I guess I am shaken, and the more I think about it the more I have a mixed bag of feelings.
I am glad I went to the airport early. In the morning I asked my husband what are we going to do early in the airport since we didn’t have lounge access. I guess now I know. Have a friendly chat with one of the police officers.
I was stopped and questioned or as they put it “an informal” chat with them about my upcoming trip. Which by the way was under the action 7 of the terrorism act! Who me? I can assure you the only person I terrorise is my husband. 🙂
I knew that when I booked this trip it could have been somewhat interesting with all the issues with the refugees in Europe.
We are exploring
As a friend of ours put it the reverse route immigrants take. 😉
I get asked a lot about travelling with hijab and the issues you might face with immigration or the police. I always use to say that I have never had an issue and have never been stopped until now…
Apparently we were stopped because we had a one way ticket. They were some recent incidents with people going from our airport to Syria! I mean why would anyone do that, so this time we “got lucky” as well. I can see that it would raise red flags.
But they didn’t know I am the MuslimTravelGirl and a typical vacation is not really a return journey on a packaged holiday.
The officers were polite. They took us (separately) into a room. Searched my possessions (every one of them) and asked me few questions – which you probably can guess.
How did I feel?
I think at the time of being interviewed I was shocked that it was happening. I was more worried of missing my flight and the bad start to my holiday. I know they are doing their job and I can see their point of view. However once it was over. I actually could’t sleep that night and woke up having a nightmare. I did feel violated and especially my privacy! It makes you uncomfortable knowing that someone has access to your personal info. Plus it scares you.
You keep thinking what have I done wrong? Did I say anything, should I have posted this or that? It stops you from expressing yourself freely whether it is something against or for a particular topic. it doesn’t matter whether its religion or politics. It makes you think is there really freedom?
It should be innocent until proven guilty and this tactic makes you feel guilty from the start.
Don’t get me wrong questions are ok but searching everything under the sun of your possessions, for me, goes a little bit too far. Especially when there is no evidence to suggest the opposite.
I will not disclose the questions they asked because I respect the fact that they are doing their job and they have a country to protect! I want them to protect me as citizen of this country.
I will however say what I told them.
Yes I am a Muslim and by many I am considered a liberal Muslim. I wear hijab, I pray and I try to be a good person. Jihad which translates into struggle is used for many of this life’s struggles and doesn’t mean killing innocent people. My hardest jihad was to tell my mother I was a Muslim and see the pain in her eyes when I wore hijab for the first time. This is my jihad.
Leaving your family and going to Syria to get brainwashed or blow yourself up in my eyes is cowardliness. This goes against the basic principles of why I became Muslim.
Islam for me stands for social justice, love to the creation, to fellow human beings and honouring your parents. I believe there is God no matter what language you call it.
I don’t believe we just appeared on this earth. My brain and my feelings are too complicated to just come up. My soul the most important of them. Scientists can talk about the body but the soul for me is the answer to all. And that soul is a gift from our Creator.
What is Islam for me
Islam for me is when I am annoyed with my mother but I don’t say “uff leave me alone old woman” because this goes against Islam. In her feet lies paradise, but how many of the young generation today actually ignore their parents or treat them badly? Including myself and even my own sisters!
According to my family I became more calm and patient after becoming a Muslim. This is true, I am. I see the big picture and the grand scheme of things. Not the new bag or the big house I need to keep up with the Jones’s.
I give charity not because I have to show off but because I respect and I am thankful for the fact I have food on the table, nice holidays (that many would envy) and good health. Alhamdulillah (Praise is to God) for all these blessings.
Do I support those who go to Syria or to fight the infidels? NO! I would never do this and I don’t care what you tell me.
I don’t like being stopped, I don’t like being discriminated against just for the tiny 1% of the population that the big media cover. I believe there is more to many of this than meets our eyes or what is fed to us. (my inner conspiracy theorist shows)
However. I respect the job the police do! I respect that they are trying to keep our borders safe because trust me I don’t want bad people coming in this country either.
I have a family, dreams, hopes and I want to know I am safe. That nobody is going to come and blow up a bus, a plane or a building in the name of Islam or any other religion for that matter.
As long as those who are stopped are treated fairly, with respect and justice. I know it will probably not be the last time to be asked these questions. But you know what it’s ok.
Here is what I will say to you my fellow Muslims:
Don’t stop travelling, don’t be intimidated and travel the world. You have as much right as any other human being. If stopped answer all the questions truthfully and if you don’t have anything to hide you have nothing to be afraid of. I will continue travelling, sharing my stories and hopefully inspiring you.
My fellow sisters don’t stop wearing your hijab through the airport, because then they will win. Not the bad police who stopped you but the bad terrorist who does what he does in the name of Islam.
Travel and show your fellow humans and travellers the sunnah of our Prophet (Peace be Upon Him); smile, be polite and enjoy this life!
From me happy travels…