A community leader has told how her 11-year-old son asked whether he would grow up to be a 'terrorist' in a heartbreaking letter describing life as a muslim in the wake of the UK terror attacks.
A community leader has told how her 11-year-old son asked whether he would grow up to be a ‘terrorist’, in a heartbreaking letter describing life as a Muslim in the wake of the UK terror attacks.
Amber Zafar wrote to the Chronicle & Echo to tell of her experiences following the horrific events at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.
The 37-year-old school helper from the Langlands area is also the community cohesion officer for Ahmadiyya Muslim community and an advocate for peace.
But she says that the spate of terror attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists has made life a daily struggle for her and her three children.
Her shocking experience comes in a week where hate crimes rose by a third here in Northamptonshire.
In the letter to the Chron, she wrote: “The fact that I choose to wear a hijab is now a symbol and marker for Islamophobes, and walking down the street becomes difficult, you are a moving target. I am told I cannot be a Muslim and British.
“This is my home, this is my country, I didn’t do it. [People] giving me strange looks, making nasty comments, trying to pull my hijab off, what does this achieve?
“That shows the scum they are winning. They are trying to divide us, and I will not be isolated from my community, my England.”
Mrs Zafar said she decided to pen the letter not to try to show bigots the human face of Islam, because she feels they may never change their viewpoints, but she wanted to tell her story to try to stop those “on the verge of hating”, and that the bombing has deeply affected the Muslim community too.
Following the attacks on Westminster barely two months ago, Mrs Zafar said her children began experiencing negative comments at school.
She said: “My son in year seven asked me after the Westminister attack, ‘Mummy when I grow up will I be a terrorist’?
“I was flabbergasted, why would he say that?”
She says her son then replied by saying: “Because everyone at school keeps telling me I will.”
Mrs Zafar continued: “They keep making fun of him and his religion, he feels anger and is ostracised, but helpless to do anything about it, no one likes a snitch, and in all honesty what can the teachers do?”
To add to that, her teenage daughter recently went on a school trip to Normandy, but Mrs Zafar claims she was the only one scrutinised by immigration officials on the way home.
“This is what the norm has become,” she added.
“All I can say to them is that we know that Islam is our vision for a perfect way of life for us.
“Those who use it for their own sick causes are evil psychos and they should be labelled thus.”