My World, My Existence – How Hate Impacts on Me

This is a poem that was written around some of the experiences that Muslim women have had and who have reported into Tell MAMA. We believe that it is important to raise such feelings and experiences so that individuals can get an insight into the painful and self-limiting experiences that some Muslim women, who have been targeted for anti-Muslim hatred and racism

For Tell Mama UK, and with thanks to Talat Yaqoob 

Keeping Your Head Down

You keep your head down, frown
and don’t say anything
while the man on the tube
places his gaze on you
like stones;

your hands, your child, your language,
your clothes
mustn’t grumble

as your colleagues joke,
their mouths laughing fake accents
(which keep yours shut) they boast
about their Indian on a Friday night,
drink from yellow and purple mugs, and you

keep out of sight
when the country is reeling, and you too are grieving
yet asked to apologise

by the politicians in suits who tighten their ties
with one hand, the other
gripping a pen which hovers and signs

an X over your headscarf, over your mother
tongue, and you
don’t say anything, you know if you try
they’ll only prevent you
and yet, when you step outside

the kids, at the back of the bus,
street corner, shop door and school
call you paki c***, black bitch, terrorist, cruel

tea is served, pale brown and well brewed
steam rising up to heaven whether thrown down your back
or waiting, gently, beside your prayer mat.

Nadine Aisha Jassat

Nadine Aisha Jassat (Nadine Aisha) is the author of Still, a poetry pamphlet exploring women’s stories and women’s survival, and has performed solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Just Festival and Audacious Women Festival. She is the Writer in Residence for YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement, and features in 404 Ink’s acclaimed Nasty Women. She is active in the movement to end gender-based violence, and works with young people to educate and empower. You can follow Nadine on Twitter @nadineaishaj or read more about her work at .

The post My World, My Existence – How Hate Impacts on Me appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Hate Crimes, Muslim women, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Opinions, Poem