It’s like the more I read, the more I fear. I look at these posts, and I wonder: who is this? Male or female? Where do they live? Where do they go to school? Do they teach this hatred to their children? Do they spread it, like some wild, uncontrollable disease to their neighbours, friends and families?
And I can’t help but ask, what did I do? At 23, I can say with peace of mind that I have done nothing but contribute to this society. As a Muslim Canadian citizen, I try to achieve the perfect balance between both worlds. I wear my hijab proudly, but I work in their corporations. I pay my zaakah (Islamic tax) but I also pay my government taxes. I have a passport, a SIN, a healthcare card, and a driver’s license. I vote proudly, and I have no doubt in my mind that I am as much a citizen as anyone else. That my claim to this soil and nation is as legitimate as anyone’s ever could be.
Yet, reading in between the lines of those claims I see a fearful defense. And that defense speaks louder than any explicit statement ever could. If I truly were, then why MUST I defend myself so vehemently?
Why am I told to go back to a country I’ve only ever visited? Why is my father called a goat-herder, my husband an oppressor, my brothers uneducated and ignorant? Why is a symbol of my faith and religion, a symbol I wear with the utmost conviction and pride, belittled, shamed, spat upon, and hated? Why is every day a struggle? A jihad against the judgmental eyes, the unspoken words: you will never belong.
In Canada, Jason Kenney declared the face veil a threat. Theft of identity is suddenly a predominant threat in this insignificant minority. And no other solution presented itself to Kenney’s mind other than removal of the obstruction. No measures of respect, consideration or accommodation were offered. Rather, an ultimatum was issued. Assimilate or be gone.
That political maneuver I found hurtful, but not unexpected. The public reaction of overwhelming support for Kenney and hatred towards us, towards this identifiable minority, I find hurtful, shocking and insulting. At first I responded by flooding the forums: first with heartfelt explanations, then defenses, then with a simple declaration “I belong, I am, and I will NOT bow down and change.”
Now, as the hatred continues to pour out I am shaken to my core. I don’t feel safe. I’m choking, choking on the fear and hatred that permeates the very air I breathe.
What is becoming of my nation? What is becoming of the world?