Don’t Hide Your Islam My Muslim Sister

And the turmoil still continues here in North America and around the world, unfortunately.  And like many Muslims, I too say when there’s breaking news, “Please don’t let it be a Muslim.  Please don’t let it be a Muslim.” Sometimes, I struggle between being informed and maintaining my sanity.

12347794_10153897144140572_5147819454704333641_nTo read the news, or not to read the news – that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the heart and mind, to suffer the slings and arrows of the media,
or to be misinformed and stay in la-la land.

And not just my sanity, my heart aches every time I see a senseless loss of a life.  It doesn’t matter where that person’s from, where they live, what social class they’re from, their religion, their ethnicity – it hurts all the same.

I can stick my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening and ignore it all, but ultimately, I also want to be informed.

So now we have, yet again, another Muslim backlash after the San Bernardino shooting due to all the media hysteria.  And now, unfortunately, many Muslim women are being told to hide they’re Muslim, put on hoodies, hats, beanies, etc. instead, not to be out alone, not to be out late at night, and not to be out unnecessarily.

Sorry, but that’s bollocks.  It’s enough already that the media and politicians are telling us to denounce the acts of terrorism of people we don’t even know nor relate to, etc. but now Muslims are telling other Muslims how to dress and behave?   This is outrageous.  Why?  Because by telling a Muslim woman to cover her hijab, you’re giving in to fear and hysteria and playing in the hands of bigots.

It’s kind of like non-Muslim Westerners not eating out at restaurants or going to concerts anymore because they’re afraid of possible terrorist attacks.

Or black men either hiding their blackness or just not walking anywhere where police officers are.

Will some Muslim women be targeted?  Yes, it’s the unfortunately reality.  But don’t give in to this fear mongering.

While Muslim women should be told to be vigilant and exercise precautions, please and I say again, please don’t tell Muslim women to cover their hijab out of fear with hats, beanies, hoodies and whatever else.

But instead, tell them to be themselves, the same person they were before all these hate crimes against Muslims were happening. Tell them not to stop living their lives and allow fear to overtake them. Tell them to take pride in their religion, not hide it, and be unapologetically Muslim.

By hiding our Islam, we’re giving into bigots, by letting them take pieces of us. If we do that, then they win. Don’t allow these ignorant people filled with hatred intimidate us and instil fear in our hearts. We should put our trust and faith in God and remember that nothing can harm us unless it was already written to happen.

If anything, we should be better Muslims and reach out to our neighbours and communities. Show them what Islam is. Be a part of our greater community and show them that Islam is not what the media portrays it to be, but truly a religion of justice, tolerance, acceptance and peace. Show them through our actions.

Don’t hide your Islam.

And if you’re experience of being a ‘hijabi’ is like mine, then you know that wearing a hijab is actually one of the best ways to outreach to others. Because yes, they see the hijab as a symbol of Islam and come and ask questions. You might be talking to one person. But that person has a family, they have colleagues, they have friends. This is how to win over people and stop prejudice; through education. Don’t give into fear and be proud of the Muslimah you are.

Stand up tall my sister, and don’t let hate and fear stop you from being you, and wearing your hijab.

 

How to Survive ‘Assholes’ at Work

A-holes

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A couple of weeks ago, I had this long discussion with a good friend and former colleague of mine about what we’ve learned about working at our various places in our lives – you know, the bad ones that just make you irk thinking of them – the office politics that just make your head spin (from gossip, to rivalry, envy, power plays and struggles, etc.) and the sheer ignorance, stupidity at times, and lack of professionalism.

