When being politically correct is insulting…

For the past ten years I’ve worked at a Level One Trauma Center; it is always buzzing with doctors, nurses, staff; the constant flow of patients for clinic; emergency rooms; and trauma. And for the past ten years I’ve seen a steady increase of the women in all positions and professions in our hospital that wear hijab…and our mosque inside the hospital has grown as well…beautiful carpet; large expansive prayer room; a growing library, air conditioning; lovely & roomy Sister space, etc. Jumma’ah is a packed day almost all the time, Alhamdulillah!

And other than that fateful time in 2001, where our staff didn’t quite know how to handle things (who did?), those in hijab worked basically unmolested. People got promoted; nurses did their job; residents finished their residencies and fellows became Attendings…we continued business as usual- saving lives.

Until two days ago…

We’ve recently “acquired”, for lack of a better word, another hospital to add to our network. Our meetings at that hospital have had their moments; as to be expected…but what I didn’t expect was for the need of one person in particular to attempt at being politically correct towards a Muslim, and in the process be insulting.

I’ve never had an issue with shaking a man’s hand during a business meeting- to me its part of my working rules and I never gave it a thought- but the person in question used the handshaking bit as a platform to “apologize for shaking my hand” while trying to put me in my place – as a Muslimah… What happened, ended up being a display of uncalled for show of airs -I-know-more-about-this-Muslim-thing-than-you-do; while reminding me that like some of the perceived notions of where a Muslimah stands in the world -I should run and hide- not seen or heard.

But you see, I get paid to do my job; the hijab was never a concession –I have it on and its not negotiable. The unspoken etiquette of the business world is handshaking as a business greeting -again not negotiable unless your country dictates otherwise. I am working!!! not looking for a mate; nor wanting to show how “unattractive” I must appear so no one gets the wrong idea… as if!

Business is business – religious worship is worship – and I abide by separation of church and state- so let’s leave my Islam where it belongs – in my private life- and let’s get down to business!


6 Responses to “When being politically correct is insulting…”

  1. 1 basbousa
    August 30, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I know, I do the handshake as well. It’s just business, don’t even think that much about it… ‘

    Haha that “muslim-expert” reminds me of something the other day. Me and some friends, a somali muslim, ethiopian christian and two iranian non muslim sisters were sitting down in a sidewalk café drinking tea and eating seeds (hehe) when an African man in galabiya approached us with some papers… We started reading it out of curiosity, and found that it was about soothsaying and such.. that I don’t believe in anyway. Two seemingly non muslims sat that sat by the table next to us suddently educated us “That stuff is haram”… We were like looking at each other and bursting into laughter… Who are you to tell us what’s haram (first of all, only two of us girls were muslims, and we know that its haram)-… Silly

  2. 2 INAL
    August 30, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Oh dear, you too have your fill of those! Maybe I should post somehting on Muslim and “Muslim experts” who don’t mind their own business…I feel that we as Muslim are obligated to have to Group Think; Group talk; Group act- as if our individuality is not possible. And because its thought not possible, people have to keep telling us what to do…oy!

    Love it when you drop by and chat basbousa, thanks!

  3. 3 basbousa
    August 31, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Hehe you’re welcome, habibty. Love your page

  4. September 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I happened upon your blog via thehijablog and felt like I was reading my own experiences right on the page lol.
    Just the other day I was meeting with my daughter’s pediatrician for the first time. He came in the room and asked me, “Now how do I know if I can shake your hand or not?” And I told him I have no problem with it. But then he went on to elaborate that he’s come across some people who get offended if he shakes their hand so he finds it better to ask. I get so irritated when I find out that the Muslims people like my doctor have had interactions with make such a bad impression.

  5. 5 INAL
    September 6, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Yes, its those actions done in self righteousness that sometimes cross the lines of prudence and end up making things worse for the rest of us…oy!

    Welcome to my blog Mariam! Come again as often as you like!

  6. September 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    lol about non-Muslim “Muslim experts.” I’ve met quite a few of those, and they always make my head explode!
    “Let’s leave my Islam where it belongs–in my person life.” YEAH!

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