Post-referendum we have witnessed increased levels of physical and verbal violence as well as acts of vandalism towards EU nationals and other minorities living in the UK. Disturbing as these events are it is important to note that the Polish community also received great support and many acts of kindness from the British community. Politicians, community leaders and ordinary citizens voiced their shock and horror as well as assured us that it Britain is open to all.
Freedom, right and wrong, honour and shame are not universal concepts. They mean different things to different people and their bases of reference are not the same across all cultures. Do not fall into the trap of assuming that women who do not drive or women who wear the veil are somehow oppressed and will 'see the light' once they learn more about Western gender equality.
Our plane was descending slowly. From the window, we could see overlay yellow lights like sparkling stars in the dark night. Meanwhile, the pilot instructed all passengers to fasten their seatbelts and move their seats into an upright position. Our hearts beat faster and faster. We could not wait to begin our short trip to a country to which we had long been looking forward: Morocco.
She wasn't shown to be a zealot constantly praying or sharing words of wisdom with her fellow inmates. She read books not exclusively about Islam and even participated in a money-making scheme some of the other African-American inmates organised. She. Is. Normal. And I can't tell you how awesome it is to see a 'normal' Muslim on TV.
Despite being born and raised in England, I no longer identify as British. It feels unsettling to say so, and I should add that I still hold a UK passport and have a deep affection for my country of origin. However, having having spent almost a third of my life living in France and Belgium, and learned a second language, I now see myself as European.
I was walking with my children on the heath surrounding Lyme Park, the stately home famous as the backdrop for Colin Firth's wet T-shirt moment, in Pride and Prejudice. It was a breezy morning and my teenage daughters, pasty faced, baggy eyed (from our early start) were in a sulky mood, hands shoved deep into hoody pockets.