She Had a Passing Friendship With a Co-Worker at a Big Company, but When He Realized She Was Muslim, He Accused Her of Misleading Him

A Muslim woman recently wrote to an online forum to ask for advice after a co-worker mistook her for a French woman and then accused her of leading him on. Here’s what she had to say.

Muslim woman

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The woman wrote, “I am Muslim. I never hid this fact; it is something I talk about casually when mentioning holidays or my childhood growing up overseas.”

Hard to tell

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“However, if you don’t hear me say that I’m Muslim, it’s usually hard for the average American to guess as I don’t wear hijab,” she added. “I’m very white-passing. I’m a natural blond; I’m pale, I have a slight French accent, and I speak French fluently.”

American South

They Belong At Home
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The woman lives in the South. She uses French a lot for her job. As a result, people often think she is French-European, though she corrects them when they make the assumption.

Big company

Treats People With No Power With Dignity and Respect
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The woman works for a large company. One of her colleagues is a 27-year-old guy called Joey. He works in a different department, so they don’t see each other too often.

Nice guy

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Their interactions are brief and jokey. She wasn’t sure if he had a crush on her or if he was just a nice guy.

Bazaar interaction

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One day at work, the woman was telling her friends a funny story that happened to her in a bazaar when she was young. Joey overheard the story and asked her if she traveled a lot around Europe when she was younger.

Common mistake

Mocking The Achievements Of Others
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The woman laughed because it was another case of someone misunderstanding her heritage. She informed him that she was from North Africa and that the bazaar was near where she grew up.

Stunned reaction

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Joey was very surprised. His eyes bugged in disbelief, and he said, “Wait, what? You’re Islamic?”

Religious confirmation

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The woman confirmed that she was indeed a Muslim. She asked Joey if he hadn’t realized.

Strange reasons

Always Say How You Feel
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Joey confirmed that he had no idea and followed up to say that he would never have wasted his time talking to her because he believed Muslim women would not date “white guys.”

Difficult situation

Setting Boundaries
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The woman told Joey that she did not date anyone at the moment. However, some of her colleagues have suggested that she strung him along.

Did she act correctly?

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The woman could not understand what all the fuss was about. She hadn’t tried to mislead Joey in any way. She reached out to an online forum to ask if she should have been more upfront.

The internet responded

Social Spamming
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One poster said, “In fact, his comments could be construed as workplace harassment since he basically just admitted in front of everyone that he was only being nice to get in your pants. Definitely go to HR and tell them what happened. This needs to get on the record.”

While another commenter declared, “You didn’t go out of your way to spend time with him; from what I can tell, you were simply friendly when you did run into one another. Someone else’s misunderstanding is not your issue.”

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