It’s like the …

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?

 

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6 Comments

December 17, 2011 · 2:39 pm

6 responses to “It’s like the …

  1. I think the issue is how uncomfortable one is with modesty in the era of rampant promiscuity. With such vocal violence against hijab one is left to defend the truth, which is in complete contrast to what is being forced down our throats by alleged ‘liberators’.

    • Very well said! I completely agree about the contrast between our modesty and the so-called liberators who seek to free us from our ‘oppression.’ But I wonder if it’s our modesty that threatens them or our otherness. I’m more inclined to believe that its the latter; The fact that the media’s brush has painted us red draws their hatred and fear. I don’t blame them for their uncertainty in the world we live in today. I blame them for their blind hatred, accusations, and unacceptance.

      Welcome to the blog btw… I’ll be checking out yours; your history page is so intriguing!

  2. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Tim.1:7)

    and remember as David said that God is our rock and our fortress. We should not fear what humans can do to us. I don’t mean to sound trite because I know fear is real. Just trying to encourage you. Sorry for your struggles. “Overcome evil with good.” These are things I have to remind myself of…hope you don’t mind them as well.

    • Of course not! On the contrary, that’s the message that gives me strength each and every day. I have not lost faith in humanity, but I will say that after this particular incident I felt I was living a lie of sorts. I really believed that, in this day and age, I belonged here, you know? But the public support of Kenney’s discriminatory move and the fear and hatred that poured out against my religion and my beliefs shook me. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet and I was left on unstable, unfamiliar ground. Even after 9/11, I didn’t feel this sort of targeted hate.

      Regardless, I will continue to try. I truly believe that the morals religion instills in us, overcoming good with evil, turning the other cheek, forgiveness and empathy, all these things will, hopefully, turn the hearts of others. Not towards a religion lol, don’t get me wrong. But towards acceptance and unity.

      And thanks =)

  3. I remember the first day I wore hijab post 9-11. I got on the subway in NYC and an older couple visiting from outside NY gave up a seat for me. They were friendly and chatty (two things you never find in NYC). The man that I bought my tea from every morning came around and told me how proud he was of me and how I inspired him to turn back to Islam. Professors and my fellow peers all congratulated me. I took these as signs from Allah (swt). My fear vanished.

    A few days later I was tested. A man began to scream on a NYC block, “Terrorist, terrorist, terrorist!” I began to look all over for the terrorist when I suddenly realized he was pointing at me. And then, a man in a business suit walked by me while I was chatting away on my cell and said, “Who are you talking to? Osama.”

    Both times and all the other times, I would smile through all of the anger, fear, disgust racing through my body. I would imagine the smiling faces of the elderly couple and all others that welcomed me to hijab. I would remember that behind these smiles was Allah (swt) Insha’Allah smiling at me. In that moment, I would pray for them to be given hidayah and I would force myself to walk away without hate or ill-will. The strongest weapon of a believer is du’a.

    • MashaAllah, that’s a wonderful way to look at it! And I’m sorry you had to face that. I must say, I was hardly touched by the aftermath of 9/11. Then again, I wasn’t an identifiable Muslim before then, either, as I had JUST started to wear my hijab and get out and about when it occurred.

      But mashaAllah, I believe it is the greatest gift that we have from Allah, and I have made a lot of dua’a since, for both sides. Jazaki Allah khair for the reminder =)

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