If there was a Santa


If Santa Claus were ever to pay me a visit and grant me a wish, I would reply with one word: respect.

I would wish that society at large would show some respect toward me and my faith.

I am judged negatively whenever someone of my faith is accused of committing a crime.

I am viewed as an enemy within, a home-grown fanatic whom everyone should guard against.

I am harassed at the boarding gate when I leave the country, as if I was going to an Al Qaeda convention.

I am also bullied by the customs and immigration officers when I come back home, as if I don't belong here.

I am pulled aside for extra inspections, as if I was carrying instructions on making weapons of mass destruction.

I am told repeatedly to tell the real truth about what I am bringing with me that I have not declared.

When a crime occurs where a Muslim is the primary suspect, I am asked to issue a statement in the strongest possible terms against terrorism and to dissociate myself from the crime. Whatever language I use in my denunciation, I am told is not enough and I must do more.

On the day after the crime, the headline reads: "Moderate Muslims Fail To Speak Up," even though I have spoken and have condemned the crime.

When I try to access my own money, the bank teller reminds me of the seriousness of money laundering.

A bank supervisor recently alleged that my signature did not match the signature they had in my file. I emptied my wallet and showed all my identifications, to no avail.

Although I have lived in Canada for more than a decade and have been working hard to pay taxes and make ends meet, I am still viewed as a foreigner who belongs somewhere else.
A colleague at the airport where I work asked me recently, "Why did you choose Canada, a Christian country, and did not go to your own people instead?"

Another coworker said the other day that she cannot tolerate seeing Muslim women covering up. "I feel the urge to remove the piece of rag by force," she said. "Why in the world would she hide her beauty?" she added.

Another airline employee suggested that we should stop Muslim women from entering the country if they choose to wear the hijab.

I cried like a child when a friend said that the only way the world can solve the problem of terrorism is to nuke the Muslim world. Only then will the planet live in real peace, he said.

It is deeply troubling to see how Muslims are treated in society. 

While I was having dinner at work, my colleagues next to me were discussing the tragic killing of a Sikh man in the United States, right after Sept. 11, who was thought to be a Muslim. One of the people involved in the conversation blamed the murderer for not doing his homework in making sure that the person he was targeting was a real Muslim. 

The people in the cafeteria did not find the statement troubling and they all laughed approvingly.

We are reminded - again and again - that freedom of expression has limits. But when the same freedom involves the dehumanization of Muslims, it has no limit.

I don't think I am asking too much if I expect some respect from my fellow countrymen.

I might have some lunatics in my midst but who doesn't? If Christians are not held responsible for the death and destruction their co-religionist George W. Bush caused in Iraq, why should I be held responsible for the acts of a few mad men who might create mayhem in the name of my faith?

 

Abubakar N. Kasim is a freelance writer based in Toronto.


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  4 Comments   Comment

  1. Sayeed Ahsan from Bangladesh

    Jazakallah Khair, Bro. I do not think we need to prove to these ignorant pepole. There are two clear paths today. One is seeking for the truth and the other one is love of this world.Thats why the truth has become a laughing stock for these ignorant. Let them laugh for a while as Allah has promised in the Quran. Allah has plan for these people, comming soonar than they think.

  2. Alfonso from USA

    Assalamu alaykum brothers,

    My only comment is: Santa granting you a wish? What are you talking about? We are Muslim.

  3. Tasneem from USA

    I understand your feelings but on the other hand

    I am grateful because I am a better Muslim as adversity brings the best out of me and every negative comment..I become better and not bitter..as I love being what I am and I hope through my actions, I can show everyone I can still love and I forgive them.

  4. alaisa mukasa from Uganda

    I hear you brother. It is so unfair how we are judged because of a few people who commit crimes in the name of Islam. My solution is; whenever a person makes a rude/snide/ignorant comment about our way of life as Muslims, i educate them to the best of my abilities and urge them to seek knowledge lest they appear so ignorant. It works for me:-)!