A white woman who dressed as a Muslim for a week was subjected to Islamaphobia by strangers – and even asked ‘if she was going to blow us all up’.
Katie Freeman was taking part in a social experiment for the documentary “My Week as a Muslim” with the intention of showing what kind of abuse every day Muslims can face in the UK.
But the programme itself has been criticised for using ‘brownface’ makeup, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Katie, 43, is a healthcare assistant who said she had prejudices that led her to fear Muslims.
As part of the Channel Four programme she lived for a week with Saima Alvi, a Muslim teacher and mother-of-five from Altrincham.
But taking part in the programme challenged Katie’s views and opened her eyes to Islamophobia.
Katie said: “I didn’t know what to expect or what they would think of me,” she said. “Would they think I was a racist? And what would I think of them?
“But Saima opened the door and just put her arms out and I was quite taken aback.”
Katie admits that she didn’t know any Muslims before making the programme.
“I would never class myself as racist but I was perhaps quite fearful of them,” she said.
“I would see a Muslim out and I would be on my guard because of what I had seen on the news.”
Saima, 49, and her family invited Katie to spend a week with them to see exactly what life is like in a Muslim household.
Katie spent time shopping for a hijab in Rusholme, meeting worshippers at the Altrincham Islamic Centre and attending a vigil at the British Muslim Heritage Centre – where Saima is vice chair. Read more