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HP Goblet of Fire Headcanon: Beauxbatons was primarily a Muslim wizarding school.

(photo from livesandliesofwizards, which was the first thing I thought of when I ran into this passage while rereading the Harry Potter books)

(and yes I know the horses drink whisky, which is not exactly halal, sshhh)

Its was french. It s
Was so clearly french.

Literally French. …….

….
.

Because French Muslims do not exist and no Muslims ever speak French and Muslim schools don’t exist in France and if they do they must be really shitty and there are no key Muslim educators in France at all and there’s never been any history of Islamic culture and politics in the Pottermore-confirmed Pyreenes, nooooooo, it is très impossible! Astagfirrulah!

except…NO.

learn some fuckin’ social studies and history and current affairs, people.

I’m down for this headcanon, but please note that the context in which the headscarf thing is said is very much related to emphasizing how cold it is. There’s a passage further on where Hermione snipes that it’s not even that cold and they’re just being whiny lil drama queens. You’d think that Hermione of all people would recognize a Muslim headscarf when she saw one. 

I’m reblogging this because this adds an extra dimension to the headcanon that could make it far more interesting.

What if Hermione didn’t realise that the scarves had religious significance and thus was whining out of unexamined assumptions?

We’ve already seen from the 20,000+ and counting (!!!) reblogs that many people get hung up on “But they’re French!” (or a variation, “but they’re Greek/Italian!”, going by the olive skin description) as some sort of excuse for them not possibly being Muslim one way or another. And this is not coming from right-wing ignoramous types: this is coming from people who are relatively connected to the world, who have some understanding of world issues, but are still stuck to outdated stereotypes.

The idea that Muslims are only ever Arabs and look a certain way is a super common stereotype that infiltrates people of all backgrounds, political persuasions, and beliefs. Just look at how even lefty feminist types sometimes play into “the burqa is oppressive!!” rhetoric because they don’t have nuanced knowledge of the differences in aurat and hijab around the world.

Hell the stereotype plays out even in other Muslim countries! A few people questioned my religious background, and I’ll mention it here because it ties in to my point: I am a child of Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants born and raised in the similarly-Muslim Malaysia. Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, though the country’s concept of Islam is very narrow - Sunni, mostly confined to Malay culture that’s stripped away of “animist/Hindu” influences and peppered with a dash of More-Muslim-Than-Thou Arabic fetishization.

People like my family - Bangladeshis have been specifically named, though this affects any non-Malay Muslim culture - have been denigrated by Islamic clerics in Malaysia for “doing Islam wrong”, simply because we follow a subtly different school. To them, Muslims only look and act a specific way: anything else is unIslamic, fake, parody. Because we don’t fit the stereotype.

I could totally see Hermione having unchecked assumptions and holding such stereotypes about Muslims. England is pretty diverse too, especially with a major South Asian Muslim population - but how exposed would she have been to them during her pre-Hogwarts years? If the Muslim immigrant population there was anything like my Bangladeshi family members who migrated to the UK, they may not have worn the hijab all that much, so it may not have really pinged to Hermione that that’s what they’re wearing.

Also the hijab comes in a ZILLION DIFFERENT FORMS! Each country and culture has their own unique way of wearing a hijab - turban-like, loosely around the head, in a tight circle with an under-cap and specific folds, and so on. If Hermione had met and interacted with Muslims back in England, they may be wearing hijab in a different way than the Southern Europe/North Africa?? students.

We’ve already seen that Hermione tends to assume things pretty quickly without cause: for example, all the times she makes pronouncements of who’s trying to do Harry in (“the Firebolt could have been cursed!!”). Sometimes she’s spot on, sometimes she’s wrong, sometimes she’s partially right. She could be wrong about this too, or at least partially misinformed.

Tying into this is the other big criticism I’ve had of this headcanon, which is “the text already says that they wore headscarves because they were cold”. Firstly, I’m not thick, I recognise that there are practical reasons for wearing scarves that have nothing to do with faith. But also: being Muslim doesn’t erase you being cold. 

What I find more significant about the weather thing, though, is that not all of them are scarved up. Which gives a little hope to the idea that the scarves aren’t just for temperature purposes. The books are written from Harry’s point of view, and he’s not the most reliable narrator either. He might not have known to examine his assumptions about the Beauxbatons students and their outfits. Frankly I’d be surprised if Harry saw any Muslims - or anyone - growing up because of his abusive childhood, so I can see why he’d assume that “headscarves = cold”.

