I’m delighted to see the excellent commentator on all matters Islamic and author of ‘The Goris Daughter’, Shazia Hobbs, getting exposure on high profile and respected sites like Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. In this piece, originally published on the Jihad Watch website, Ms Hobbs briefly tells the story of her life as the child of Pakistani father and non Muslim Scottish mother, her forced marriage and her fight to be herself and to criticise the ideology of Islam. This is a seriously moving piece and I would urge anyone not familiar with the work of Ms Hobbs to read this article by her.
Losing My Religion – By Shazia Hobbs
I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, the daughter of a Pakistani Muslim immigrant father and a Scottish Catholic mother. My childhood home, for me, was not a happy one.
My father’s religion, Islam, allowed him to have more than one wife, and he chose to have two. Both his wives lived under the same roof with their combined children.
Two women from completely different backgrounds sharing a man is not going to make a happy home, no matter how hard they both try.
I always felt different, and was made to feel different. I was tainted; I had the “gori” gene in me. I was “less” than, I was the “other.”
My mother was the “gori” and I was the “gori’s daughter.” Gori means white woman, but is often used in a derogatory manner, and implies easy, loose and no morals. I grew up amongst blatant racism towards white people, racism no one even today wants to talk about.
I talk about it. I write about it. I tweet about it. I also talk and write and tweet about other harmful practices that occur within the Pakistani community and for that people attempt to intimidate me in the hopes that I will keep quiet.
I won’t keep quiet. Even though I live with a panic button installed in my home because of the constant threats to my life that I receive. How can I keep quiet? Knowing what I know and knowing how miserable life is for many Pakistanis, especially children and women.
I was forced into a marriage at the age of 18, married to a much older man with whom I had nothing in common. Married off because I was becoming too Westernised and bringing “shame” onto my family. And so to save the family “honour,” I was forced to marry a man I met for the first time on my wedding night. I stayed in the marriage for three years until I found the courage to walk out. Walking out meant losing my family, extended family and the Pakistani community I had been part of my entire life.
Being alone was a terrifying experience for me. All my life all I had ever been part of was the Pakistani community, and now I was being forced to live amongst the white Scottish people, the very people I was raised to believe hated me because I was brown, because my father was Pakistani, because I was a Muslim.
The reality of my life amongst white Scottish people, thankfully was not what I had been brainwashed to believe. White Scottish people accepted me and saw me as a Glaswegian, not the “Paki’s daughter.” I was accepted by the white side of my mother’s family and treated as an equal. Of course there were racists, people who let it be known I was not welcome because I had a “Paki” father, and there was also people who told me I was actually quite cool for a “Paki.”
It is because of the Pakistani connection in my life I live with a panic button. I write articles about Islam, child rape in the Pakistani community, the Muslim rape gangs. I am very passionate about raising awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and believe that parents who do this should be jailed.
Living in fear of being attacked by devout Pakistani men or women who would rather I keep quiet is something I have gotten used to. I had to, or I would have given up, and giving up is not something I can do. The fear is there every day.
How sad that wanting to protect children, wanting women to live happy and autonomous lives free from patriarchal restrictions should mean that I need to live in fear in modern-day Scotland. How very telling that talking about the Religion of Peace endangers people’s lives.