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Asian Muslim and having an identity crisis. Watch

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    Anon because I know people on here and I’d rather they not know this is me. This is going to be quite long but please bear with me.

    Okay to start off this thread is in NO WAY supposed to be controversial and inflammatory and any comments bashing Asians/Muslims/religion and/or religious debate are, in the strongest words possible, NOT welcome - if that’s what you clicked on this thread for then please don’t bother. I’m aware that variants of this thread may have been done to death on here - I’m just looking for some advice on some things that have been bothering me lately which I can’t really talk to people about openly due to the very nature of the topic, and I’m hoping that there are others on here who may be familiar with my situation.

    I’m an Asian Muslim girl. Recently I’ve been having what you could call an ‘identity crisis’ about who I am and what I want to identify myself as. I’m a fairly practicing Muslim i.e. I pray, don’t drink, wear a headscarf etc but at the same time I’d like to think I maintain open-minded and tolerant views on things in everyday life (some could argue that being a practicing Muslim and being open-minded are contradictory but really, it IS possible). I don’t feel that my religion is in any way the problem because I do try my best to form my own opinions by going to the source rather than basing it on what other (often clueless) people ‘think’. However, at the same time I like to identify with the British culture as well.

    I’m not talking about the teenage culture of heavy drinking and sex but rather the different views and ways of life, and this has lead me to feel like an outsider in both groups. I don’t quite ‘fit in’ with the group of Muslim people that I know because of being judged for not behaving ‘Islamic-ly or Asian enough’ (I’m probably what’s known as a ‘coconut’ for those who are familiar with the term) but at the same time being religious, especially at our age, can pose certain issues with people who aren’t as religious, sometimes resulting in very very subtle discrimination. I doesn’t help that half of my family are very liberal, and the other half really aren’t.

    Has anyone felt this way? How did you go about dealing with these clashes and integrating different aspects of them into your life? It’s really confusing having to deal with this sort of stuff when the people around you aren’t exactly helpful, and I don’t know if I’m just being really silly and this is just a case of ‘first world problems’. I would like to get a variety of opinions and experiences so that I can take a somewhat mature approach to this issue. Thanks.
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    Am a Christian and if you want my honest opinion feel free to PM me

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    Anon, what you are going through is great!! I was born into islam and was practicing for many years until one day I realised that Im just following my parent's religion. How did I know this religion is right for me? Anyway this all stemmed from the fact that I was questioning things around me. My plan is to study religion in it's depth and then make a well-informed decision about what religion I want to follow.

    Anyway I think this relates to you quite well because I think what you are going through is a stage where you are questioning and finding who you are. I hate it when I see these sisters who all act the same and speak the same ghetto way. Islam is going downhill due to people like this. What muslims need are open-minded free thinkers. Please continue to question everything around you and do not be pressured to act in this sheep-like manner. At the end of the day thats what god asks you to do. You dont have to lose your culture but do try and mix with other cultures as well. I know hanging around with the muslim sisters seems like the safe option, but isnt it the same thing day-in day -out?Are you learning new ways of talking to people? You are british, and many muslim people dont like to admit it but they are british, just as they are open to our cultures and try to make a conscious effort to get to know our ways of thinking, we should do the same before following our safe crowd.
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    Ok, so you don't feel comfortable socialising with other, more devout Muslims. How about socialising with non-Muslims?

    I know a Muslim guy at Uni who lives with a combination of Christians and atheists, socialises in settings where there is alcohol (including going out clubbing with the rest of us) but does not, himself, drink. He still prays and goes to the mosque (although I can't comment on how often) and celebrates major religious festivals with members of the Islamic Soc. We're fine with that - we don't pressure him to drink, he still gets all the social benefits.

    I think ultimately the key is not to exclude yourself from activities altogether on the basis that some aspect of it is unislamic. That leads to people seeing you as being different from them, which tends to be where subtle discrimination starts. So, for instance, going to the pub and drinking coke, or eating Christmas dinner with your friends but providing a halal cut of meat for yourself. Rightly or wrongly, wearing a hijab is seen by many non-Muslims as a way of saying "I'm a [devout] Muslim, so hands off" - it's a way of marking yourself out as being different, and often people make assumptions based on it. I'm not saying that you should stop wearing the hijab, but I often tend to think think that it makes life subtly more difficult for those who do choose to wear it.
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    (Original post by nthepachuco)
    Anon, what you are going through is great!! I was born into islam and was practicing for many years until one day I realised that Im just following my parent's religion. How did I know this religion is right for me? Anyway this all stemmed from the fact that I was questioning things around me. My plan is to study religion in it's depth and then make a well-informed decision about what religion I want to follow.

