Being weird in Canberra

My parents are visiting me in Canberra! Muslim women wearing hijabis have been harassed on the street! These two statements are not connected, but they are in this picture.

Especially since this terrorism drama has been going on, ignorant people who tar all people who call themselves Muslim with the same brush have been giving innocent women a hard time. I mean, women wearing hijabis have a hard time in general, but recently I believe the harassment has escalated. [Violence trigger warning] I heard that one woman was getting money out of an ATM when a man came up to her and asked her if she would like to have her head chopped off [End trigger].

Also since this ISIS stuff has been going on, there have been vocal Christian leaders banging on about how Islam is a violent religion. A mosque in Brisbane has been graffitied with anti-muslim abuse, along with Christian crosses. I am not an Islam scholar. I am very ignorant about the religion. But I know enough to know that all Muslims are not terrorists, and also all terrorists are not Muslim. If a Muslim woman is scared to walk down the street wearing her hijab, then the white terrorists are winning. I am a Christian and I can’t bear to have my fellow human beings treated in this way, especially in the name of my God. To be fair, some Christian leaders have also been defending the peaceful treatment of Muslims.

So there is this Facebook group called WISH — Women In Solidarity with Hijabis. This week a lot of non-Muslim women are wearing headscarves in solidarity with Muslim women who are copping flak for wearing hijabis. At first I thought it would be disrespectful or appropriative for a non-Muslim woman to wear a headscarf, but the Muslim women in the FB group seem cool with it, so I did it.

Today is my first day wearing the hijab. It felt a bit weird to begin with. My first outing was to my local cafe. The young man who served me seemed unable to make eye contact, either when he took my order or when he served me the coffee. But he could have just been an Aspie. Later, Mum and Dad arrived!! And we went into the city for lunch. We arrived at the cafe that Cool Nerd recommended, The Cupping Room, and it was amazing! New second favourite cafe in Canberra! When we got there a hot waiter* met us and said “We’re full at the moment, can you wait?” I said, “Yep.” Then he asked me for a name. “Tyler,” I said. Apparently he made a funny face, which Mum noticed and I didn’t. I just thought, last name, because isn’t that how you book tables at restaurants? Mum laughed, but then the waiter said, “Oh Tyler, a table just opened up around the side, do you want to go there?” “Yes,” I said, “It’s my last name.” But I don’t know if he heard the last bit.

Once we were seated, Mum was pissing herself laughing. “Why is it that every time we are in Canberra something weird happens?” she asked. “We turn up, you’re wearing a headscarf and you’re white, we don’t look Muslim at all, we look like country bumpkins, and then he asks you for your name and you said ‘Tyler’. I think we totally confused him.”

Mum reckons I need a little badge or pin saying “Solidarity” or something like that. I agree. But the waitress at Cupping Room wasn’t weird, he took this photo. And the coffee and food was amazing.

In other news, because one activism item of clothing isn’t enough, I am doing Frocktober in October. So every blog post in October is going to mention this. I will be wearing a dress every day this month to raise awareness for the fact that there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, and also funds towards making one. My aim is to raise $1500 but I can’t do it alone. I need the help of supporters. So if you feel inspired, please make a donation at this link. For a negotiable large sum of money, I will wear an outrageous/inappropriate dress for one day. Or more than one day, if you want to donate a ridiculous amount of money. It will go well with my headscarf! :S

*But not as hot as my boyfriend.


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