Sunday, April 25

Wedding Observations

One of the biggest draws for me coming here was to experience first hand the wonderful sense of balance I've seen in the Saffans I've met in places other than their home country. I think it has something to do with how they've been in a non-Muslim country for centuries and so have gotten over some of the identity issues those in other places like the UK, US and Canada are still struggling with. And what better place to get a good picture of identity than at a wedding?

It was very similar to the vibe I got during the wedding I attended in Australia (the family of which were also originally from South Africa). We had bearded guys in thobes, clean cut guys in suits, women in traditional gear, women in dresses all hanging out in the same place accepting each other for who they are. It's lovely to witness and something we're still pretty far away from in the UK. The events I went to were what I can only describe as "loosely segregated", where there were obvious male and female sections, but without any damnations to hell cast if the odd person happened to become confused with their gender. And yes, we did spend more time than necessary in the wrong section. Even the food was cool - Indian cooked chicken served with steak and chips? Blimey.

There were some things I noticed which went against these observations though. There seems to be a sweeping wave of new age and populist Islam (you know, the type that combines Islam with feminism and animal rights) as well as minority who are turning quite heavily toward the literal and cultural route. However what's awesome is that above all there seems to be a good understanding and acceptance of difference - it must be an apartheid thing.

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