Today, I finally composed myself to watch Channel 4’s documentary – “My Week As A Muslim” and I’m just as annoyed as I was when I read the title. (FYI – the title literally sounds like she’s dressing up in a costume. Come on.)
 
There are lots of things that really grind my gears and ignorance is one of them. The documentary is about a lady named Katie from Cheshire, who pretty much had a very closed-minded view on Muslims. And by closed-minded, she literally believed that Muslim women wore suicide belts underneath their garments and wanted to stay away from them.
A few minutes into the documentary… “Katie’s hometown is one of the whitest in Britain. And she rarely mixes with people from other backgrounds.
 
Well, there’s your answer, Katie. What do you expect to learn if you’re intentionally staying away from people who don’t look like you?
 
She meets with Saima, a mother of 5 who lives in Manchester, (probably the first Muslim she has ever interacted with), and just decided to go undercover as a Muslim woman for an entire week.
 
Here’s what I found very very problematic:
The lengths that they went through to transform Katie into a Muslim. I thought I was watching Mrs Doubtfire for a second. What is all this higgi hagga?
– Fake nose
– Fake teeth
– Darker skin tone … She was made to look “Pakistani.”
 
Here’s a better idea: Sit down at a table and ask an actual Muslim woman some questions. Spend the day with her. Grab some coffee. Have a decent conversation.
 
Instead, we have a bigot named Katie who is playing dress up on camera.
 
Why does it take a white woman to wear a hijab and “be a Muslim” for a week for people to see what it’s like to be a hijabi in Britain? Do you know how absurd that sounds? Muslim women are literally being ignored EVEN when it’s about them.
 
This documentary was filmed around the time the Manchester bombing happened at Ariana Grande’s concert. Here’s the part that really made me want to throw my laptop across the room. After the attack, Katie started to feel anxious about “pretending to be a Muslim.” Here’s what she said:
 
“It kind of changes the way I feel about the whole thing now. Selfishly, I have to think about my own safety. I could potentially be putting myself in harms way, because of the way people are targeting the Muslim community.”
 
HMMM. Interesting.
Katie is now thinking about the repercussions that she might face as a “Muslim woman” and admitted that people will be targeting the Muslim community. But before this documentary, she was comforting her daughter who was frightened at the sight of a Muslim woman in a burka. Before this documentary, she was afraid to sit next to a Muslim in case “they blew up”. So Katie, in your ignorant days, did you ever think about the backlash Muslims get? Now that this is affecting HER, she felt anxious.
NEWSFLASH honey, people are living through this anxiety every single day.
 
Here are a few headlines:
“Muslim woman dragged along the pavement by hijab in London”
“Acid attack incident in East London”
“Racist jailed after kicking pregnant Muslim woman in the stomach causing her to lose baby”
 
It’s quite clear that women are often the targets of Islamophobic attacks. So for Channel 4 to go ahead and make a documentary about a white woman validating our humanity and discovering that “Muslim women are just normal people like us” is such a stupid and offensive idea.
 
What happened to opening your mouth and asking questions? I know ignorance is bliss for some but in 2017, there is no excuse when it comes to gaining some knowledge on a subject. You can’t limit your brain to what you see in the media.
 
Just ask, init.
 
Muslims won’t bite you in the neck if you approach them with a question. If you’re unsure about something, just ask. Try and stay away from “Why don’t you go back to your own country?” because to be honest… we’re tired of that question. Switch it up a bit.
 
I’m talking about other things that you just don’t have a clue about. I’ve had people ask me why my hair is covered. I’ve had a co-worker ask me how I’ve managed to stay cool in 30 degree weather. “I feel so bad for saying this but… how do you do it? You’ve got long sleeves on and your hair is covered?” she asked, as she played with her hair, that was ironically drenched in sweat.
 
We get this all the time. But I’m happy to talk about it!
 
So to all the Katies out there who honestly find it very difficult to interact with other human beings and willingly buy The Sun newspaper every morning, I can’t help you. I just pray we don’t ever cross paths.