I am always disappointed on Halloween when people tell me, “great costume!” This year I got a few, “oh how cool! She’s Malificient!”
It gets kind of awkward to explain I’m not wearing a costume, I wear this every day and I’m Muslim.
Recently while walking to the masjid, which should have made it very obvious I’m Muslim, someone yelled to me, “ARE YOU THE DUDE FROM SCREAM?!” Rude.
I also had a couple people scream out the window while I was walking near my work “It’s not Halloween yet, b****” when they saw me in abaya and hijab.
The worst occurrence of the year, however, came as a surprise. Worst of all, it came in front of my grandmother who is pretty adjusted to my Muslim lifestyle, but still has concerns that other people will hurt me or attack me based on my faith.
I was visiting my family in Ohio [racist capital, U.S.A.!] and went with my grandmother to buy some flowers at a grocery store. This 75 year old man literally ran his cart into me. I turned around to say something and saw he was an old man so in my heart I forgave him, assuming that the mistake was due to poor vision from age, or a general accident. I was near a counter and he literally pushed me up against the counter with his force. I could have been seriously hurt, but I was okay so I just didn’t say a word. My grandma was distracted paying for her flowers so I was happy she didn’t notice and get worried.
He then said “Get out of the way. I’m coming through!”
I was shocked! How could someone be so rude! I was paralyzed from my anger and couldn’t even process what had happened.
Then, the worst part, he recognized my grandmother because they live in the same neighborhood. The conversation went like this:
Rude Old Man: “Oh my God, Julianne?! Is that you?”
My Grandmother [finally turning around]: “Oh, yah, hi there, how are you?”
Man: “I’m good – what are you doing here with this one?”
My Grandmother: “This one? This is my granddaughter… she’s visiting from out of town. You knew her mother, Cherie.”
Man: “THIS IS YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER?! What are you Halloweening early?”
Me [The first words I had said the entire time, and saying it proudly]: No, I’m Muslim.
Man: “Ha!” *shakes his head*
My Grandmother looked at me, I could tell she was upset about what the guy had said to me.
Man: “I didn’t know Cherie had a child, let alone one like this”
He walked away.
Although I was so upset and disgusted and hurt by what had happened, I felt better only because my grandmother was very upset by what he had said. When he walked away she really voiced her anger towards him to me. Later, she even called the old man’s girlfriend and had words with her saying how incredibly rude what he said to me was and how I can choose to practice any faith I want to and still deserve respect.
I’m not complaining, I’m not venting, but truly I want you to understand how unnecessarily hurtful people are to me. I literally was not doing a single thing except standing in abaya and hijab in a grocery store. I have faith that Allah will handle any punishment this man is deserving of.
May Allah (swt) help all women in Islam and women of all faiths to avoid such encounters. May He help my grandmother to feel more comfortable with the way that I am treated.