Muslims Need to Keep Travelling in this Climate of Fear. Here’s why.

In light of recent events (and upcoming ones too), this post seems even more apt than ever.

In a world where interaction among diverse cultures is becoming the norm, it is unfortunate that divisive lines and prejudice are also becoming more rampant. Instead of getting to know one another and respecting differences, the world is becoming more ill with fear and injustice. So we travel – when we can – to understand and to learn to respect and celebrate differences in Creation.

I remember being in Manchester during the aftermath of the Woolwich (London) terror attacks, and receiving plenty of emails and texts from well-meaning people who told me to stay home, to go out only in groups, and to stay away from the public eye for my own safety. But I refused to hide – I still walked to the mosque 10 minutes away from my dorm for evening prayers, I still went to Curry Mile for biryani, and I still wore my hijab proudly to classes. I knew then that that was the time to let love and light shine through, to let others know that the attacks do not define my faith, and to assure them that there is nothing about me to fear.

In a world filled with bleakness, we must be brave in shining light. Today, more than ever, I am convinced that we have the power to do what is right, to stand up for the weak, and to always be a blessing to others.

In a world where ignorance and terror reign free in the mainstream narrative, it is never a more important time to provide a counter-narrative. The loud language of violence and hate needs to be silenced by a clearer rhetoric of love, understanding and shared humanity.

Travel fosters understanding and empathy for people whose lives are different from us. It opens our eyes (and hearts) to differences, including other cultures and religions. But more importantly, it allows other people to know who we are. They get to see actual people, in flesh and blood, instead of the caricature of the ‘Other’ propagated by fear-mongers. Keeping behind the safety of our own doors and community isn’t going to be helpful. Insularity isn’t the answer – it’s the reason why and how hardliners come to play in the first place. It’s keeping people ignorant.

So please, keep on travelling. Travel far, and travel wide. Stay safe & be sensible while you’re at it too.

Raise your sights.

“I want to travel to the UK too, but I’m scared.”
“Scared of what?”
“You know. Bombs and stuff. I could die.”
“Well, you can die anywhere. Even in your own home.”

We were talking about future travel plans but I didn’t know how to resume normal conversation after that. I was in between feeling flabbergasted at such a reasoning, and feeling the need to straighten things out. I understand the sentiment, I truly do, but I believe in a reaction greater than this, and I wanted to say it out loud.

Fear is what they want.

When I got to know of the Ankara bombings, my heart sank a little. Barely saw the news of the attacks in Ivory Coast. Then Brussels came. And yesterday, Lahore. I’m not sure what is an appropriate reaction anymore. Especially as a Muslim. Do we continue to stand outraged? Do we extend sympathy…

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4 thoughts on “Muslims Need to Keep Travelling in this Climate of Fear. Here’s why.

  1. Eversince the statement of banning Muslims into USA get circulated yest, friends and families texted me “How’s ur USA trip in Dec? Cancel?” My heart sank each time I saw those msgs. My fear is not abt travelling there and get discriminated for I believe Allah will protect us. But my fear is to travel there and then being sent backjust bcos we are Muslims. That is so humiliating. 😔

    • Salaam Hana! I’ve never heard of anyone being sent back just because they are Muslims, especially if they’re travelling! The worst is being in a room and questioned, of which you can mentally prepare for before you go. Whatever it is, I’m sure you’ll be able to make the right and wise decision that works for you. 🙂 May Allah keep you safe! And remember, when they go low, we go high. ❤ I'd love to find out more about your travels, if you do intend on going still! 🙂

  2. Salaam,

    I stumbled across your travel blog. I too am a passionate traveller. This year I travelled to Spain and China by myself. I am in the process of writing my travel diary of my journey to China, which includes the Muslim areas of China. If you are interested Inshallah you can have a read of it. I can also give you a copy of my Spain travel diary if you would like to read about the experiences of a fellow traveller 🙂

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