THE BLOG

Pass The Samosa, Not The Blame

08/06/2017 12:16

Its 11.56pm, after some very long standing for the beautiful night prayers of Ramadan, in one of London's biggest mosque, I open my phone to a barrage of messages asking if I am safe? I then hear the announcement for everyone to be vigilant, as another attack has been reported. If we are all supposed to be praying right now who could possibly be out killing?

In this month of Ramadan, 1.5 billions Muslims across the world will partake in fasting. For some in the UK that's up to 19 hours without food and drink, the purpose to help spiritually cleanse ourselves, to go beyond just empathising but also feel the suffering of those with empty stomachs across the world. Fasting is about improving our state of self, to refrain from all harmful behaviour, from uttering a bad word to even taking badly of others.

This month has already been so turbulent with widespread deaths and bombing attacks across the world, Iraq, Syria to some of the biggest political events of our time; Trump leaving the Paris accord, Arab countries cutting ties with Qatar to that little matter of a snap General election and the future of Brexit!

The news again now rife with stories trying to figure out questions on how much state security is enough, what does Trump's latest tweet mean and oh who should we be voting for...

So really it's a busy time for us, thinking, not eating, but most importantly we all have a lot of decisions to make.

This really boils down to figuring out what we want the future of our society to look like and what voice we want in it. As a Scottish - Pakistani, Muslim Woman and President, I have a fair few labels to dissect. As a muslim woman in leadership, those labels have really come to mean too much and can often be a barrier to seeing what really matters, our contribution.

My biggest concern is making sure those voices that I have been elected to represent actually get heard, for me the question really is about what matters to Muslim students in this really big decision of the General Election. Though politics has a new found buzz, political apathy is still a big problem, disconnect between how much we feel we can really change and what our politicians actually do, is still a serious issue.

The majority of our brilliant Muslim student population, diverse and active, want to make sure they survive university like all students and actually get a job after. Muslim students face particular issues in even getting to education due to restrictions on being unable to take interest based loans. Despite the Government already proposing for shariah compliant loans we have yet to see a date for implementation, meaning many won't even go to university.

For some the growing issue of islamophobia will dominate their worries, from discrimination on campus to employment. With hate crime on the rise, being visibly muslim means you might not get a job after the first 100 CVs being sent and you might be subject to a hate crime. For Muslim women this is even more likely.

The important question therefore, which government will really be pushing for inclusivity and a society proud of its diversity, showing zero tolerance for all kinds of hate and breaking down institutional racism. Which government is going to ensure the UK really is a place for everyone. Where those labels are something we can be proud of, not a source of identity crisis.

At this time, many student Islamic societies will be providing iftaar (meal to break fast) across campus in the UK, opening their door to people of all faiths and backgrounds. This will be an important time for reflection. What does the future look like for Muslims in the UK. What does the UK look like in the future for everyone? Though there is so much bigotry and division being espoused right now, Ramadan at its very heart is a time for us all to keep pushing to remain firmly united, with our hearts and most definitely in sharing our food!

Finally, with not long to go till the vote, there is everything still to decide, so make sure you got out and vote. We will still be fasting...

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