Thank you Trudeau for humanizing Muslim Woman

Graphic by Fani Hsieh

On Nov. 8, 2016, I did something I don’t normally do: I made a brash Facebook post expressing my disgust for the results of this American election. I genuinely felt hurt that people were voting for someone I found to be a vindictive bully towards women, Muslims, Latinx, LGBTQ+, as well as those living with disabilities.

The next day felt like a cloudy nightmare. I don’t know why I felt far more emotional than I usually did, but there was something extremely disheartening about the fact that there were now going to be over 300 million people in pure pain — whether from internal or external hate.

But there was something shining through the clouds: the support and love from my fellow peers.

Rather than ruminating over the inauguration of he-who-shall-not-be-named, I think it’s best to tame my own sanity by acknowledging what I, a Muslim-Canadian citizen, am thankful for: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

So, Prime Minister Trudeau, as a Canadian-born Muslim woman, I have one thing I desperately need to say to you:

Thank you for humanizing me.

I admit, on the day of our election (which also happened to be my birthday), I made a strategic vote against a government that I felt didn’t allow me to express my own religious freedom and often misinterpreted Islamic contexts.

I will also admit that I am not someone who is politically intelligent: most of the stuff I read was from my Facebook feed, and therefore, while you were not my first choice (of a choice I blatantly did not know how to make), you were the choice that I felt needed to oust that particular way of thinking.

Little did I realize that I was voting for someone whose actions have spoken far louder than his words.

Since elected, you have taken the culture that had been slandered across my television screen for years and allowed the citizens of Canada to learn about its beauty from an unbiased and welcoming point of view.

You’ve  participated and educated others about the month of Ramadan, wished us a great Eid and taught me many other traditions my fellow citizens celebrate that I never learned about in school.

You have allowed countless members of my Muslim family to take refuge in our well-equipped land.

You have encouraged forms of free expressions in love and understanding of those differing in points of view.

However, Islamophobia, homophobia and xenophobia haven’t been totally eradicated since your elect.

Unfortunately, those who have no choice but to fight the battle will need to continue doing so as there are hearts that have not yet been able to accept difference.

But I strongly believe hearts can change for the better and that change starts with someone in power who is willing to embrace the beauty of difference.

In theory, you don’t receive any personal benefit from this. You are what would represent the “majority” in Canada.

This is why your actions have touched my heart in ways beyond what you can imagine and why I will continue to fight my battle valiantly.

Thank you for teaching others that I am a human being.

Thank you, Prime Minister Trudeau. I promise to do my best to be an exemplary Canadian citizen.

I promise not to let the negativity displayed in the press alter my optimism for peace. I promise to make you proud as I venture off to my own journey as a Canadian citizen.

Thank you for being the best birthday present I could ever ask for.

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