Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

An open letter to Boris Johnson from an American Muslim woman who chooses to cover up

You’re not worried about women wearing tank tops and shorts. And that’s great! So, could ya let the rest of us live? 

Saira Bhatti
Friday 10 August 2018 08:17 BST
Comments
'Disgraceful individual from a moral and social standpoint': Boris Johnson faces anger in his own constituency

Hey there Boris!

I’m not a Brit, but I was just in the English countryside town of Alton, Hampshire for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s annual convention. You see, we hold these peace conventions worldwide annually, but our international one happens to be based in your country every summer.

I was there to receive an award, along with some 100 other young female recipients, recognising academic excellence for my Master’s degree. It was presented to us by the worldwide supreme head of our community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and his wife.

I was fully covered. So were the women on the stage. We don’t look like letter boxes or bank robbers. We looked quite alright, thank you very much! Also, I like my outfit. It’s blueish grey with textured fabric. My mom helped me choose it for the ceremony and told me my navy blue scarf would look best.

Now I don’t wear a face veil, but I do try to cover parts of my face. I wasn’t forced into it, but I don’t think there’s a point explaining my consent. Men in power across the globe seem to share a common thread of not listening to women and instead go off mansplaining about our rights as you did in the Telegraph. A bit sexist, don’t you think?

When will men like you stop getting giddy legislating women’s clothing? You’re not worried about women wearing tank tops and shorts. And that’s great! You shouldn’t be bothered at all. So, could ya let the rest of us live?

Come on, Boris. Do you really want Britain to be restrictive on personal freedoms like France or Belgium? To be honest, the only thing you may want to copy them on is their World Cup strategy. And that’s coming from a person whose country didn’t even qualify for the tournament.

You also recently met my president’s former chief advisor Steve Bannon, a white nationalist and co-founder of the far-right media site Breitbart. He’s flirted with British parties like the EDL and Ukip and wants to strengthen the right-wing wave in Europe too.

Listen. If anything, my country will tell you what a mess this will make. But it will also show you that this scheming will fail. The people will fight for justice and fight against you because righteousness always prevails.

Please don’t use Trumpian tactics of Islamophobia, sexism and racism for political gain. Trust me: it won’t end well.

Sincerely,

An American Muslim woman

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in