Hi. I'm the young muslim girl in the shoe who had so many siblings, she didn't know what to do. I'm also a senior high school student living in a non-Islamic society—which I find to be the greatest struggle (jihad) of my life.
I was recently asked to give a speech in front of a class room full of people who decided to come to the First Nations meeting at my school about Islam, the niqab, my family, and Harper (this happened before the elections had taken place in Canada). One of the things I was asked which I wish I could have answered differently was "What's the hardest thing about being muslim?"
I only had a day's notice before my speech and I had no practice time. What I said was: "Being different. Standing out everyday with no one to walk along side you. If you're different because you're gay or something, that doesn't really show on the outside and nobody really questions it nowadays, anyway. So those people aren't really rejected by society like Muslims are."
After thinking about it, I think what's even harder to deal with, is social exclusion and dealing with the way people treat you. I'm actually half white, born in Canada, English is my first language and I don't speak a different language at home, I don't have an accent whatsoever, and I have pretty much the same culture as everybody else. However, people treat me like I'm a fob sometimes and this one guy actually assumed I was from a middle eastern country that was being bombed, even though I just told him my father was from Malaysia. Another guy assumed that I was Arab because I wore the hijab or khimar and thought that my outfit must too be from the middle East — when I was wearing the most North American outfit I owned. When that had happened to me, a native girl was with me and I told that guy straight out that I was wearing essentially, "white man's clothes". My native friend started laughing her head off! She was holding herself while covering her mouth. After he left, she said, "I can't believe you said that to him! 'White man's clothes!' " I told her I just told him like it was. The same way any other white girl would say that.
Also, people like to give me the once-over, and every time I walk into a room full of people, it's like the record stopped playing.
I've been going to this new school for a semester and a half, and still I don't have a real friend that I can confide in.
Sporadically, I get these series of words that just flood my thoughts and if I don't write them down right away, then I'll forget them. Triggered by strong sentiments of agitation towards the selfish and disrespectful behaviour I face everyday, here is what I came up with:
"So I'm not even human, eh? I have no feelings, dreams, hobbies, or even a mind?
I'm just an empty shell for you to fill up with all your selfish talk, and seen as an exotic zoo animal with no name to my face."
It's amazing how many pointless names I know, yet I find out some of the people I've known for a little bit didn't even know mine. I know their interests, hobbies and who they hang around. But I don't think people know anything about me unless it was from that Islamic presentation I was asked to do or from the daily question my English teacher asks us during attendance. I'm just that Mozlem girl.