Charlotte Bibby | Nazrin Pengiran
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Nazrin Pengiran

August 2017


Nazrin is a Malaysian student currying studying for his BSc Computer Science at King’s College in London.


Instagram: @pgnazrin


Click below to scroll through extracts from our interview.


I think most people in the UK would associate a Muslim with a Middle Eastern or a Pakistani or an Indian or Bangladeshi. You don’t really get a lot of my kind of face, the southeast Asian face, so that’s why I wanted to take part in this project. I am ¾ Malay, ¼ Chinese, but I identify myself as Malay because I’m not that much Chinese.


When I came to study here I joined the Islamic Society at King’s and I feel like the attitude of a lot of my Muslim friends here is really different to the attitude of my Muslim friends back home. In Malaysia the majority of people are Muslim whereas here we’re a minority. I never really discussed Islam with my friends because it was sort of a given because most of us grew up Muslim, but here because there aren’t many Muslims I realised that these guys were really concerned with being really good Muslims. . I think since coming here I’ve actually maybe become more active in being Muslim.


I feel like with the lack of religion and faiths and beliefs in the UK, British people are missing out on a lot of stuff, because I come from a country which celebrates practically all the religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam. All the religious holidays are celebrated. Everyone gets a day or two off and people are on the streets celebrating and it’s just so much more alive. And then I come here and it’s like “nawh, there’s not much happening”. Back home we have big markets all over the city and you’d buy a whole bunch of food to break your fast with, and my issue was not being able to get the food that I like here, and of course the hours were far longer than I’m used to. I’m used to just 13 hours from 6 o’clock in the morning up to 7:30 at sunset, like consistent 13 and a half hours, rather than here it was like 19/20 hour fasts. At one point as well, during Ramadan I even felt a bit scared to actually go to the Mosque. I still did go, but I felt a bit worried coming out because that’s when people got attacked.

The internet has definitely added a new platform for people to express how they feel. I’m not saying these people didn’t have those feelings before, but the internet has just given people a platform to expose those views. These things could have been harboured for people for years and years and we just didn’t know it, they’re just expressing themselves now. For me, though, hate speech is a form of free speech, and I think it’s important to let them say it so that we can present the facts to disprove whatever they say. Someone, Inshallah, will prove them wrong. If they keep it bottled up it’s not going to solve anything. Imagine someone who just keeps it all in, imagine if they’ve got kids, then they just spreads their hate onto them. It’s not going to solve anything. It’s not going to get anyone anywhere, it’s just going to make a silent rift between people.


For anybody who’s not Muslim, though, please come and learn about it. At least once a year King’s College Islamic society does a discover Islam week. There are a lot of good brothers and sisters there to ask questions. When you don’t know something the best thing you can do is ask someone. Don’t apologise for being ignorant. Every time someone says “oh I’m sorry for being ignorant”, I’m like “you’re not ignorant you just don’t know, there’s a difference”. There’s a difference between not knowing something and being ignorant because being ignorant has a connotation of just not wanting to know and refusing to learn. So don’t apologise for simply not knowing, just come and learn.