Perks of being Muslim while traveling

Take this and that. Don’t forget that. Oh, and what about these. Everything. Take every single thing you can even if it means that you’ll have to carry it on your back like camels do. You never know when you might be needing a jacket even though the temperature is rising to a hundred degrees. Or the fact that your luggage will exceed the amount allowed, and later on you’ll end up pleading to the airport agents, who in return will ask you to pay. But you take out your clothes and cover yourself with them so you wouldn’t have to pay an extra sixty bucks.

Oh, and who cares about airport security. Especially if your skin color and religion don’t match the ones checking you.

They’re not mean or rude but they make you feel like you just ran away from prison and sometimes you doubt yourself, but you don’t exactly remember why you were in prison in the first place.

They’re doing their job, and you’re doing yours. It’s tiring, exhausting physically and mentally. And that’s when you start making notes in your mind promising to never travel again. Until you become a millionaire, which of course you do, in your wildest dreams.

And of course, that’s where you store all your other broken dreams, and segments of torn desires. I’m not being pessimistic; I’m just not being optimistic.

The uncomfortable seats, where you don’t know if you will ever be capable of sitting on another seat ever again. The small blankets, which cover either your legs or other parts of your body and of course let’s not forget the pillows, which take more space then you.

The tight leg space, where your legs become so congested that you become unaware of their presence. Like do I even have legs.

The small bathrooms, in the corner next to the kitchen, where squeezing in is just as hectic as squeezing out. The air crew, roaming around through the plane, giving you less preference because you haven’t paid as much as the people in the section in front of you. Their faces draped in smiles and politeness, while yours is covered in mucus because of the flu you caught from the weird looking person sitting on your right.

Oh, and more security. SSSS bombarded on your ticket because again, you don’t belong here, you’re not like the rest. Special Selective Stripping Service (every inch of you is scanned even that pimple growing on the side of your cheek- like what am I hiding in there? Drugs!)

Terrorist, criminal, drug dealer. Everything is written on the top of your forehead until every inch of you is searched. It’s guilty until proven innocent. The scanners, the body massages, the stares. The code names they use, which are obvious to you. Speaking into walkie talkies as if the passengers are some form of plague. It’s all annoying and frustrating. The big bulky people taking you to rooms you did not know existed. Asking you questions you never thought of, in a manner that scares the living hell out of you. You become a criminal in your own mind, because you’ve had the privilege to be questioned. And that’s where you confess to all those crimes you never thought were possible. You make mental notes because you’re sure that you’ll end up in prison because you look like the person who robbed toys-ur’s.  You know your guilty because you cheated on that exam fifteen years ago and these people somehow found out, or the fact that you crossed a red light and you stole a crayon in third grade from your best friend. Oh, and let’s not forget about that paper you plagiarized in college because you we’re too busy studying for a biochem exam.

The moral consciousness at first doesn’t let you rest and now these agents. More security, more stares, more questions.

The only thing that nibbles on the little brain you have left is exhaustion. You aren’t irritated by the questions or the people, but the fact that you were the lucky winner. Out of all the people you were selected, just like last time and the time before that, and the time before that.  And that’s where you realize that the SSSS isn’t random, it’s actually you. Because of your race, religion, ethnicity, you were the chosen one. Why couldn’t I be the chosen one for the lottery.

Then finally you are free, but of course your caged in exhaustion with a pulsing headache, reminding yourself of that promise of never traveling any country of the world ever again.

32 thoughts on “Perks of being Muslim while traveling

  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt & painful post. It’s like a few drops of insanity has contaminated the holy water. Your words are so powerful…just like yourself…amazing that you’re bringing awareness…it’s very much needed…keep expressing from your heart…that you are ❤️✨

    Liked by 4 people

  2. As someone who worked for almost 40 years in airports, I remember times before there was ever hand baggage search. Life was so easy, little did we realize. Latterly, it was absolutely the way you describe and I’m not surprised you would think of never travelling again. I always wanted to apologize to people such as yourself for what you were put through. Sometimes it all seemed so ridiculous, such as when my 88 year old father had to be removed from his wheelchair and checked all over. What did they think he was going to do at his stage of life? I pray that society will somehow re-set itself to something more peaceful and compassionate. Thanks for the post. It helps for people to know what your experience feels like.

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  3. I totally understand Rinum and I appreciate you sharing your personal experience, I’ve been through it myself. It is such a drag and shows you how overtly discriminating people are. I hope it doesn’t put you off travelling again. Sending you good wishes 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nicely written Rinum, I’m sorry that you have felt weird traveling. It’s important that the people who are not Muslim such as I to treat them as well as anyone. I’ve never been to another country but been on an airplane before . I hope it hasn’t changed your personality at all. Best wishes to you

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well said friend..while I read the post it reminded me of one of my Muslim friend here in Canada ..she used to say how different people sometimes treat the women with head coverings..
    Hmm..good post to increase people awareness and your words are so powerful for doing the task 😊👍🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a sad, screwed-up world we live in. Harassed and belittled on nothing more than looking at you and being ruled by bigotry. I hope we all find a better way soon. You are an excellent writer.

    Thank you for liking my posts. It means a lot to me.

    Liked by 2 people

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