Sunday 10 November 2013

Do Islamists swim?

I go swimming most Sunday evenings; there's a very chatty gentleman that goes too. He is Asian and has a very long beard, but always wears a swim cap, which I find a bit paradoxical. He's very friendly and will chat to just about anybody between lengths.

A couple of weeks ago we were both resting in the deep end at the same time and I commented that he had changed his usual white swim cap for a black one. "Oh, yes!" he replied, "but I have the white one in my bag - it is a spare. I bought the new black one because the white one makes me stand out, you know. I am a Muslim, but there are certain Muslims who like to wear white hats like this and I don't want anybody to think I am that kind of Muslim."

He then proceeded to tell me a very amusing story about how he'd come swimming once without trunks and had to buy a pair, but found them much too tight and uncomfortable, only to discover, at the end of the class, that they were a child size M. He really is very pleasant.

It did make me think a bit, though - about the white swim cap. Does anybody look at Asian men swimming in the pool and wonder if they might be Islamists? I mean, presumably between all that jihad and bomb research they must like to get out for some leisure; and if it becomes the case, as predicted by a man on Radio 4 this week, that the council put sensors in the sewers to test for bomb-making chemicals, then washing it all off at the pool might become the best idea.

I do feel a bit sad for him though, that he even had to think about it when choosing a swim cap. Hopefully he was only joking.

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