We were naive to think that people were just like us, all coming from a similar paradigm of mutual respect, sharing the same viewing lens where you treat everyone how you’d want to be treated. Indeed, we were in la la land, singing and dancing away with the birds with an ear to ear smile on our faces until we came across a-holes** who thought they could bully and demean others by subjugating their subordinates to condescending remarks, abuse, dishonesty and erratic dealings.  And the not-so-obvious ones with their passive aggressiveness, who played your friend, putting on an innocent puppy-eyed display meanwhile sabotaging you and character-assassinating you every chance they got. The harsh reality then just smacked us on our faces and every bubble of wishful thinking and benefit of the doubt dissipated because these a-holes didn’t share the same virtues of mutual respect and honesty that we did. So then, our work life became one of those before and after moments. We were now informed people and decided – never again! As the good ole saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

It was quite an interesting, entertaining, and enlightening discussion indeed. So I figured, why not write up a list here and share it with you all, hoping perhaps, that you could learn a thing or two, protecting yourself from being abused, fooled, or taken advantage of by an a-hole.

First, there are two things you need to always keep in mind:

  1. Work is a battlefield – work politics never stop, it’s everywhere – unfortunately. :(;(
  2. You’re manager, ya, that one… he/she is most likely a narcissist. Statistics hold that most managers are more likely to have many aspects of narcissism in them. Bummer – I know.

Now, knowing the above, here’s a list of things you may want to follow to maintain your sanity:

  1. Never, ever EVER show your employer what you’re fully capable of doing. Unless of course, you’re working with the owner, and they’ll appreciate it. If not, what most likely happens, what you’ve done is now added to your list of tasks, and guess what? No bonuses or pay raises come your way, cause you’re now seen as the office *cough*  ‘hoe’.
  2. Complete the tasks that are part of your job description (you know, the ones outlined under job responsibilities and duties), and that’s about it. If you do anything more, you risk getting yourself at the receiving end of professional envy from fellow coworkers (totally not cool), or worse yet, your superiors think you’re stepping on their toes and trying to outsmart or outshine them. Just don’t do it. If you’re like me and it gives you pleasure to help out, offer your coworkers rides, pay for their coffee, etc. – don’t do their work!
  3. Don’t tell your employers how they can improve the company. You’re not the HR manager, and they’ll most likely only see you as a complainer, or someone trying to climb that ladder. If you insist on being a ‘fixer’, then you’ll have to concoct a plan where you make them think that it’s their idea. You just won’t get any credit. Joy! 🙂
  4. Avoid work politics like the plague. When your colleagues are complaining about the employers, don’t join in, nor sit there and listen. Try to change the topic or just smile, make an excuse and leave. Just because people are spilling their guts in this huddle, doesn’t mean that one of them won’t approach your employers and spill the beans, even if they made worse remarks than you or others. Stay above it all.
  5. Be the office ‘bitch’. Now listen carefully… You’re either going to be the office bitch, or the one that’s constantly being bitch-slapped. You decide which one you’re going to be. So, if you decide on being the former, be a straight arrow. Speak up and let your employers know when you have a problem (diplomatically and when appropriate of course), let people know when their stepping over your lines and boundaries, and don’t take no BS from anyone. You’re an employee not a slave.
  6. Document Stuff. You know those annoying people who send out complaints to your manager CCing you without even contacting you first and stuff? You gotta be prepared to combat them – mortally. Be proactive and make sure you have everything well documented, in writing. If you were given oral instructions, send them a quick email after the conversation confirming what you just discussed, being sure to include the time and date. If it makes you feel any better, make them think  you just want to make sure you understood correctly. Why? Unfortunately, some people come from a scarcity mentality where they think they have to play games like this and outshine others in order to succeed. They seem to think opportunities are scarce and that there’s not enough for everyone. Just don’t let them get ahead at your expense.
  7. Smile and continue being your natural friendly self, be assertive, pleasant, and professional, and most importantly, get your work done.

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*     This is a repost from a post on my blog on August 28, 2013.

**  I don’t usually use profanity, but some words carry more of a meaning; you’d have to read Robert Sutton’s “No Asshole Rule” and Sherry Argov’s “Why men Marry Bitches’ books to understand.

