Behind the Veil


You either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t then I hope the following helps you out a bit.

See I tried to fit into all the little boxes people usually put you in based on the way you talk, walk, dress and behave. But it didn’t work out, cos it left people happy but me miserable. It took me years to break down the walls that I’d allowed to be built up around me creating a fortress that protect ‘them’ from me.

Eventually I found my way out, and fed up of giving those around me what they wanted I set out to go for what I needed. Along the way I turned to my Lord for guidance and protection from those that would force me to silence the very essence of who I really am.

Believing in yourself when no one else does is like walking in the dark. A part of you wants to stay where things are familiar, even with the things that make you miserable.

My decision to finally free myself from the oppressions of others meant I would revisit the way I walk, talk, act and dress caring little for the consequences previously instilled in me.

The Documentary done about me is a little window into me doing this. People who don’t get me need to understand I’m someone who has been raised in England exposed to many cultures that have all resonated with me in different ways. A mixture of British, Pakistani, Jamaican, Religious and musical attitudes and beliefs have all affected who I am today.

Do not judge its not your place, rather comprehend that nothing stay or no one stays the same. (series 5)

Videos of me singing can be found at


6 responses »

    • Thanks sis thats very kind of you. The full documentary is in the link at the bottom or you can find my singing stuff on youtube @iamunichild. Hope you found it beneficial

  1. Hello Shalina, my name is Hugh, I live in Scotland. I’m pretty ancient now, but I’m not stupid and not prejudiced against any ethnic group or any religion.

    I want you to know that I feel threatened when I see a person go about in the street or in the community withholding their identity by hiding their face. When you describe that as Islamophobic, you make a category mistake. It’s the behaviour I don’t like, not the religion. If MP’s or Catholics went about wearing masks, I’d dislike that too. Our community depends on sharing, on getting to know each other.

    My apprehension is a natural reaction, widely shared by all my friends. Can I tell you it is part of my faith that to build the trust we need for success in any of our aims, society needs openness on the part of individuals, with equality for all citizens, including women? Why should your faith trump mine? Why should you wish to access the benefits of life in a cohesive, successful, trusting society while hiding your identity from the rest of us?

    I’d be really interested to hear some reasons for your behaviour, rather than just a claim that it’s your faith and you have the right to have your faith respected. I’m saying, with argument, that you do not have a moral right to conceal your identity and that others have important rights which you should respect, including the right to see the faces of fellow citizens for the purpose of developing trusting cooperation for mutual benefit.

    What’s your reply?

    • Hi Hugh, well firstly thanks for taking time out to comment and been so upfront. Secondly there are lots of points so I’ll try my best to answer.

      In reference to,” I feel threatened when I see a person go about in the street or in the community withholding their identity by hiding their face. When you describe that as Islamophobic, you make a category mistake”, my response is as follows. I refer Islamophobic behaviour to be determined by preconceived ideas about a group of people belonging to Islam, this may be through media, movies or some other means. With this in mind we can only question where this feeling of feeling threatened comes from when you see a woman with her face covered?

      Next point, getting to know one another to be part of a community is important, and I can only hope the Muslims in your community make that possibility easy, which would answer a lot of questions you have it seems.

      I was very saddened to hear you and a lot of your friends feel threatened by the way a small minority of Muslims dress. However we have to distinguish between right and wrong here. Fortunately for me I’m very good friends with a Goth. We often talk about people’s discomfort with our appearance. We both concluded that righteous behaviour from any faith or none at all would try to remain inclusive and tolerant of embracing one’s identity so as not to incur any harm or discomfort on them. If I lifted my veil because people felt uncomfortable then I become the uncomfortable one. There is nothing just in that, we must therefore establish a medium which I consider to be educating each other to accept each others differences rather than the other way.

      Lastly moral right should be balanced as described in my last paragraph. My behaviour is the result of me practising something that is prescribed by the one I worship and Love, Allah. I think its unfair for you to value your ideology more than mine, and this is often the problem in society we don’t know how to live with one another.

      You’ve done a most honourable thing, and I really commend you for challenging something that makes you feel threatened, it couldn’t have been easy to do. Thanks for approaching it so politely also. Sorry if the reply was long, difficult to cut it short, but I hope I’ve answered 🙂
      Stay Blessed

      • Hi Shalina,

        I’m really impressed you’ve taken the trouble to reply to my comment, and I appreciate the friendly tone in which you express your points. Thank you for that.

        If I seem hard to persuade, please be assured it’s not because I’m unwilling to change my mind, more that I’ve had a long time to think about the implications of underlying principles I hold to be important, and I’ve had the opportunity to see things I’ve found have not always been obvious to everybody. It’s called old age!

