around 60 girls where going and we where to travel by tram, to get to the tram station we had to walk for about 20 minutes. we had just left the school and walking past a church which was open for Friday mass when one of the members of the congregation stopped in his tracks and stood staring at us, he then began to shout:
'you of to celebrate St Georges day?'
he got no answer from the girls who carried on walking past him and giggling as girls do.
he then shouted again
'this is England, this is England'
at the same time pointing down at the ground.
i was the last person to walk past him (as a teacher you always have to have some one at the back just in case we leave anyone behind), and as i walked past him he said to me: 'you have to celebrate St Georges Day'
i decided i wouldn't ignore him so instead i asked him: 'have you got a problem?'
to which he replied: 'yes actually i certainly do, i have a problem with you people being in England and not celebrating our festivities'.
so i was dealing with a racist, i hate the reference 'you people' it really irritates me and can get me going.
i thought to myself, sondes, you gota stay calm, so i asked him a question: when you you look at me, what do you see, what am i?'
to that he replied: 'your an Islamic'
i said to him: 'actually your wrong, I'm a Muslim not an Islamic, just like i wouldn't call you Christianity'
he said: oh so now you have a problem with the word islamic' ?????????
to which i said: 'no but I'm making you aware of the correct reference'
he then said:' well i don't care, to me your a mohammadian and always will be'
this is getting interesting...
"a mohammidian? right without sounding patronising, i hate to break this to you but we don't worship prophet Mohamed, we worship God, prophet Mohamed like his title is a prophet just like Jesus'
the man says: 'so your teaching me about Islam now'
me: 'no, just correcting your knowledge'
man: 'right so are you celebrating St Georges day?'
man: 'your in England, its your duty to celebrate it'
me: 'not really'
man: 'look at you taking these girls to celebrate things that have nothing to do with England'
me: 'they are going on a field trip to ice skate in altrincham, what celebrations are you talking about?
man: oh tahts ok then, have a happy St Georges day'
me: (completely perplexed) you to.
he then turns around and walks into the church.
at this point the girls where asking me a thousand questions and i didn't know what to say.
on the way back i jotted down the telephone number of the church and called the pastor who replied straight away.
i introduced myself and then told him the reason why i had called, he was completely sympathetic and horrified that this happened outside his church, he then went on to tell me that because hes Irish he gets told by some members of his own congregation to go back to Ireland and he said that on St Patricks Day he always encounters some sort of hatred.
i was really happy with how the conversation went and I'm actually considering visiting the church and seeing if we can establish some friendship and hopefully get some of the girls to visit and speak to the congregation on Islam.