Featured Illustration: Shehzil Malik
They ask me
Are you fasting?
Then look on with suspicion
When I say no
Waiting for some explanation
As to why I’m not quite
This caricature of a Muslim woman
They’ve put together in their heads
From scraps on the news, TV shows, movies,
And their general opinion
Of what a good Muslim looks like.
These people who are not Muslim themselves
But peer at me eagle-eyed and excited
For me to justify my view of Islam
Like the only kind of Muslim you can be
Is this cut out of a human being
They wave before my eyes.
Asking why I don’t fast,
Painting all Muslim women
As tan-skinned, soft-spoken Muslimahs
Waiting for some white saviour to lead them into freedom.
So when they look at me strangely
Waiting for some sort of justification,
I bite my tongue and remember
There is no one way to be Muslim.