Non-Fiction: Say Hello to my Muslim Friend

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News Article

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Pakistani Canadian Saima S. Hussain took the initiative to commission and edit the stories of 21 Muslim women after a non-Muslim friend and co-worker said Hussain was the only Muslim woman she knew. Shockingly, this was in Mississauga, one of Canada’s most diverse suburbs with a thriving Muslim presence and regular Muslim conferences, festivals and cultural events. The area is even home to a neighbourhood known as Begumpura where thousands of Muslim women live with their children while their husbands work in the Middle East.

Yet, this co-worker of Hussain’s — and perhaps many others — didn’t personally know Muslims or their stories. This could partly explain the fear and distrust most recently exposed in Toronto when dozens of protesters objected to Muslim students being accommodated in vacant schoolrooms for Friday prayers. The hysteria reached fever pitch at a meeting where insults were shouted and people attacked. The police were called to clear the meeting. All this over “reasonable accommodation” mandated by the human rights law of the country and school policy.

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