People tend to think that they are omnipotent, that we can do anything. We have plenty of knowledge, and believe we could sacrifice all of our desires for a dream, an idea or our family. But that’s not true.
We have an unreal perspective of ourselves. Actually, we are full of pride and failures. Our goldfish memory cannot usually remember, in historical terms, even what happened yesterday – despite having books and media we are not interested in learning from them.
Our curiosity is often lost, others are setting our interests and agendas, thinking for all of us and creating a standardised “public” opinion. We see physical proofs of our Muslim heritage, but we still claim now is the first time Muslims have set foot in Spain. We see our black hair, our brown eyes and our dark skin, yet we still believe that we are descendants of Vikings.
Nuns and Virgin Mary pictorial representations are everywhere and yet we get angry when a veiled woman shows up, “Because this is not our culture!” We suffer the consequences of usury, our families are broken because of infidelities, drugs and gambling, but yet we consider Islam a totalitarian system. Our children don’t respect their elders, our parents live alone in residences, and our girls and women are treated like sexual objects but we still cry out that Islam is oppressive.
We know nothing and we don’t want to learn. We say we don’t believe in God but we all have a precise idea of how Heaven should be. We can wait three days at the entrance to a concert and cry bitterly for a pop star that doesn’t even know we exist, but we are unable to accept God’s existence; He who knows every single one of us and loves us more than anyone else in this world.
We are also ready to radically change our lives because of the smallest occurrence to be loved and adored but we refuse to change the smallest things for God. What would others think of us if we did so? Today religion is not fashionable.
We continue doing inane things to get more meaningless prizes; win a ball signed by a footballer, be famous, be desired, do whatever to be admired by family and friends. No matter the price, no matter if that means behaving in a degrading manner or to have to sell your life, miseries and secrets, we do so just for the sake of Shaytan. Of course we are not aware of it, we would insist that we are not worshipping the Devil, but in fact we do.
And now, all these weird people are invading our public spaces with their offensive long and loose clothes, and with all these threatening long beards, (Hey, wait, that’s a hipster!), and claiming that a healthy diet excludes pork, the essence of our gastronomy! However, the majority of people ignore the fact that if pork is present in almost every single dish we cook, it is because once, when the Inquisition was around, they decided that adding pork to everything would be a great way to know who was a real Christian and who was not, so their morbid tasks would be easier to accomplish.
All these foreigners come here to tell us that our banks – those that rob us, leave people in the streets and led our country to ruin – they are not good before God’s eyes. Women covering themselves so that nobody can see their legs, how are we then supposed to know which one to hire for a position? Like them, we say family is the most important thing. Indeed it is, I want my family happy, so my mum is living with friends in a residence; my wife is always out shopping and gossipping; my kids are either at the disco or walking around aimlessly. This way we are all busy and I can do what I really want: drinking while playing online betting games because this life is so empty, so boring, so stressful that I need these things to keep my mind busy in order not to think of how miserable I am. So all these new people – go back to your countries! Real Spanish Muslims? How can that happen? And they still keep the nationality? That is our Jihad, that is how life in the West looks like, these are the daily fights we have to deal with, even inside our own families.
Spain is still a noob in managing diversity and the government is, so far, looking to the wrong side. We have always been fighting with the French, and not for nothing; they are our neighbours, they invaded us, destroyed our fruit trailers, they are our main opponents in the European fishing grounds, and yet surprisingly they are our immigration policy role model. They have four or five generations of French Muslims and still they are treated as second-class citizens, creating extremists and social misfits. They still blame the victims and their religion, while our politics disregard these experiences and keep looking over the Pyrenees instead of looking overseas to the British or the Canadians’ enriching management of this miscegenation.
I like my country, I’m proud of saying that I’m Spanish. I like my culture, my language, my gastronomy and even the occidental fashion – loose and long – but yet I want a better country, a more respectful one in which wearing a hijab won’t be a problem to get a job or rent a house; going to the mosque would be just as suspicious as going to church; eating Halal food would be as normal as eating tofu; where being Muslim means being Arab as much as being Catholic means being Italian.
I want a Spanish Muslim Ummah with natives empowered as imams and sheiks and even Ulamas, able to solve its own problems because no one better than Europeans can understand European converts and young Muslims’ issues. I want to hear the Jumu’ah khutbah in Spanish, I want our Muslims to be proud of their choice because as professor Tariq Ramadan says, “Our commitments as European Muslims are: respecting the law, knowing the language and being loyal to the country in which we live. From there on, we can, we must, use democracy in our favour, to achieve our goals, to make from this country a better place to live, a place closer to people, Islam and God.”
Verónica Fernández Pérez is a Spanish Muslim Journalist. She also works as a freelance Translator and Proofreader. Her fields of interest are immigration, international policy, and Islam.