(This is not a "good" story, but like the Desi aunty one I'm sharing it to provide food for thought.)
I think I'm currently averaging one to two upsetting Muslim man encounters a month. I had my first November encounter today, and I think it was severe enough to count as two and satisfy my monthly quota. Sad though, right, given it's only the 7th of the month? The fiasco:
There’s a local photography student who for one of her projects wanted to use as a subject somebody who visits the mosque. A friend referred her to me. She’s working on photographing me doing every day things and visiting the mosque. I was with her for parts of Sunday, Monday, and then yesterday and today. Today I met her at the Jones Street Mosque for Jumah prayers, and she had planned to photograph me there. I arrived to find her waiting for me on the third floor, right outside the prayer area. A few people came up to her and were really nice and attempted to let her know she could go inside the prayer hall. BUT when I got there was this man harassing her. He was essentially telling her that if she didn’t cover her hair she would have to leave.
It was so obnoxious. I couldn't help it, I attempted to tell him off. He was saying she had to “make her face like a Muslim” to come inside. I told him to go to his section and not pay attention because she wasn’t sitting next to him. And he kept saying it saying it was disrespectful to the mosque so I told him he was being disrespectful to the mosque by harassing her. And at some point he even said “well she can cover or she can go outside.” I told him there was no hijab rule at this mosque. I further told him that if there was such a rule, I knew for a fact he had no position of authority at this mosque and therefore could not enforce it. And then told him thank you for your advice and started to shoo him away. By that time, Alhamdulillah!, the President came out and told him to mind his own business.
Gosh! I was sooo upset: you know that heart pounding kind of upset? I should have asked him where his beard and manners were "Mr. face like a Muslim."
It's tragic that narrow minds and bad attitudes are actively harmining the religion from within.