Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

The Strangest Questions Muslims Are Asked

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
“Why do you shove it down our throats?” yelled the man from the audience.

I was speaking at the LSE Literary Festival over the weekend on a panel about “Islamophobia and Literature”. It was a Saturday night, and thus the full audience made for an impressive turn out on a fairly heavyweight subject.  We the panellists were a light-hearted bunch though – my book on love, and the others had re-written fairy tales, and a book about a Muslim women’s chat group amongst their other credentials.

Anyway, back to the heckler.

“Shove what down whose throats?” I yelled back to him.

“You lot, you Muslims. Why do you try to shove it down our throats?”

It was the usual Daily Mail diatribe (“We’re becoming a shariah state, the Moozlims have taken over! We’ve been eliminated from our own country” etc etc.) so I decided to challenge him back for hard evidence, not just rhetoric. “Give me three examples of when someone has shoved it down YOUR throat?” I heckled back.

He muttered, the wind taken out of his sails, something about ‘Tower Hamlets’ and then grumbled under his breath as though he’d had enough.

If he had had enough of Muslims and Islam, why on earth had he come on a Saturday night to a literary discussion about Islamophobia, I wondered. A nutty form of masochism? A secret penchant for Muslims?

It got me thinking… If you are a Muslim, what is the strangest, funniest or most curious thing that you’ve been asked? What could you barely contain your giggles about, but had to answer seriously? Or what did you think ‘How on earth am I supposed to know the answer to that?’

One Response to The Strangest Questions Muslims Are Asked

You must be logged in to post a comment Login