my body is my own business
My body is my own business
My parent were raised in the Middle East and the political uncertainties, and the insecurity issue made them to move to Canada as economic immigrants, to pursue better opportunities. In Canada, I was born and brought up and currently 21-year-old I have not visited my parents’ home country that is my origin. My father has always been against the idea of me visiting the Middle East although he has been there several times over the years. I have attended the school like any other Canadian child, and I am Canadian by birth, and hence I have enjoyed similar privileges as any Canadian child. There has been a stereotyping and Muslim-phobia going on around the world, and I want to clarify that not all Muslims are terrorist. Whenever a Muslim is spotted whether a male or a female, the next person will always show discomfort. They always expect a Muslim to perform some terrorist activity like suicide bombing, and this breaks my heart. My parents are aware of the situation, but they have always advised me to stay focused on making my life and someday I will be socially accepted according to my expectation.
When I was starting school at a young age, I was not aware of the Muslim stereotyping situation since children would play with me and the situation seemed fine to me. Sometimes children would be called by their parents and warned against playing with me but as a child I would not recognize that kind of discrimination.
In high school, the situation got worse since only Muslim students would identify with me. Unlike me, most of the Muslims at our school had enrolled in our school as the foreign student, and I wondered why I was treated as a foreigner since I was born and brought up in Canada. My accent was Canadian, and some Canadians thought I was just making it up to be socially accepted. I finished high school and went to college.
In college some students would talk to me and wonder why I covered most of my body, they wondered what I was hiding and would not spend much time with me. Just like in high school, my inner circle was made up of Muslims. One day in a group work activity student were to from groups and some student being too paranoid left the group once I joined. The teacher tried to ask them to allow me to join their groups, but all group leaders were reluctant. Two girls Cindy and Claire left their groups and came to me and shouted, “We can form a group with her, and you can join us and remember she is a chemistry genius!” Those two girls changed others perception within a few seconds the group was more than five students, and I was chosen as the group leader. I was happy and to date those two girls are in my inner circle of friends too. I have been socially accepted, and I am so happy although I had to wait for so many years. But as it is said better late than never.
In conclusion, Muslims have been associated with terrorist activities but that is a not a symbolic nature of any Muslim. Being dressed in any way as long I don’t bother anyone and am comfortable with it, it should not be attached to different definitions that have biased interpretation. The acceptance has gained me more confidence and increased my self-esteem.