Way down in this article, Begum says: “Since 9/11, the whole terrorism thing, people think all Muslims must be members of al Qaeda. But my family is from Bangladesh, which is nowhere near the Middle East.”
I am sure she herself has nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or jihad terrorism, but this is the sort of non-answer answer that has become dispiritingly familiar from Muslim spokesmen in the West. She isn’t Al-Qaeda because she’s from Bangladesh? Bangladesh doesn’t have any jihadists?
It would have be refreshing if she had explicitly renounced the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism, but I guess you can’t have everything, or even much of anything.
“Muslim officer is first on the beat donning hijab,” from the Cambridge Evening News, with thanks to WriterMom:
RUKSHANA Begum is, without question, one of a kind. This week, the 23-year-old will become the first police officer ever to wear the Muslim hijab, or headscarf, on duty in Cambridgeshire. And she can’t wait.
“I’ve struggled to get where I am,” she admits. “But I feel that my generation is the one which is going to break barriers. I hope that people will look at me and think, ‘If she can do it, so can I’.”
When they discovered she was planning to join the police force, Rukshana’s parents went mad. Such a thing was, she explains, unheard of for a young Muslim woman. But, aged just 19, Rukshana herself had no doubts about what she wanted to do.
“Once or twice I had to cancel a duty when family came over,” she confesses. “They’d say ‘Is your daughter a police?’, like it was something shameful. It did wind me up. It’s such a respectable thing to do, it’s not like I was dossing in my spare time.”
Raised a devout Muslim, who learned how to pray and read the Qur’an at Cambridge’s Abu Bakar Siddiq Mosque on Mawson Road, Rukshana recently came to another big decision: from now on, she’s going to wear hijab – even when she’s on police duty.
“Our parents never forced us to wear it,” explains Rukshana. “But I’m a practising Muslim: I pray, I read the Qur’an, I fast during Ramadan . . . I thought ‘If I can do all that, I want to take the next step forward to show my devotion to my faith’.
“And so I decided to wear a headscarf. You can’t cherry pick when and where to wear it. That would be hypocritical, wouldn’t it?”
Rukshana contacted Cambridgeshire Specials Co-ordinator Shahina Ahmed, herself a Muslim. At the time, last autumn, hijab was not issued as part of standard uniform. So the constabulary set about getting a scarf designed and made specially for Rukshana.
Sourcing various examples, from the few UK forces which provide hijab, they came up with the finished design earlier this year – with safety in mind. While most headscarves are held in place with pins, Rukshana’s is fastened with a strip of poppers.
Should an assailant grab her hijab, while on duty, it will simply pull apart. Made to order by a tailor in Yorkshire, from a special stretchy material, the scarves cost Â£15 each to buy.
“I think it’s a very positive thing,” says Shahina. “The Chief Constable, Julie Spence, has been supportive from day one. But we did have some resistance from members of the force, asking ‘Do you want to put your officer at risk?’ I don’t see it that way
* people have to accept you for who you are.”
After four years as a special (the only Muslim in her station), Rukshana has done everything from directing traffic to dealing with public disorder offences. And she’s never encountered any violence or racism.
“People have always looked at me and known I was from an ethnic minority,” she explains.
“Wearing a headscarf will narrow down my identity – people will know I’m a Muslim.
“And I see that as a really positive thing; it feels right for me, and I’m not expecting any negative impact.
“Since 9/11, the whole terrorism thing, people think all Muslims must be members of al Qaeda. But my family is from Bangladesh, which is nowhere near the Middle East….”