Thursday, September 11

Northern And Non-Muslim? Apply Within

WARNING: Some things, well actually a lot of things, are likely to offend in this post. While that is not my intention (honestly), I do recognise the sensitivity of the topic and so humbly ask your forgiveness in advance. And if that doesn't work, let me just remind those of you it's relevant to that we shouldn't get angry in this Holy Month. Anyway...

A road trip is always a good time to formulate a theory or two. The confines of a car means you have to talk to each other about something, most would be tired after a long day driving and this lowers defences and finally just being away from the usual environment of home opens a person up to new stimuli and thoughts.

As an example take a recent trip with friends to Birmingham for a lunch date; although most of the day was taken up by the fabulous home-cooked meal, many of us had other business that we took care of, some of which gave us the opportunity to meet new people. And of course when I say "people" I actually mean "girls". Would this be of any interest if I didn't?

On the way back Someone[1] observed how nice those whom they met were. Friendly and fun, open and transparent, full of humility and modesty; they knew how to talk to people they had just met, had manners and were pretty both inside and out. Someone even said that they'd make perfect partners, and lamented about how the girls they had met for rishta purposes back home were nothing like those we met that day.

The discussion then moved to figuring out why such a disparity existed. The most obvious suggestion was that of location - London doesn't have the friendliest of people in general and it's not a stretch to assume the same applying to its women too. This would fall in line with the general stereotype that divides those from the North and those from the South; maybe it's all just Northern thing?

But could that be all it was? I mean those in the car weren't exactly globetrotters but we all had been around enough to know that the location alone couldn't explain it all. The thing is that there was another attribute that we all (objectively, I'll add) noticed: that of religious backgrounds. In short, although these ladies were all of an Asian background, none happened to be Muslim.

Someone proposed that it was the different upbringing that non-Muslim girls had which made all the difference - the possible higher exposure to those of the opposite sex for example. They also may not have some of the religious weight on their backs that their sisters from Islam have - or at least have it applied on themselves in a different way to Muslim girls. It could also be some kind of overcompensation, a hostility built up because it had to, something talked about here in a better and more appropriate way than I ever could.

Although upbringing could be a major factor in both these cases, I didn't notice any qualities in these girls that a Muslim from London couldn't also have - after all it wasn't like we found a lack of hijab or an ability to eat non-Halal meat attractive. There was nothing non-Islamic (or even non-London) about the qualities we found to be of value. In that sense it also wasn't much a case of us wanting what we couldn't have (although I suppose some Londoners are loath to crossing the M25).

Of course each criteria, both of location and religious background, require much more analysis than a simple post in a blog can give (or none at all depending on your stance), so I won't go on any further except to say that the reasons probably don't matter. And just to qualify it once again: the above isn't necessarily my own opinion but came from the group as a whole, one that was of mixed genders and North/South backgrounds.

In fact after coming back to London and gauging the opinions of others I found that Someone wasn't the first to acknowledge the attractiveness of NMNs (Non-Muslim Northerners); some even went as far as to wholeheartedly agree with it. And of course it goes without saying that this wasn't just applicable to girls - Muslim Londoner blokes seem an even poorer choice when placed alongside the wider alternatives (and I say that as one). For some it might even be worth travelling outside of London after all - and at today's petrol prices that's no small feat.

In short, if you're Muslim and live in London then, well, you're probably screwed. Unless of course you raise your game - and I'm sure there's plenty of NMNs around to show you how it's supposed to be done.

[1] "Someone" being the vague, anonymous and so blameless scapegoat in this story.