnt suit the underlying tendencies of too many in power, trying to scare people nowadays, lets face it.

I only hope that this can be it, that people can see sense, and we have no more retaliation, from either side. I know, as John Lennon said, ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’, at least I hope I’m not. Unfortunately, the people I’m appealing to with this piece are probably the ones least likely to read this, but I can hope that in some way, the message can get out. Yes, I know, I’m a very liberal type, but I think that most people, with a cool head would be able to see that just continuing the violence isnt a great idea, from either side.

So all I am saying, to quote another Lennon song, is to ‘Give peace a chance’, please. And yes, let me add that if there was a way I could wear a burqa/burka (I’ve seen it spelt both ways) in support of my Muslim friends, without it being religiously offensive, I’d happily do so. I dont deny it, I’ve seen women wearing it in Bradford a number of times, and wondered what it was like. But no, I dont want to offend anyone, all the same. But if the chance arose…?

Right, the video. No John Lennon, no Dusty Springfield, which a few might have thought of, from the blog title. Instead, a live Police classic from 2008!

Anyone want to buy me a Burkini?

So fine, lets start September with a moment of political/religious controversy! I hope no followers disown me because of this, but hey, its my feelings, not forcing them on anyone else, so…

One item of clothing of late, that seems to be causing plenty of controversy, is the Burkini. I have no idea if that is the official title of this piece of swimwear, or just one that the ghastly press has jumped on to describe it, so forgive me, if needed.

To be truthful, I do wonder if the fuss being created about it is more about the religious side of things, than strictly the look, because in truth, it looks a lot like a wetsuit, and as far as I know, no one has made a fuss about any woman wearing one of those. Just the opposite in fact, but that could be a material issue? No, surely not, just because a wetsuit is really tight, and shows off your figure, whereas a burkini just covers a similar amount of flesh, in a less sexy way, surely not?

To be honest, and this may be an age thing, or it might be a trans thing, but I love the look of the burkini, and would far rather wear that than most modern swimwear, which is far too revealing for an old lady like me. Even swimsuits tend to be high cut, and everything, so when your figure isnt perfect? Yes, hopefully you get my drift?

Yes, I admit, the cut, and design is perfect for hiding my one last, err, imperfection, and I could get around my boob issues too, with a design like that. So, in other words, for me at least, perfect! In truth, my only concern about buying one, is not the look, but the religious connotation behind it, and how some people might react to it. There is also the thing I would wonder, how would Muslim people feel about, and react to, a good Christian woman wearing it? I know, unless someone (by some miracle) started chatting me up, because I was wearing it, then the issue probably wouldnt arise.

So fine, I’m asking, would other non Muslim women ever consider wearing a Burkini, or is it just me? I always wanted a wetsuit, but would never have the courage to wear one, because of physical issues, they are just too revealing. But the burkini, gives the look of a wetsuit, without the material issues, which may be why I love it so much. And yes, the other thing is, I’ve virtually given up on swimsuits, and swimming, because of one (very little) thing, and how hard it would be to hide it, in a normal swimsuit. But in this?

So yes, I love it, but just wondering what the repercussions, both political (right wing idiots), and religious (Muslim attitude) would be to doing so? I know, not going to do it, but just saying, for us older ladies with ‘issues’, the burkini is swimwear I could happily wear! But if anyone wants to offer to buy me one? 😉

The video really is one of those You Tube search moments, I know nothing about the group. But the resemblance between burkinis, and wetsuits, well…