Excerpt:

I dressed up in a burka to wander around the streets of Canterbury recently, to see what level of Islamophobic abuse and discrimination I suffered from the infidel locals. This was a groundbreaking piece of campaigning journalism done at the request of the Sun newspaper, which had bought me an XXL black nylon burka just for the job. I still have the burka and wear it on occasions, when nobody else is in the house. It frightens the dog. It yaps and yaps at me, with an uncomfortable expression on its face, exactly the same expression it uses for wasps. Wasps the insects, not Wasps the ruling and oppressive hegemony: it doesn't mind them.

Anyway, the burka thing went OK until the police got involved. Up until that moment, the infidels of Canterbury had done nothing more Islamophobic than look at me funny, a bit like the dog does, and on occasion step out of my way with exaggerated deference as I lumbered along the pavement. So when the patrol car approached and I was asked to identify myself I thought, look, here's a proper story, Muslims can't even walk the streets without being given the once-over by the plod, it's a scandal, etc. I started to make my liberally inclined protestations to the copper and he explained that someone had rung them up saying there was 15-stone transvestite northern bloke in a burka, carrying a bright yellow Prada handbag and stamping around the centre of town on the very day Justin Welby was to be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury, something's going on. I forgot to mention that, the enthronement bit, didn't I? And also the handbag — which I'd thought was the final, utterly convincing touch to my disguise. All about detail, journalism, you see.


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