Opposite Encounters

Ok, so Friday just seems to be the day where interesting things happen to me that make me need to write out of sequence!

But that’s life isn’t it…you draw up a whole detailed editorial calendar for the next three months, and then more interesting things happen.

Anyhow, happy Friday everyone!!

So, what happened to me today: I met some interesting people (which, if you know me, is rather impressive because I don’t get out much).

I had to go out to run some errands this afternoon, and while I sat on a bench in central London organising all my Boots pharmacy purchases in my bag, another lady with her daughter (in hijab) and grandkid came a sat down next to me.

She turned to me, and asked me where Selfridges is, so I gave her directions. She looked at me for a bit and finally asked me where I’m from. When I told her I was from the United States, she followed it up with the question, “So are you a Muslim?”

Smack my head.

And then, when I told her yes indeed, I converted around two years ago, she then went on to ask, “So did your husband tell you to start practising?”

Another facepalm.

Of course, I told her no and explained that I converted on my own. As I got up to head on to my next errand, I of course smiled and said salaam, which they seemed confused that I would do but returned nonetheless.

I headed to the Algerian embassy to pick up my passport and visa, and as I waited outside for them to open an English woman with her three kids came up and sat down to wait as well. After a minute or two she turned to me and asked, “Did you convert, or have you been a Muslim your whole life?”

Immediately I felt a release of tension. That kind of question was such a breath of fresh air, and I didn’t even realise that I needed it. This is the kind of question that I appreciate so much, that fosters some sense of connection straight away.

That question was pretty much everything I have written about here all summed up-she recognised that I was indeed a Muslim, and then asked about the ACTION of converting.

And then she really shocked me. As I told her yes, I converted a couple of years ago, she told me, “that’s great, I converted back in 2013!”

No hijab, no outwards signs of Islam. An English woman with three kids, who looked like they were just headed off on holiday to Algeria. And here she was, genuinely interested in me as a human being because we are sisters in faith.

That is the kind of connection I wish I could have gotten with the first family I met. I still hope that they will take something away from their encounter with me, but who knows.

This is the kind of connection that I wish I could have with every single Muslim woman I see on the street.

It just goes to show how an open mind and genuine interactions can open up such fulfilling relationships or even just interactions on the street.

So there is my challenge to you for the rest of this lovely Friday-smile at someone you don’t know, ask someone how they are, be genuine in your interactions, and make a connection with someone new!

Peace, everyone.


6 thoughts on “Opposite Encounters

  1. I once had a young Asian lad ask me if I was Muslim. While I was walking to the mosque. Wearing a thawb and kufi.

    And another little Asian girl asked me once “why do you have Christian skin.”

    Double facepalm of final doom.


      1. ashleybounoura

        Ah yes the cousins are always interesting…my husband’s little cousins here in Algeria always just stare at me like I just stepped out of a UFO. But yes, the U.K. does seem to be worse off than a lot of places, that is where I have had most of my super negative experiences. There are much nicer communities in the US, and least in California!


      2. No kidding, I believe it. My wife came to see me once in the US (small town in Central Florida near Orlando) before I made the move over. Besides polite curiosity and genuine niceness, the worst things she got were a couple rude (silent) stares that lasted a bit too long; mind you she wears a burqa`, along with literally no one else in at least the three surrounding counties.

        Yet here I get ignorant crap from the Asians and get called “white Paki” and all sorts from the EDL skinheads.



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