And again, one can be a hijabi AND want to protect their heads from the cold climate! Double duty!

I also wanted to touch on another frequent criticism that I think is actually fair: that I am making a false equivalence between certain physical descriptors and Islam. Specifically, that I’m associating olive skin and beaky noses as being solely Muslim, and that I’m assuming that because their bodies are a certain way that means their faith must be too.

I get that. What would have been more accurate would be to declare that since no character’s actual religious practices are ever portrayed in the Harry Potter books, anybody in the series could be Muslim. Whether devout or lapsed or “Muslim by technicality” (holla) or so on. This also means that we can’t assume that everyone’s Christian by default. For all we know, Dean Thomas could be related to a group of Black Muslims. Who knows? Maybe Harry Potter himself converts to Islam at an old age, because why not.

For what it’s worth, olive skin is super common with South Asians and South East Asians - regions with major Muslim populations. I had them more in mind when I picked out the lines while reading GoF. A few people questioned the picture: as mentioned earlier, it’s in reference to a piece by livesandliesofwizards, which used that exact picture to depict a Beauxbatons student. I’m not trying to say that Muslims must look a certain way (and as someone who grew up being told that our kind “couldn’t be Muslim”, and who now finds herself in a spiritual in-between space, it’s a sore spot) - however, I am finding interesting parts in the story that could allow for alternative interpretations.

I’m also aware that Harry Potter is a work of fiction by one person, written in a place and time period where diverse representation in mainstream YA fiction was barely at its infancy. She may not have wanted to or known how to address a POC/faith-based/diverse/minority/non-dominant school in her work without then having to spend a lot of the book talking about that particular race or religion. She may not have wanted to try and explain how Potterverse magic intersects with Islam - too much theology. Her knowledge might be fledgling.

She does use Muslim names for characters - Qudditch World Cup ref Hassan Mostafa, flying carpet dealer Ali Bashir, the Shafiq family in the Sacred Twenty-Eight. So probably in her mental model Muslims can be wixen just like anyone else can.

I am not saying that this is what J. K. Rowling intended, nor am I commenting on the casting. For all we know, JKR might release a statement tomorrow saying that Beauxbatons is so obviously made up of 99% Scandinavian Scientologists. but this is the beauty of headcanon: it allows us to make alternate realities of familiar worlds, adding possibilities that even the original author couldn’t have conceived of. Playing with the idea of authorship and contributing ideas novel and innovative.

Thank you for your support. I might pause on the reblogging of this, mostly because I am super busy, but feel free to message me. If you do make art/fic/etc out of the Muslim Beauxbatons idea, please let me know (or tag “muslim beauxbatons”).

Also to the person who said that the fact that the horses drink whiskey at a Muslim school could be a running gag: you are a genius.

autisticlynx:

there’s so many parents who don’t recognize that they are abusing their kids 

it is critical that children become aware of abuse from adults and that they recognize what abuse can look like, and that’s why I very strongly believe that schools need to start talking about parental abuse

otherwise, you get people like me who didn’t realize it was abuse until they’re 16-17 and already have PTSD

(Source: disabledlynx)

She can’t walk, right?

Well, rather than build all those crazy ramps and elevators, we just fix people, so that they can become better, and more productive!

» You are awful, and gross! And I was only being polite about your eyes! They are weird! Now you listen to me!

»» Listeners, Steve Carlsberg has just picked up Kevin by his blood-stained lapels.

Oooh! Ooh! Oh!

» You will not change my home town! You will not change my stepbrother! And, Kevin of Desert Bluffs, you will not change, or fix, or do anything at all to my little girl!

»» And– and– and Steve– Steve is carrying him to the open oak door! And– and he just pushed him through into that blinding, awful light!

Oh, smile!

»» And Kevin is gone.

Kevin/Steve Carlsberg/Cecil Baldwin

Welcome to Night Vale

Episode 49 - Old Oak Doors Part B

(via nightvalequotes)

seriousjones:

anyone else feel like they learned too much about volcanoes in school? like, an excessive amount of time was dedicated to volcanoes? volcanoes are cool and all but i can remember learning about volcanoes in some capacity virtually every year of school and i don’t know why. it’s not really pertinent info. is the Big Volcano lobby to blame

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