What is my relation to ISIS?

Does the title bother or anger you? Is that the reason why you clicked my blog post because you’re intrigued to find out? What do I actually have to do with ISIS? Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out….

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Firstly, let me clear the air by saying that I have NOTHING to do with ISIS! I just wanted your attention. 🙂

But did the question bother you? Would you be bothered if someone had asked YOU the same question?

A few weeks ago, someone actually came up to me, he was a man probably in his 40s. He asked me why I was wearing this “thing” on my head. He then proceeded to ask if I were a Muslim. When I said yes, he found it appropriate to ask what my relation was to ISIS and if I believed or if my religion believed in blowing people up.

To which I responded with a smile, “do you believe in blowing people up? I don’t and I have nothing to do with ISIS”. He then just walked away.

Sometimes, as I sit and ponder about the interactions I have with people and my identity, sure, it’s kind of ignorant, but on the other hand, I consider myself so privileged. I am grateful that I have lived in places where I do not fear for my life as I step out of the house wearing my scarf.

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But that’s how it starts doesn’t it? Stereotypes that are formed, whether or not as a joke, or just said for the sake of saying it. Then it leads to violence when things simply get out of hand. It could be as simple as calling someone a terrorist just because they come from a certain religion.

We often deal with stereotypes our whole lives. Education teaches us to discern between what is right and wrong. We see all sorts of stereotypes depicted in our daily lives through so many mediums; the online, digital or print media and mainstream media in general. While our brains tell us to reject it, when we are faced with the same messages every single day, it forms a construct. Society then sets expectations and rules of how we are required to behave based on the social constructs that we “belong” to. Stereotypes can come in all forms: race, religion, culture, gender, the poor, the uneducated and more (Devine & Elliot, 1995).

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I believe all religions are pure. Religions don’t condone terrorism, people do. That said, people fall into the habit of stereotyping everything, which is sad because kindness is free.

According to Foucault (2000: 291), ethical practices are proposed, suggested or imposed by a given society, culture or social group. They provide points of reference and not absolute limits. (Faubion 2001: 89-90)

So whether I like it or not, by publicly declaring my identity, I invite feedback from others on how I should live my life.

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Mansfield (2000) refers to subjectivity as an experience and that it is prone to change and inconsistency. Our sense of selves will change, and we adapt to the change and be somebody else. My past shapes who I am today. Society will judge us everyday. I realize that I learnt to hold on to what is important to me. Wearing the hijab does not impede me from participating in social and academic activities.

I am proud of the decision I made to don the Hijab and I will continue being myself, doing things I want to do regardless of what people might say. As long as I know I am not doing anything wrong. I believe in living my life to the fullest.

With that, I invite you guys to check out this short video I made for one of my projects before. Being stereotyped as a terrorist is not the only encounter I’ve experienced. The video shows a few funny questions that are just derived from (oblivious, or maybe not) hilarious curiosity.

So come and have a laugh with/at me! I’m in the video, it was quite embarassing, so please judge nicely. 😀

Signing off for now!

#hijabninja

References:
Devine, P. G., & Elliot, A. J. (1995). Are racial stereotypes really fading? The Princeton trilogy revisited. Personality and Social Psychology Bul- letin, 21, 1139-1150.
Foucault, M 2000 Ethics: Subjectivity and truth (Essential Works of Michel Foucault, 1954-1984) Volume 1. (ed) P. Rabinow. London: Penguin.
Faubion, J. 2001. Toward an anthropology of ethics: Foucault and the pedagogies of autopoiesis. Representations 74, 83-104.
Mansfield, N. ( 2000) ‘Introduction’, Subjectivity : Theories of the self from Freud to Haraway, Sydney : Allen & Unwin, pp.1-12

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