So recently a friend of mine got the honour of becoming Australian. She invited me to attend the Citizenship ceremony which I dutifully did, given that she didn’t have family here and hence no one to capture the auspicious moment. My friend along with 50 other people took the oath and pledge and sang to the national anthem. After the whole process got over, the mayor stood up to hand certificates to the newbies and click photos.
I was in the audience observing the excitement rippling among people. Some Indian dudes even rocked up in formal attire with business suits and ties and broad smiles.Indian aunties rocking up Eid and Diwali outfits the whole chammak challo. I am not calling against anyone but it was embarrassing watching all this. India is a stable country. No wars going on as in Syria and other countries. Yes, we are still counted as a third world country but alhumdulillah we are up in the game, technology,financial stability and safety wise. And yet it felt like the room was filled with refugees who were desperate to shed their identity and any links to motherland to be embraced and accepted by the warmhearted and welcoming country.
Anyway the main issue that I wanted to address was this : Australians and when I say that I mean non-Muslim white people, have understood and realised that hijabis equal to no-shaking hands.They are gracious enough to accept and respect the view without taking offense.They know that us hijabis cannot shake hands with a non-mehram male and cannot show the beauty of our hair to non-mehram male. Heaps of other stuff too but the focus today is : not shaking hands. So the mayor is handing out certificates and shaking hands offering congratulations. Next up is a hijabi. Hands get extended. Not the mayor’s. The hijabi’s. That’s right. This hijabi forgot she is a hijabi. People were not only throwing away nationalities but also religion lol. The mayor is confused. This goes against the hijabi code ethic that he has been taught. He had seen her and had dropped his hands to his sides. But she has the palm outstretched. Awkward moment passes by. Actually many moments pass by. He finally gives in and shakes her hand clearly confused as heck.
The funny thing was this hijabi wasn’t even the excited kind.She was calm and collected and assumed she was embracing the Australian culture wholly by this small act. Dear sister, I get it you are frickin excited that you became an Australian. But please shower that excitement on your fathers and brothers and sons aka your mehrams remember? Shake their hands million times over, ain’t no issue. Australians are already confused about Islam as it is. You are not doing anything to clear the confusion. I have a graduation ceremony to attend in December. If hijabis like you stomp up on podiums and shake the mayor’s, the university president’s hands, it is just going to get more difficult for me when I go up there and refuse to shake hand due to “religious reasons”. I ain’t no preacher. I just want a simple life for me.And a simpler life for the poor mayors and principles and other male hand shakers whose views on Islam is distorted due to conflicting attitudes we hijabis give.
***Images and gif courtesy of Google.