GUEST BLOG: Dear Katie Hopkins…

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Hi there Katie, how you doing? Finding ways to spin another story into fiction? I wouldn’t be surprised given your recent article.

According to you, there is ‘another side that is not being told,’ to the stories about the Muslim family denied entry to USA that have been floating about recently. Well, you’re right. It’s called “the truth”. I write this as a person who has known the family in question for almost 8 years.

You label this British family as ‘unconventional.’ I’m sorry, in 2015, what exactly is a conventional British family? A father (John) a mother (Kate) and two children Emily and James? Times have moved on, and there is no such thing as a “conventional family”. It is a myth, a total fallacy that the “conventional British family” even exists.

However prejudice and discrimination is certainly alive and kicking. Less than 3 months ago Nadiya Hussain, of Bangladeshi origin, was crowned the Great British Bake Off champion. That in itself unleashed a flurry of racism which has been slowly simmering under the surface of daily British life. How could a Bangladeshi Muslim win the Great BRITISH bake off? Because she IS British. It’s as simple as that. But let’s move along shall we? Your article has a few more juicy bits I’d just love to get my teeth into.

As you have no regard for the truth whatsoever, let me enlighten you. The party of 11 were not all called “Mahmood”. The surnames of the children were actually Zahid. And you’re right; a 19 year old isn’t a child. But since this was reported in first person, the father referred to this particular person as “his child”. Children don’t stop being your children once they turn 18. To further clarify, there were actually 2 female adults, and 3 female children on this trip. Sorry Katie, looks like someone should have done their research – but wait, I forgot. That doesn’t quite fit with the narrative you want to portray, does it?

“So if Homeland Security were suspicious about the fact there were no mothers in the group, who can entirely blame them?”

Ah, my apologies, I forgot about that rule that Homeland Security has. You know, the one that dictates a mother must always travel with her children. Assuming that this is the reason Homeland stopped them in the first place. In addition, Mrs Mahmood would like to clarify that the reason she was not travelling is as simple as “my 7 year old’s passport had expired and had not arrived in time.”

If you are resorting to ‘spot the terrorist’ you really must be completely bored. After all, thanks to reporters such as yourself and a Murdoch-owned media, the word terrorist has become a synonym for Muslim. However, I ask you to cast your minds back to the 1970s when you were growing up. Did you play ‘spot the terrorist’ then? Did you look for people who looked as though they were Irish?

Let’s move on though. Now we’re discussing Waltham Forest ‘a known hotbed of extremism, where Anjem Choudhary came from.’ Oh he came from here, did he? I didn’t realise that being born and going to school in Woolwich meant he came from Waltham Forest! Silly me! I thought Woolwich fell under London borough of Greenwich (Sorry Greenwich, you’ve got to take one for the team here.) Wait, he must have at least attended university here? No? He went to University of Southampton? Fancy that.

And assuming you did indeed play “spot the terrorist” in the 70s, if this family was from an ‘extremist area of England’ what would you call Ireland?

You claim to find it ‘utterly improbable’ that two fathers were taking their families’ to Disneyland? I used to think it was utterly improbable that a woman with hatred inciting views would ever be given a national platform on which to embarrass herself, but I guess we were both wrong.

Just to point out, the definition of “Mafia” is: a hierarchically structured secret organization allegedly engaged in smuggling, racketeering, trafficking in narcotics, and other criminal activities in the U.S., Italy, and elsewhere. Nowhere in your article have you outlined any such behaviour, so to label them as Mafia is pure sensationalistic bollocks that is designed to make this innocent family of nine look dangerous.

You claim they travelled “without any women”. I’m telling you there were 2 women, and 3 girls.

You claim they are “unconventional”. I’m telling you that conventional doesn’t exist.

You claim they were “neighbours with Anjem Choudhary in Extremist Central”. I’m telling you that they haven’t even met Anjem, let alone have tea with him as you seem to suggest.

I won’t sugar-coat it. When I read your article,  I was seething.  Seething that you could label this family that has been through so much as potential terrorists. I was so livid I texted my friend from the family you are keen to smear. She said: “Babe, don’t worry. Even I’m not angry Arifa. She’s a joke. Her words have literally no effect on me.” Although her words lifted me a little, I couldn’t help but cry. This family has been through so much, have lost so much; and when someone like you fans the flame of Islamaphobia, hatred, division and fear, my friend replies with only peace.

THIS is the family that you accuse? THIS is the family you think is capable of extremism?

THIS family is the true definition of Islam. To quote fellow Iranian poet Nasim Asgari: ‘When hatred knocks at your door, greet it with a smile but tell it it has come too late, for love is already having tea inside.’


 

Arifa Nasim, 18, is a young activist from London. She is the founder and director of Educate2Eradicate, a non-profit that trains professionals on Forced Marriage, FGM and Honour Violence.

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RDPP

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