It really was a big culture shock! I came to the middle east with a lot of preconceived of what it was all about. It wasn’t long before I could see the good and the bad. The good for me came from the sense of empowerment I got for just been a Muslim woman in this country. Men literally jump out of the way so as not to come anywhere near you, its illegal for them to stand in an elevator with you, at the supermarket all I do is pop what I want in the basket. My bags are packed by men, by trolley is pushed by men! And finally there is the taxi ride, no chit chat just place and price.
Now i’ve been told a lot that I look Kuwaite, hence I would often get people treating me like the local women. It would come as a big shock when this smiley Brummy would start talking in what would appear to ‘them’ as an over friendly manner. To them it was alien, to me it was just manners.
Been here for approximately 8 months now and it has impacted by character. I’m still my bubbly self, but my need to have a friendly conversation has diminished rapidly. I found myself slowly sinking comfortably into my role as a pious Muslim Woman who only speaks to men out of necessity, other than that my silence is taken for nothing but pure respect.
Now I’m probably just touching on the surface here with my own personal experience as a Muslim Woman from the West going to the Middle East, but it really has made a difference to my perception of myself in a positive way.
Now not everything that glitters is gold, so the saying goes. In Kuwait lies a dark world of drinking, prostitution and homosexuality. This side of Kuwait really threw me where I have seen the best of characters swept away by this wave of darkness. Only those strong in eemaan survive.
Seeking a social life as a woman here in the Middle East I have to say you are limited to 1 of 3 things, eating, shopping and smoking sheesha. So I found it very frustrating when I couldn’t find that middle ground, as usually in the UK I could find a spot to go with my girlie girls and just have a good time without the seedyness. So for me that side of Kuwait was a little bit like cold turkey, as unfortunately night time in Kuwait is a man’s world, especially if you got money.
Anyway other than that I’m loving the impact on family life, and am slowly starting to learn how to get around and find alternative ways of entertaining myself.
I’ll try to get on my blogging a lot more as it has been requested. Keep those questions coming in and I’ll try my best to answer.
I want to sit here and talk to them
But my limbs and tongue refuse to try
Years of their harshness has led me to this
At the bedside of my mother
in a place we can’t dismiss
I tried to make it easy
I promised that I’d try
But my hope to make peace is futile
as I failed the task to submit and comply
I’ve been doing a lot of different media interviews for a while now and the same issue always comes up which is people struggle to find Muslim women willing to do media interviews. I’ve had a lot of sisters approach me saying that like to but often don’t have the confidence, so I did this little video to show others what happens. If you are interested and want to know more email firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook has almost become like a visual diary for me, so immediately when I thought about recollecting my events over the year I headed straight for it. So it looked something like this:
- I took my first selfie!
- I did my first Video Blog
- I discovered Brendon Buchard (if you don’t know who he is check him out :))
- I was featured in Marie Claire Magazine
- BBC World News about Hijab
- Read Foundation Tea Party
- Attended my first WOMENS NETWORKING HUB
- I had the pleasure of been at the Oxford Union to be featured on Al Jazeera TV ‘Head to Head’ with host Mehdi Hassan who was interviewing Mona Eltahway
- Finished delivering a talk to South Birmingham College courtesy of Muslim Women’s Network with Salma Bi Event Entitled Muslimah role models
- I put up my Selfie with no make up courtesy of a nomination from sister Sadi
- My son was given a surprise party by his mommy
- Attended the screening of my good friends movie
- Appeared on Sumaira Farukh’s TV Show on PTV and Channel 99
- Attended Muslim Womens Network Event about Mental Health
- Went leaflet posting to Support Sharon Thompson my good time friend
- Attended a Balsall Heath Forum Event where I sang ‘Man in the Mirror’ and was presented with an award
- Attended the ‘I AM ME’ Event hosted by Apache Indian with an old school friend
- Delivered a talk at Saltley School and sang to the school leavers
- Celebrated eid with Sharleen West and did my famous commentary of Coventry Rd rubbish
- NTR aired a documentary did about me been a woman in Islam
- Hosted Human Appeal Charity Appeal on Unity FM
- Read Foundation Charity Appeal on Unity FM
- Attended the Palestine Protest
- Delivered a speech for Sakinah Counselling Alongside the London Dawah Boys
- Organised a Birmingham Event for Sakinah Counselling at La Favourita’s
- Celebrated Eid
- BBC Radio Ulster Talking alongside Taj Hargeys Niqab Ban Caimpaign article in the Daily Mail
- I did the Soil Bucket challenge for Gaza
- Appeared in Asian World Newspaper
- Appeared in Eastern Eye Newspaper
- I met Betty Makoni at the Womens Peace Meeting
- Brit Asia TV about Islamaphobia with Sanya Gardez
- Left Unity FM
- Invited to Qatar
- Attended my best friends wedding
- Big Sleep Out
- Boys to men concert
- Launched Special Madrasahs
- Sky News
Its been a busy year so it seems! I look forward to 2015 where I hope that my evolution of self will continue to be a benefit to those around me God Willing
Big thanks to those who have given me so many blessed opportunities for 2014 you know who you are!