Saima S. Hussain. Ferrukh Faruqui. Munirah Maclean. Hanan Abdulmalik. What do all of these women have in common? They are all inspirational women who are unapologetically Muslim and unapologetically Canadian.
Gracefully poised across a stage, these women gathered in front of a crowded audience on Sunday to share their journeys of what it means to be a Muslim woman in Canada. They reflected on the stereotypes Muslim woman face on a day-to-day basis and the need for recognition of the diversity found within the group. For example, some Muslim women choose to be professionals, while others choose to be homemakers. Some Muslim women wear jeans, while others choose to don the abaya. Some have roots in East Asia, others hail from North Africa.
Claiming their personal narrative, each of these Muslimahs shared their story of how they have grown up to be very much Muslim and very much Canadian. Hanan reflected on the "perceived" versus "imposed" identity of being a Muslimah and the identity politics she faced navigating different spaces as a Black, Muslim-Canadian. Munirah spoke of her spiritual journey as a British-born convert who moved to Canada after meeting the love of her life. Ferrukh spoke about how Islam is reflected in her profession as a medical doctor.
The diversity of these Muslim women, and the stories of many more women profiled in the collection The Muslimah who fell to Earth: Personal Stories by Canadian Muslim Women (edited by Saima S Hussain), is very much reflective of the diversity found within the mosaic of Canada’s population. To the attendees of this panel discussion, nothing seemed more quintessentially Canadian than an event with a group of Muslims being warmly hosted in the heart of Christ Church Cathedral; how wonderfully and unapologetically Canadian.