Monday, 28 May 2012

InCulture Parent: Can You be Muslim and English?

My latest post is up at the wonderful InCulture Parent. It is called Can You be Muslim and English? and there is an excerpt below:

"We recently celebrated St. George’s Day here in England, the day of the country’s patron saint. My children dressed in red, white and blue for their schools’ St. George’s celebrations. For most people this is no longer a celebration tied to religion, but about celebrating all things English. I have always felt very conflicted about my identity—am I English, British, Pakistani, Punjabi or none of these? Can you be more than one?

Growing up, my parents made it very clear to me that we were Pakistani. However, I could relate to so many things English–literature, culture, the tolerance of difference, the beauty of the countryside. A part of me wanted to proudly say I was English. Another part of me had a very strong feeling that as a person with brown skin, who dressed and lived differently, I would be a laughing stock for saying so. I felt I would not be accepted as English, a British Pakistani perhaps as a stretch, but definitely not English.

When I had my children, I began to revisit my thinking around identity. Surely as the fourth generation of my family in this country, they wouldn’t have to question who they were? But who were they? I decided there had to be a cut-off point for immigrants—after four generations in this country I could say now that they were English?"

Please do take a look and leave a ccomment. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this topic. It's certainly worth browsing the rest of the magazine also.

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