by Sadie Hamilton
Last week, York University in Toronto, where I study, set up tables in the halls. University approved organizations may use this space for fundraising, recruiting members for their club, or raising awareness.
As I was passing by a table for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association (AMSA), I saw a friend talking to them and checking out their booth. I decided to join her to see what they were promoting. These amazing women were promoting love, tolerance, and freedom, for women in Islam.
We got talking and they asked if I would like to try on a Hijab. I was quite excited, but worried about whether or not that is considered disrespectful, as I am not a Muslim. She reassured me and helped me put it on, letting me keep the beautiful scarf. They asked me to tweet with the hashtag ‘#JeSuisHijabi’, and I decided to wear it for a couple of hours. It made me feel beautiful, empowered, feminine and happy.
I posted a photo of myself on Twitter in solidarity with Muslim women, knowing how important the campaign is to debunk Islamophobic myths.
When I woke up the next morning I found strangers responding hatefully online to my tweet. Death threats, insulting my appearance, intelligence, and attacking Islam in general. I responded to 2-3 of the hateful messages but it just became too overwhelming.
I cannot imagine the harassment, fear, and hate that Muslims must deal with because of this ignorance. For only around a year, I have become more and more aware of the struggles Muslims face in Canada, and other parts of the world. I was not shocked, only saddened by the comments that were made.