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Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

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Singapore, Singapore
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Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

Hi All,

I’m currently planning a trip to Moscow & St Petersburg in Aug 2012 and came across the whole “racism” watch outs. I’ve done some research and read good experiences from African/Asian descendants. But I also came across several comments where it was mentioned “you’re safe as long as you’re not muslim” or “it’s the middle eastern type that we don’t like”.

Hmmm… Well, I’m a female muslim, wearing head scarf, Asian. I will be doing DIY traveling with my husband, who's also Asian. I traveled quite a lot so I’m used to occasional stares, but anything beyond that would be a concern.

Should I be worried? Any precaution steps I can take to minimize any safety risk? Appreciate your input. Thank you in advance!

Phoenix, Arizona
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1. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

I don't think you will have a problem. But if this concerns you, stay in the main tourist area's if possible, or where there are alot of people. The few skin heads running around will not like to bring attention to themselves in a crowded area. You will be fine. AIM.

Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

Thanks AIM for the reply. Hope things will be fine.

Rochester Hills...
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3. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

One thing we noticed on our recent trip there was that we did not see a single hijab either in Moscow or St. Petersburg. But I think that is not so much that they are anti-Muslim, but just that religion of any type is not hugely apparent there. You don't see the obvious crucifixes being worn that you see in, say, the USA either. We are from the Detroit area of the USA which has a massive Middle-Eastern/Muslim population (largest outside the middle east) so it was something we really noticed. The general population also seemed startlingly more homogenous than in the USA, but then it's simply not such a melting pot of a society.

But...I would venture to say that I wouldn't think you would have any different trouble than anyplace else. And heck, you might experience less flack than wearing a hijab in Paris! One thing we noticed about Russians is that they are very polite. And if you find people giving you little furtive looks on the metro or openly studying you, don't stress out because they did they same thing to my son and myself and we are as white as white can be but still obviously "stood out" as different. I wouldn't expect hostility, simply curiosity from a population that still doesn't see as many visitors as other countries and doesn't travel as widely as other people. We received more than our share of curious looks, but never unfriendly. Even when we were the annoying tourists with our luggage on the metro during rush hour, obviously foreigners, we were graciously gestured here or there by Russians showing us wordlessly where to stand and making way for us and our luggage. These are a very polite and helpful people as a whole, and a very orderly society. People sit quietly on the metro, they line up quietly, never experienced any pushing or shoving. Sure there might be some bad apples, but you'll find that anywhere. Also, there is always (especially in Moscow) a heavy police presence in the metros and in main tourist areas and in central Moscow so if anyone bothered you at all (which I can't imagine) they would be on it quickly to put a stop to it. We had one instance in a far-out Moscow metro station when there was a loud & boisterous group of young males pushing through the metro station (looked different ethnically than the usual Russian) and I kind of thought "Uh oh?" as I would at home here in Detroit, but the police were on them right away and settled them down and separated them for the rest of the riders. I appreciated the police presence!

In Moscow we noticed some people of obviously Asian ancestry, I'm guessing from the far eastern extents of the Soviet Union. There were groups of soldiers that we saw that were 100% Asian (kind of Mongolian looking) so I'm guessing they all hailed from the same geographic area. Look at a map of the former Soviet Union and you will see that it absolutely encompassed "Asian" areas and Asian peoples.

San Jose
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4. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

Polite on the Metro was not at all my experience. Polite in general is just not a way of life there IMO. People are in general very serious and self absorbed compared to other places I've been, including where I live. I had only a few bad experiences and some of people being helpful as well.

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5. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

Hi. As far as i concern, there a malaysian students studying there and most of them that ive known are malays (obviously muslim). I dont think i should be a problem.

6. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

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hochiminh city
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7. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

Perhaps some Asian people while traveling in Western countries are often faced with many things, including racist or discriminatory eye, I think it depends on the opinion of the peopleminorities and I look forward to all ethnic groups in the world in harmony with each other, and indigenous people if you want to developing the country's tourism industry is sure to accomplish that is necessary!

Korolev, Russia
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8. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

20% russian look like asians :)

Denver, Colorado
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for Paris, Denver
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9. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

Lots of muslims, and Asians, in Moscow and most people are accepting - but, as everywhere, there are exceptions and idiots.

I think you got great advice in post #1.

The biggest problem you are likely to encounter is a stare or some mean words - hopefully you won't be dealing with either, but if you do, it is best to not engage and just keep on your way.

New York
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for Moscow
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10. Re: Racism/Safety Risk for Asian with Muslim Clothing?

we did not see a single hijab either in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

********

the longstanding campaign by the Soviet government to activate Muslim women and eliminate hijab has paid off