In the format of a poem I wrote a few months ago
Despite hailing from a country where a ‘Islamic’ organisation attempted a coup and 25 years later some citizens have fear and hatred of Muslims (mainly due to ignorance), I am still thankful and blessed to live in a country where:
- I can walk the streets, parks and malls in my scarf (not as safe as it used to be) without the fear of insults and taunts; of people seeing me as ‘oppressed’, hissing ‘terrorist’ or singing ‘there is a tea-cosy on your head’ or worse yet assaulting me by trying to remove it.
- I can go to my mosque and be allowed entry unlike many masjids in the world who base that rule on a mixture or religion and culture.
- I can pray my Salaah there in the mosque or anywhere without fear. There are many sects yes, but no violence. No suicide bombers or bullies from organizations like ISIS.
- I have a proper home to go to. Not a bombed shell like those homes in Gaza and Syria. I do not suffer from the bitter cold like my sisters do when the harsh winds of winter slices through the tarpaulin tent in a refugee camp in Jordan, Turkey or Europe.
- My neighbours and I live in harmony. They do not steal my land and erect walls and fence us in like livestock.
- I come home to my family and do not live in fear of losing them to militias and secretariat violence or civil warfare. I walk the streets of my neighbourhood without the fear of losing limbs from mines and misfired rockets.
- I can preach and practice my religion out in the open and in public spaces without the fear of persecution. The same cannot be said of even those countries that prescribe to ‘Sharia’ law.
- As a Muslim girl, I have been allowed every opportunity to seek and gain knowledge, even to study abroad. Many of my sisters in the world even here are denied this because of culture and traditions.
- When it is time for my marriage, be it arranged or love, the final choice will be MINE. Not my parents, not my family elders or village council. The same cannot be said for my sisters throughout the world.
- Once that choice has been made, my family will accept him. There will be no honour killings, acid pelting, beating and hangings all under the guise and ruse of ‘Islamic culture’.
- I can seek out a career in my country and go to work wearing my hijab. I can pray my Salaah and even get time off for Jummah if I so desired. Unfortunately, many of my sisters even in sweet Trini aren’t this lucky.
- Finally I am thankful I am Trinbagonian. Whether my ancestors were coerced, bribed or willing undertook that treacherous journey it matters not. Had they not, I may have been another statistic in the mass female infanticide that plagues my ‘homeland’ or may have died from extreme poverty.
I know my words may make here sound ideal but it’s not. There are many issues that need to be addressed, many struggles yet to be overcome and many temptations to resist but for now I’m thankful to God for him allowing me to be a Trini hijabi.