Eid mubarak to all my Muslim friends wherever you are in the world. I hope my little pun in the title of this post will be forgiven but it seemed quite apt to me. I’ll explain why.
This is the first year in the last six where I’ve not visited the home of a Muslim friend (or usually several homes of Muslim friends) and enjoyed the hospitality you only find on this most special of Eid holidays. I miss my time in Bangladesh so much it still hurts like an open wound and while I’ve enjoyed the delights of British culture and good friends back in the UK, Eid is a painful time for me because it is times like this I feel the wound more than ever.
While life back in Cumbria means life with the most beautiful hills and idyllic lakes (which I truly missed in flat, lowland Bangladesh), there isn’t much of an Asian community here and so my family and I often feel very isolated. There’s too many bideshis around here! Except of course, that they’re not foreigners at all…and nor are we, no matter how much we feel we are.
So, this is a time of the year when I really do feel in need of a friend. Not just any kind of friend – wonderful though so many of you are – but one who understands the dislocation my family and I feel right now. Such friends are few and far between.
But Eid is a time for celebrating and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel this post is a downer on the event. Far from it. While I may be separated from my beloved shona Bangla I am, nevertheless, very aware of the blessings we’ve received over the 10 months back in England. Those blessings have seen my family through some very hard times and we hope and trust they will see us through more of same we fear are to come. I’m also grateful for the many wonderful memories I have of innumerable Eid celebrations – I can almost taste the curry, the nasta, the bhat and dhal on my lips as I write! I haven’t forgotten, nor will I ever.
I was saddened, on waking up this morning, to read a post on Facebook from a British Muslim friend who was upset one of her friends had post a tirade against Muslims. I felt for her because I know that the images we see on our TVs and read in the media bear no relation to any of the Muslims I’ve known, loved and respected all these years.
It’s very apparent (given the bigotry of atheists which fill the internet) that no one has learned anything from the days when the Christian church ruled half the world and was arrogant in its treatment of so many; or from the many decades of hardship suffered by the Russian people under atheist soviet Russia. The lesson to learn is this: Bad people do bad things and use whatever politically expedient ideology happens to be best at the time.
Bad things happened in the name of Jesus, Allah or the state regardless of what the scriptures or ideals actually say. They happen because bad people do bad things and not because of a belief system followed (in the case of Islam) by 1.6 billion good people. Until people start to realise this, we will continue to live in fear of anyone who seems to be different to us. This makes me sad – it wouldn’t happen, I’m certain, if people engaged with others as human beings rather than representations of twisted ideologies.
I’ve rambled a little and will come back on track. I’m grateful for the many different types of people who have come into my life. I miss so many I left behind in Bangladesh but I’m blessed by the ones I’ve returned to here in the UK. Today, during Eid, I may not be visiting anyone for a dawat but I shall certainly enjoy reading on Facebook of the many wonderful times of celebration my friends will be enjoying and clicking ‘like’ on as many pictures as I can. I hope all my Muslim friends will have a wonderful weekend without having to put up with the belligerence of others. I can honestly say ‘they don’t know what they’re missing’.