“We eat, we sleep, we breathe just like you. So the simple question I am asking you is: why are we portrayed so different to you?”
Poetry, especially spoken word, has the special ability to allow you to enter the mind space of another person in a very short space of time. And whether you are Muslim or not, Humza Arshad’s latest video, Islamophobia – A Walk in the Park, is a must-watch.
Walking through fields and behind trees, Humza gives us an excellent visual metaphor for what being a western Muslim is really like, explaining how, despite his surroundings, it is not, in fact, a walk in the park.
The poem picks up on topics such as media prejudice and misinformed stereotypes about how Muslim women are treated within Islam. It also points out cultural inconsistencies, making us realise that “if [Muslims] commit a mass murder it’s a terror attack, but if they are white, headline: ‘mentally unstable’, fact.”
These inconsistencies are, thankfully, being pointed out more and more, but there remains a massive problem in the mainstream media with inequality of representation, and a lack of reporting that’s free from cultural bias.
Humza reaches out “to all my Muslim brothers and sisters” to say, “Don’t let those who dislike you define you. Be positive, be proud, and teach others around you of who we are and what we believe. Love, respect, and kindness our neighbours will receive. Stand strong together as one and smile through hurdles because even a smile is a good deed.”
And to any non-Muslims, Humza says, “Listen to me: if one fruit is off you cannot blame the whole tree.”
True words for us all.
If you want some more poetry, check out our latest Channel Spotlight on Angela Innes, or have a look at our Video Spotlight on another spoken word poem, this time by Simon Cade on why you shouldn’t be an artist.