    Anyway I think this relates to you quite well because I think what you are going through is a stage where you are questioning and finding who you are. I hate it when I see these sisters who all act the same and speak the same ghetto way. Islam is going downhill due to people like this. What muslims need are open-minded free thinkers. Please continue to question everything around you and do not be pressured to act in this sheep-like manner. At the end of the day thats what god asks you to do. You dont have to lose your culture but do try and mix with other cultures as well. I know hanging around with the muslim sisters seems like the safe option, but isnt it the same thing day-in day -out?Are you learning new ways of talking to people? You are british, and many muslim people dont like to admit it but they are british, just as they are open to our cultures and try to make a conscious effort to get to know our ways of thinking, we should do the same before following our safe crowd.
    Exactly. Questioning your beliefs isn't really the 'done thing' and isn't looked upon too favorably by others - most people tend to force their beliefs down others' throats not realizing that people have had different general experiences in life and not everyone will react to religion in the same way as themselves. Also, what's the point of following things blindly when you have no real knowledge of it? So many people are, you could say, brain-washed at an early age who then come to realize at a later age that they have absolutely no idea why they are behaving in such a way, and not everyone will be willing to start researching their religion again from scratch (if that makes sense).

    Maintaining my own culture isn't really the main issue here - culture can easily be adapted to suit your needs. It's mainly incorporating religion and British culture that's a bit difficult. I try not to 'hang with the sisters' (as you put it) too much because many of them are hypocrites and have a holier-than-thou attitude. Of course there will be some who know what they're talking about but the majority of them are too rigid in their beliefs to even contemplate other people's views which I find really off-putting.
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    I think you need to be confident in your own beliefs and tactical in how you deal with the two different set of cultures. When you're with the 'sisters' then act as how they would, obviously don't act hypocritical or holier than thou but just keep your opinions reserved or go completely opposite and voice your opinion and justify it. Tell them you want to have a civil debate on topics rather than be slated off for it.

    Similarly, when you're with the British folk then act as you want but just don't mention religion too much. I mean there's a billion other things to talk about and find mutual ground on rather than religion y'know? Also if there's some things that they want to do and you can't because of religious restrictions then just let them know about it, if they're good friends then they'll understand the effect of religion in your life.

    I'm pakistani muslim and I don't wear a hijab, my cousin does and my group of friends used to comprise of an oriental girl, pakistani non hijabi friend, hindu friend and my hijabi cousin. We used to get along all fine and well because we would either joke about religion or just not mention it at all as we all have different beliefs (for example, there was the discussion on nandos being halal.. now my cousin says it's not haram as they have the certificate etc etc, my other friend says it is haram and doesn't plan on eating there, I think that whilst there is people claiming it's haram and it's making me uncertain then it's best to just refrain from it so I just have the veg option at halal nandos, it really hasn't created a division between us even if she will eat chicken at nandos) It's pretty much down to the tolerance and understanding of the group dynamics. If you think they're being negative or making you feel like you should keep your opinions suppressed then lessen the contact you have with them, they aren't exactly good friends in that case.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
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    What do you mean you want different view in life? [ what stops you from achieving this?]

    you say religion is probably not the factor so do you think it's culture maybe?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)

    Maintaining my own culture isn't really the main issue here - culture can easily be adapted to suit your needs. It's mainly incorporating religion and British culture that's a bit difficult. I try not to 'hang with the sisters' (as you put it) too much because many of them are hypocrites and have a holier-than-thou attitude. Of course there will be some who know what they're talking about but the majority of them are too rigid in their beliefs to even contemplate other people's views which I find really off-putting.

    I really agree with your here, I used to hang with a big group of hijabi girls, they were all amazingly nice people but it always annoyed me how narrow minded they were. The majority of them had no solid islamic information but were covered head to toe.

    Re this:
    ''ainly incorporating religion and British culture that's a bit difficult.'' I understand how difficult it can be and the fine lines that you can't cross considering your beliefs. In my opinion you should treat the british culture just like any other culture you see. You don't need to go clubbing or into a pub if you are uncomfortable, there are many british people that dont do these things. What aspects of the religion are you struggling with when talking about incorporating it into the culture?
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    I don't think you're having much of an identity crisis but rather you're kind of unsure about the extent to which your religious beliefs extend, not only because you live in Britain, but because of your family also. Its completely fine, I understand where your coming from myself. Personally I dont think that you have to integrate yourself into the british culture by becoming more liberal in what you think as you'll just be succumbing to peer pressure. Believe what you want, when you want, and if someone disagrees with you from your muslim group of friends then don't let it get it to you... like being called a coconut I often find the biggest hypocrites are those that consistently ask you, why arent you doing so and so, dont you know thats wrong blah blah blah. I had a friend who kept preaching about how I should wear a headscarf, a year later when we started our a-levels (no school uniform anymore) she ditched the scarf and came into school with high heels, full make up..etc. You see where im going with this lol. Sooo I guess what im trying to say is, religion should be personal to you, and not anyone elses business.
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    (Original post by Confusing_Chem)
    I think you need to be confident in your own beliefs and tactical in how you deal with the two different set of cultures. When you're with the 'sisters' then act as how they would, obviously don't act hypocritical or holier than thou but just keep your opinions reserved or go completely opposite and voice your opinion and justify it. Tell them you want to have a civil debate on topics rather than be slated off for it.

