My story starts to when I was in secondary school. I was in French class sitting in the front of the class when the French teacher decided to leave the class. There was a girl sitting behind me and one beside me. They started both to whisper to each other. The next thing I noticed was that they turned around and in a really loud voice said "is it true your dad is a Terrorist?" I was so shocked that I didn't know how to respond. All of a sudden they shouted "Ala's dad is a Terrorist!"
I went to talk to my teacher who was also my year head. She said to me "sorry can't do anything, it is a fact" and that it was "wide spread on the newspaper".
Sometimes when I am having a walk on a nice day I tend to attract a lot off of attention, due to the colour of my skin. Some may call me isis which is a group of terrorists in an Arab country which happens to be where I was born. So they take that anyone from there has to be an ISIS, which is very aggravating when it happens very often in my daily life.
Not the usual racial slur or throw but people have different and somewhat creative ways of hurting others. Sometimes you come across people who may have a various amount of academic certs and qualifications under their belt but have no sense of manners. At an event, I had to talk about my connection with fashion through my religious and cultural background. After speaking, a middle-aged man approached me, to which I thought was going to be a congratulating chat turned into a racial snap. “So where did you get the funds for your work may I ask?” he asked and without allowing me to answer he followed it with “a rich husband or maybe married to an oil merchant?” Appalled and shocked are two understating words to use for how I felt at that moment. “No sir, that’s not the case actually, I worked myself to get to where I am in my project” I replied.“Ah sure isn’t that what they all say, all the OPEC deals coming straight to your doorstep isn’t it” winked and left me there.
Nour Mustafa I was waiting at the bus stop one day, after spending the day at a picnic with friends in phoenix park, at the bus stop there was this old man sitting, staring at me and looking angry, I didn’t think of it as anything at first, he then started talking to me, asking me questions about my religion like why do we pray 5 times a day so and so forth, again I didn’t think anything of it , I just thought he was curious about my religion but the more I talked the angrier he seemed to get, he then started with the racist comments calling me a liar, that I came on a boat here to blow myself up since that’s all we do (by “we” he’s referring to all Muslims), that I am a terrorist and should go blow myself back in my own country and that we all are the same.
So back when I was just a kid is when i first witnessed racism, i was in secondary school when my fellow students would tease me and call me an Immigrant.
Growing up I was always reminded that I was never Irish, for some reason my beliefs stopped me from being Irish. Being Irish isn’t defined by my beliefs and my culture, it’s where you have been raised and where you call home and for a longtime Ireland has become my home.
Aala DaloubI was taking the Luas home one day and this older man came and sat next to me. He started talking to me asking me how long have I been living here in Ireland, what am I doing (student or working), who I came with and how long am I planning to stay here but his voice tone didn’t seem genuine when he asked those questions and then he started saying you should go home, you come here taking all our money, leaving nothing for us, taking all the jobs and houses, saying we don’t want you here so on and so forth.
Being an irish citizen since 2006 and accomplishing various tasks i still find it very offensive that some people refer to me as Paki. Even though that is not where i was born, i am still being referred to as Paki, which is very inappropriate and takes the side of biased stereotyping which in this age and era is very disappointing. To see how much we have seen in history its very disappointing how some uneducated people still cant see that this is history repeating itself, and in the proccess, some people still dont notice themselves being a foot note on the wrong side of it. To have accomplished so much in the sport of boxing, its very sad to see how sometimes it feels like all of what i have accomplished in the sport of boxing for Ireland is going unappreciated, and it hurts sometimes to look at the harsh reality as it unveals its dark cover and shows us how no matter how hard you try, there are still those who dont look at what you have done or accomplished but instead look at what colour you are. These people are a foot note on the wrong side of history and as we can clearly see, history is repeating itself, but with a new mask.
Walking around with a hijab does give me a lot of stares. Some may smile back when you smile and some just give you that stare that just make you shiver and wonder what stereotypes they are thinking about. However I have once been spat at and told horrible things and one of them horrible things in which I wish I had the chance to explain to that person that I am not Brainwashed. I grew up in a Catholic primary and secondary school. I have been to church with my fellow classmates I still even remember some of the prayers that was a ways recited in class. My closest classmate was a Jew and I probably knew the Bible just as much as my non-Muslim classmates. My parents aren’t even strict and I was also told “why do you even bother practicing Islam if you look western”. My original nation, Syria, is mixed with Christians, Muslims and other religions that aren’t even well known. I had the freedom to choose what religion I want to practice and I have chosen Islam.
Yahya BuisirIf I was to write all my racism stories, I could probably could write a book, if not two. I have faced racism all my life, so much that it became almost a normal thing. My most recent incident happened a few days ago while I was driving to Killiney, a kid decided to shout “Durka Durka” at me and my reaction to his comment was the same reaction as every time, I parked my car, got out, went to the kid and talked with him explaining that we are all humans and we are all the same and even if my skin tone might be different and I may not be white but that I’m Irish born & raised and ended up befriending him that day.
I was in line to meet a band I like and a woman around the age of 40 I think pulled me back and told me to leave and called me a Towel Head along with many other things. It really shocked me as her children were standing next to her with smirks on their faces. What worried me the most was the fact that those children might grow up to be just like their mother.
I am the “Double Offence”. My first offence is being black and the second one is being muslim. These two identities or should I say..labels, are with me wherever I go. I once was referred to as “fake muslim” due to my inability to speak the arabic language. I understand that this person was trying to highlight the essence of arabic in Islam but why use a condescending approach, was it supposed to creep up my interest in learning the language? I was also told to go back to worshipping Ubuntu (African God), I did not know what Ubuntu was, I had to enlighten myself on it. I was really appalled by these statements, and what really saddened me was the fact that this person and I had one thing in common. Islam.
My racist encounters are numberless. I was denied a chance to view a house after I mentioned I was african and muslim, I was asked to state my ethnicity, my skin shade and religious background on a job application and the list goes on. I just hope that one day, people will change their mindsets, become more tolerant and accepting towards change and difference. Unfortunately, that’s the way life has it. We all have to coexist.