Religion plays a centralaspect to one’s identity which comes from the Latin root of “to tie or to bindtogether”. It forms as a social identity as it teaches us the way of how tolive our life, and which principles to abide by, which become the foundationsto shaping an individual’s social identity. Religion helps us to view theworld, form different opportunities of socialising with others, and to set outbasic fundamentals in which to follow. Depending on which religion you follow,each one will mould you into the type of person that you should become, andwill also help you to differentiate between right and wrong.
For instance, in Sikhismthey are taught to not cut their hair as a symbolism of showing respect to Godin creating such perfect creations. Sikh men are taught to wear turbans as away to show their love and respect to their founder, but also as a sign ofpromoting equality. In Islam, Muslim women wear the hijab (headscarf) as a signof modesty and as a way of preserving their beauty from males, non-other thanher ‘Mahram’s’, i.e. her husband, son, father, grandchildren, brother etc. Somemay even reject religion entirely as it being part of their identity.
Growing up as a BritishMuslim in a western society today is much difficult compared to before. Todaywe are faced with such ridiculous questions which people are so intrigued toask such as “why do you fast for a whole month?”, “did your dad or husbandforce you to wear the hijab?” or “does Islam oppress women?”. British Muslimsconstantly have to always be aware of their surroundings, but also be consciousof how they look to others, due to the day-to-day stares or remarks that weface. Nowadays social mediaplays a great role on how we interact, communicate with others, accessinformation and view things. Especially within the Islamic community, the mediahas played such a great turmoil in the way in which Islam is represented, andis having such a drastic effect on British Muslims.
Since 9/11 and recentterrorist attacks, Islam has been one of the main headings to come up in themedia and on in newspapers, making people have a negative approach towards thereligion and Muslims in general. Islamophobia has taken a rise in portraying Muslimsas terrorists, extremists or violent people, making British Muslims feeldistressed by the constant negative portrayal of their religion.