Luloah Oum Ngwem: a report on a racist interaction within the Muslim Community

One day I was on a street at Cranves-Sale in France. It’s an area with mixed groups of people but sometimes there are only Muslims. So I was at the bus stop and this group of Muslims who were also there started to give me dirty looks, and I was already certain that it was because I wasn’t the same skin colour.

I was waiting for my bus with my best friend Inayah. I started to say that I was thirsty (this was during ramadhan) and Inayah said “ramadhan is hard in the afternoon”. After she said this,  a girl from the group who were standing at the bus stop asked “oh are you doing ramadhan?”. We replied “yes” and after this they asked “are you doing ramadhan because you’re Muslim?” We replied “yes”. After Inayah said yes I replied “I am also Moroccan”.

It seemed strange for them that I was Moroccan. I told them that even though there are black Moroccans my mother isn’t black, she’s white. It struck them as strange to see a black Moroccan.

They said mockingly, ‘yeah…right, that’s a bit strange, were you adopted?’

I replied ‘well no, my dad is black.’

I’m Moroccan and Cameroonian. I told them its not because I’m black that I must be adopted, my mother is white and there are people who are of mixed race.

They went on to ask me if I was a practising Muslim and I replied yes obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing ramadhan. They told me it wasn’t possible I was practising because I am black, “Muslims have white skin”.

They told me “Moroccans and Algerians have white skin and we don’t know of people with dark skin.”

I told them well this is the first time you’re seeing one. I’m Muslim and I’m practising, I pray, I have an understanding of the religion, I fast. They said “no, that isn’t possible because you’re black.” “You cant be Muslim.”

I told them if it’s causing them a problem then don’t come and talk to me. I told them “you aren’t true Muslims if you are insinuating that I can’t be Muslim because I’m black.”

This isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened to me. 

Note: Luloah Oum Ngwem is only twelve years old.

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