        I don’t want to make too much of the phrase ‘feeling threatened’ on seeing a person wearing the burqa – of course I’m not anticipating physical attack. It’s more like walking in the High Street of our town at a time in the evening when it’s populated mainly by young males in hoodies. I’m aware that the purpose of such attire is to conceal identity against the possibility that the wearer’s behaviour may require investigation, so I’m apprehensively on guard. It’s part of human psychology that such apprehension gets transferred from the situation to the dress. We’re not always creatures of strict logic, however much we’d like to be. I can make a better effort if you like, but thousands won’t. ‘Mask’ is a short word with powerful undertones, describing fascist rebels in Ukraine, bandits in American movies, bank robbers in the UK. The wearing of burqa is for me a form of masking up. It carries bad vibes.

        A big problem for those who live in societies with traditions of tolerance is how far it is proper to tolerate intolerance. When you refer to your religious faith I have to remind you that Islam is a religion which subjugates women, which does not tolerate apostasy, and which leverages to the maximum religion’s power to coerce behaviour in its adherents. These are really frightening characteristics. If you tell me you love your religion and freely choose it, support its intolerances, and choose to conceal your identity in its name, you are directly challenging my own dearest principles – my faith in the values of freedom and tolerance – and you are pressurising other Muslim women to dress in the same way in open repudiation of these values.

        There are many religions, all with the entirely valid purpose of engendering community values and helping people live full and good lives. All of them are ‘true’ in so far as they succeed in these aims. But if a religion asks you to live a cramped or narrow life, it has gone wrong. If a religion claims a special knowledge of past events not available to other religions, that claim is unevidenced and almost certainly false. If a religious leader claims to know the mind of god better than you or others do, he seeks to maximise his own power and status. Stick with your tradition for as long as you find it helpful, without making the mistake of thinking it has unique access to truth or value. We can all make that mistake – it leads to bad things.

        Let me finish with a word about our biology. We are a social species. That means we do things together, we are innately programmed to cooperate, to trust other humans. If I try to imagine myself as the sole survivor after a war that had destroyed life but not things, I realise I couldn’t hope to live more than a month. We depend on other members of our community, most of whom we’ll never meet, for our lives and for everything we do. Trusting other people is, of course, a dangerous survival strategy. The math shows that by itself it couldn’t work – crooks and freeloaders would be the winners in a society which trusted too readily, and would soon outnumber the trusters. So trust, to be a successful mechanism, must be accompanied by alertness. Decisions to trust must predominantly turn out to have been justified. We try to trust only the trustworthy. Unconsciously we’re always assessing trustworthiness in potential cooperators, and to do so we constantly try to read character in their faces. It’s an absolutely key part of the human situation, so we get instinctively uncomfortable when we’re denied the opportunity to do it because someone is wearing a mask. My bank phoned the other week asking if I’d come in for a chat. I slightly reluctantly agreed to do so, since I guessed they wanted to sell me something. But when I sat with Rupinder, she was knowledgeable, articulate, intelligent, ethnically Indian, local Scottish accent – I saw immediately she wanted to look after my interests as well as the bank’s. I trusted her. Otherwise, she couldn’t have persuaded me. She wasn’t wearing a mask. Ask yourself – how many people, in business for themselves and thereby needing to engender trust in others, conceal their identity? Why has France, the country which, with Scottish and American help, raised freedom, equality and fraternity as values for a new world, legislated to prohibit the concealing of identity in public? You need to make an effort to understand these things, while you ask others to understand your own position.

        Sorry to go on so long, but I so much appreciate the spirit of your earlier response that I wanted to leave something for you to reflect on. Not necessarily immediately, but perhaps over time going forward.

        With good wishes and very warm regards, Hugh

      • My humble apologies for delayed response, I’d like to leave you with the following points for this reply. As for my manner it is a shame many didn’t take from our example of exchanging views that are very different from one another 🙂

        My first point would be that unfortunately the women is been subjugated in Religion and outside of it. And this been the case what we must do is be able to present her with enough insight to free herself from these shackles of mental slavery.

        My second point was in your example of the lady from the bank I have never denied that in some contexts unveiling the face is important, and this has been taken into account islamically also. For example when a woman goes to buy something the person she engages in a transaction with has the right to ask for the face to be shown.

        Lastly, you sound like an amazing soul, and I can only say that knowledge is power because it gives us the ability to arrive at a place called contentment. Unfortunately the Muslim Woman’s Identity has been targeted by a group of people with the power through money and media to transform an idea, and that is that the woman should look ‘like this’. I acknowledge this because I experience it everyday. When Islam is on the front page of a newspaper or in the news I know about it. I hope you can now understand a little more why I continue to speak up trying to share with others that I do not dress like this to make others feel uncomfortable. Rather I dress like this to demonstrate many things, my identity, my understanding and my relationship with my Lord.

        Thanks again for taking time out on my blogs

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