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  • Yasmin Khan

Articulate, insightful, beautiful!

Our youngest shared a friend’s Facebook post with us yesterday. It stands well enough on its own without any commentary from me… other than to say… articulate, insightful, beautiful! Here it is in its entirety: The other day, I had a weird encounter with an individual. And it made me feel like I don’t belong in the country I was born in. The country I call home. Canada. I was bagging her items and she was like what did you buy for your Christmas gifts? And I’m like “we actually don’t celebrate Christmas, we celebrate something called Eid, and we get a lot of gifts and money during that time.” I was super enthusiastic thinking I was going to have an open minded conversation with this lady. Instead, she asked “what did you say? That sounds so weird!” I repeated myself saying “Eid”. She said “that isn’t very Canadian of you”. And I’m like “Sorry?” And she replied saying “so what do you celebrate and what does it signify? So I explained to her the concept of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha with the hope of having an open minded convo again. She then was like “that’s really messed up. I don’t understand how you’re here. Goodbye... or wait you know what? Merry Christmas” I smiled and replied I hope your Christmas is amazing. Now, after she left, I could literally feel my heart in my stomach. What just happened? I was quiet. I didn’t reply to her comments. Now some people were like why didn’t you say anything? I mean, how could have I said something? I never knew what to do. I’m NOT ashamed of who I am. I think about it now and for me, my silence and my smile were my message to her. I was really hurt. Like my stomach was in a knot. It’s always been hard for me to work in retail because of my identity as a Hijabi Muslim. People would say weird things indirectly, but no one ever told me I did not belong here. But, I let it go. I let it go because maybe somewhere or sometime in my life, I demonstrated a closed-mind. Right now, I wish her the best in life. And I pray that she sees the light of diversity. After the whole thing, someone came up to me complimenting my smile. And that made my day. I didn’t feel sick to my stomach anymore. My point is: be careful with your words. We all believe in different things. We come from different races. We have different gender identities. We practice different religions. WHO CARES! What bad will come into your life for being nice to an individual? The light of these celebrations- Eid, Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, and many others- is to spread joy, happiness and love. What harm will come to you or me if we spread these acts of kindness to one another disregarding religion, race, and gender? One more thing: Not celebrating Christmas does not make me less of a Canadian. However, not celebrating the concept of diversity, peace, and acceptance does make me less of a Canadian. I know and I hope I’m as Canadian as I can be. Happy Holidays

Yasmin Khan

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