Wearing an hijab and being a target

by Sarah Lessard on October 28, 2014 - 4:45pm

 

 

The article Shinning a light on racism is important despite giving perpetrators attention by Terry Elkary posted on the website Global Toronto on October 13th, describes how Munika Abukar has been a victim of racism during her electoral campaign in Toronto against Rob Ford. This woman has arab origins and wears an hijab on her electoral signs. Some of her signs were vandalized close to her office and some people wrote ‘’go back home’’ due to her ethnicity. Ever since the incident occurred, she received many posts on Twitter, almost 4,000, offering support and encouragement. People even started to spread the new hashtag #IStandWithMunika to raise awareness on what happened. Even though she received support from the population, she shared that she was shocked, disappointed and angry, but not for herself but for her parents because they are worried for her. Also, Munika Abukar stated that she does not want to focus on the vandalized signs because she would crave and feed her perpetrators with the attention that they want. An expert in the field believes that it is important to share the racist acts as an important practical purpose.

 

Even though the majority of the people living in Canada strongly believe that their country opens its arms to immigrants, Munika Abukar’s case proves that they are wrong. Racism is present among the Canadian population even though a lot of people deny it. Most of them do not want to be ruled by non-white people and are afraid of what could happen if it were the case. Even though Munika Abukar has an arab name and wears a hijab, it does not mean that she does not share the same values and priorities as any other white Canadian. It also does not mean that she could not be an potential mayoress. The people who wrote ‘’go back home’’ concluded that she comes from another country and that she immigrated here because of her physic but her and her family might be born here. I think that this incident supports the fact that people vote on appearance instead of the promises that politicians make and this has become an important issue in our modern society. She was clearly a victim of radicalization because the ones who vandalized her signs assume that she has different values and her way of seeing the future differs due to her religion. Furthermore, I agree with the reaction that Munika had towards her perpetrators. Giving them attention is what initially drove them to commit that act therefore she does not want to feed them with media’s attention. However, in other hands I disagree because she needs to denunciate those racist acts in order to generate changes in society today. One of the strengths in the article is that it is supported by people with great fame such as Olivia Chow, who is also a candidate in the run to becoming the next mayoress of Toronto. Chow describes this act as unacceptable and she explains that she is proud of her diverse city. Also, there are some references to other well-known people who have been victims of racism. To conclude, I think that this is a strong and well-explained article that supports the fact that even though we think that there is no racism in Canada, there is indeed and it is omnipresent in our modern society. 

 

Reference:

Elkady, T. (2014, October 13). Shinning a light on racism is important, despite giving perpetrators attention. Retrieved October 27, 2014 from http://globalnews.ca/news/1612390/shining-a-light-on-racism-is-important...

Comments

As I was scrolling down the page, your title immediately caught my attention, because I myself wear the hijab, and I tend to be drawn to blog posts that discuss the topic about hijab. I completely agree with you when you addressed how Canadians tend to think that racism simply doesn’t exist in Canada because they believe that our country is accepting of immigrants, that because Canada is so multicultural that everyone here is treated equally. Although I do agree with that statement, I don’t believe it to necessary for her to speak about the situation. Coming from an Arab Muslim background, I can say that speaking about experiences that have to deal with racism, I can surely confirm that it does not help change society. I believe it to be quite pointless to expose those experiences, just last year, my mother who also wears the hijab was physically and verbally harassed in a public place, where a man yelled “go back to your country” and pushed her to the ground. We reported the incident to the police department immediately but they put no effort in identifying the man, not to mention that this incident happened in a department store where security cameras are clearly placed everywhere. Getting back to the point, I don’t believe exposing your experiences with racism and discrimination would do anything because many people will simply ignore of not even care. Personally I’ve come to the point where I don’t really like talking about racism because whenever I do, people pity me, and that’s not the reaction that I want, I want change to happen, I don’t want people’s pity. I understand that it is important to speak about these experiences but I don’t believe it’s for the purpose of changing society but rather bring awareness to society about racism, especially here in Canada as you mentioned. The real question here is what is an effective way of ending racism and discrimination in society?

One of the few titles that caught my eyes, was yours. I come from an Islamic household and I see how the hijab can create problems. I do not personally wear one, but I know some women that do, and they get those mean comments thrown at them. I understand that these slurs are offensive and they do not have their place, but she did sign up to an electoral campaign, she must have known that it was going to come sooner or later. In our class, we talk on how appearance means a lot, specially for women. You mentioned that they judged her because of her ethnicity,but people don't stop there. They must have judged her for being old, or being ugly or any other possible aspect of her exterior. Since the brink of time, people have judged others because of something they didn't like in their appearance. I know that you wish that it didn't exist, but it does. The vandalism wasn't necessary, but the people that did that, weren't to informed about Islamic people. You always hear people saying, and like you said in your post '' go back to your country '', ''all Islams are terrorist'', that's false. Media shows only the bad parts of Islamic people. Just like us, most of them that aren't involved in wars are very nice people. This goes bad to my point, it's not only Islamic people that get these mean slurs thrown at them. Imagine someone that wasn't heterosexual, and was homosexual, he would be getting as much hate or worse from these people. We can't really do anything about it, but try to educate others about it being wrong to hurt others without actually knowing what they're talking about. We can only hope that people can start opening their eyes, and let go of things that define someone because of their exterior. I would like for that day to happen, but as it is, I don't think we will be going anywhere, anytime soon.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/us/maine-democrat-running-for-governor...

In this article, a man named Maine told everyone he was gay, and was wondering why would it matter that he was gay? I think people are simply distant about the thought that a gay man could run as president, or/and governor. Since people find that the heterosexual man/woman is normal.