    Good luck!
    Love the first piece of advice, and the last on either being reserved ot debating, but definitely would not agree with having to act as how they would. Be yourself OP and don't worry about what they think. Has it occurred to you that by them calling her a rather liberal muslim, or a coconut, they're asserting their own superiority and acting 'holier'? So its acceptable for them to treat her like an outsider, and she has to conform to that to maintain a religious ideal? Religion is with God not with your friends.
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    My advice is to try and look for different people to socialise with, or make your existing friends tolerate your personal views/opinions. If they criticise you for not behaving/thinking as a proper "muslim" or "Brit" (as if a proper anything exists) should, then they don't deserve your company.

    Might not be the best advice but it's the only long term solution i see....
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    (Original post by TheStudent.)
    Love the first piece of advice, and the last on either being reserved ot debating, but definitely would not agree with having to act as how they would. Be yourself OP and don't worry about what they think. Has it occurred to you that by them calling her a rather liberal muslim, or a coconut, they're asserting their own superiority and acting 'holier'? So its acceptable for them to treat her like an outsider, and she has to conform to that to maintain a religious ideal? Religion is with God not with your friends.
    I agree, I stated an alternative as I don't know what sort of a person the OP really is. Sonetimes people seek solace in adapting to their situation y'know?
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    (Original post by Confusing_Chem)
    I agree, I stated an alternative as I don't know what sort of a person the OP really is. Sonetimes people seek solace in adapting to their situation y'know?
    ... short-term solution is the way I see it to be honest
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Anon because I know people on here and I’d rather they not know this is me. This is going to be quite long but please bear with me.

    Okay to start off this thread is in NO WAY supposed to be controversial and inflammatory and any comments bashing Asians/Muslims/religion and/or religious debate are, in the strongest words possible, NOT welcome - if that’s what you clicked on this thread for then please don’t bother. I’m aware that variants of this thread may have been done to death on here - I’m just looking for some advice on some things that have been bothering me lately which I can’t really talk to people about openly due to the very nature of the topic, and I’m hoping that there are others on here who may be familiar with my situation.

    I’m an Asian Muslim girl. Recently I’ve been having what you could call an ‘identity crisis’ about who I am and what I want to identify myself as. I’m a fairly practicing Muslim i.e. I pray, don’t drink, wear a headscarf etc but at the same time I’d like to think I maintain open-minded and tolerant views on things in everyday life (some could argue that being a practicing Muslim and being open-minded are contradictory but really, it IS possible). I don’t feel that my religion is in any way the problem because I do try my best to form my own opinions by going to the source rather than basing it on what other (often clueless) people ‘think’. However, at the same time I like to identify with the British culture as well.

    I’m not talking about the teenage culture of heavy drinking and sex but rather the different views and ways of life, and this has lead me to feel like an outsider in both groups. I don’t quite ‘fit in’ with the group of Muslim people that I know because of being judged for not behaving ‘Islamic-ly or Asian enough’ (I’m probably what’s known as a ‘coconut’ for those who are familiar with the term) but at the same time being religious, especially at our age, can pose certain issues with people who aren’t as religious, sometimes resulting in very very subtle discrimination. I doesn’t help that half of my family are very liberal, and the other half really aren’t.

    Has anyone felt this way? How did you go about dealing with these clashes and integrating different aspects of them into your life? It’s really confusing having to deal with this sort of stuff when the people around you aren’t exactly helpful, and I don’t know if I’m just being really silly and this is just a case of ‘first world problems’. I would like to get a variety of opinions and experiences so that I can take a somewhat mature approach to this issue. Thanks.
    I suggest asking other Muslim girls in the ISOC thread, and how they dealt with uni life and being part of life, etc
    I do understand what your saying, I do believe its much harder to fit in when your at uni, as alcohol, clubbing, etc seem to become more significant in uni life. As a result its quite hard to find people with similar views but at the same time be good friends. Try contacting some of the girls on the thread, they should be able to understand your feelings and situation.
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...c#post40791250
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    (Original post by nthepachuco)
    I really agree with your here, I used to hang with a big group of hijabi girls, they were all amazingly nice people but it always annoyed me how narrow minded they were. The majority of them had no solid islamic information but were covered head to toe.

    Re this:
    ''ainly incorporating religion and British culture that's a bit difficult.'' I understand how difficult it can be and the fine lines that you can't cross considering your beliefs. In my opinion you should treat the british culture just like any other culture you see. You don't need to go clubbing or into a pub if you are uncomfortable, there are many british people that dont do these things. What aspects of the religion are you struggling with when talking about incorporating it into the culture?
    so true many people just act upon something they are born into, those that you were with i bet you some had boyfriend etc. these days it maintaining an image, without the knowledge behind it.
 
 
 
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