The Cost of Greatness is Responsibility

ImageWinston Churchill once said,
“The price of greatness is responsibility”,
His words could not be any truer,
For with greatness, comes accountability,
Which inadvertently leads to responsibility,
Not just for yourself, but for others,
For those whom you love, and who love you,
For those who look up to you,
As well as those green in envy,
Who could only wish to be more like you,
A heavy load it is to shoulder,
An everlasting sense of liability,
For every word which departs between your lips,
For every action of your limbs,
For every time your efforts fail you,
And when your intentions are misconstrued,
So long as the sun rises from the east,
And night follows the day,
You are held responsible,
A burden you must shoulder with a smile,
A burden which is accompanied by stress,
Sleepless nights and worrying,
Heartaches and loss of appetite,
Wrinkles and grey streaks,
But always remember your efforts,
Are not futile but an object of awe,
For only those with great strength can grip,
The hot handles of responsibility,
And know that you have been honored,
With a task only made for the great,
And whenever you feel alone,
Know that you are not,
For your efforts with the right intention,
And a humble heart filled with humility,
Are counted by the Ever-Watchful.

Childhood

IImage awake by the sound of birds chirping at my window
The light glittering into my room, blinding my eyes
As I lay in bed, taking pleasure in the moment
I can’t help but remember the good old days

Of innocence and joy, a sense of security
Lacking accountability, and responsibility
Every moment, lasting a lifetime
Tomorrow always centuries away

Sounds filling the air with colourful laughter
Warm smiles defying the faults of life
Limpid eyes watching in fascination
With no measure of the realities of time

As I smell the sweet summer air,
A fragrance that I forget not dare,
Of days of innocence and purity,
For days like these, are counted.

Lost Soul

ImageSomewhere beneath that hard shell,
Lies an empty vulnerable core,
In much despair, with no sense of way,
Only time and honesty can help them ashore,

No weaknesses seep through,
Strength and endurance is only displayed,
If one only knew what lay underneath,
In shock and disbelief, they’d be dismayed,

Life is merely a whimsical front,
To mask their low self-identity,
A way of survival and masquerade,
A deceitful sense of reality,

But deep down underneath,
Lies a helpless sensation of confusion,
In the shadows of darkness,
Covered in their own delusion.

Children of Misfortune

ImageIn a terrain of loneliness and disparity,
Dreams are often denied,
Where life is but a narrow window
Opportunities, seldom seeping through

Raped at birth of the necessities of life,
Tormented minds scouring for hope,
Desperate hearts longing for comfort,
Living life the only way one could,

As the hands of time turn,
At its slow but sure pace,
Nothing to gain, only pain,
No relief, only grief…

Opportunities are shattered, 
Destroying anything that ever mattered,
Despite all this anguish and adversity,
Hope leers, managing to let out a smile…

A beam of light shines through the window,
A warm breeze brings in a fragrance, comforting the mind,
The gentle swaying of the trees bring in a new tune,
Putting an end to the flow of endless streams,

With each breath, faith is strengthened,
Filling the heart with the will and desire to survive,
The vibrant seeds of ambition and perseverance are sown,
The sweet taste of sanguinity now filling the air.

 

 

Bullying – After the Fact

ImageWe were there when it happened,
The name-calling, the stalking,
The slandering, the backbiting,
We saw the tears, we felt the pain,
But we remained silent in shame.

While they jeered and made fun of you,
We stood there, smiling and laughing,
We may not have said those words,
But we helped make your life a living hell,

Passively assisting them in your torment,
By being there, we encouraged them,
By remaining silent, we supported them
We were their applause, their shot of adrenalin.

We did not stand up to defend you,
Nor did we turn around and walk away,
We stood cowardly as they continued their teasing.
Ghostly watching as it snowballed, day after day.

There was a terrible pain I couldn’t express.
Because we continued to remain silent,
Standing, watching, and laughing, with a phony grin,
We let it happen because we didn’t have the gall.

We may not have pulled the trigger,
Nor said words to hurt you,
But we contributed to your death,
By being there and remaining silent.

(This goes out to all those people who remain quiet while someone else is being oppressed, bullied or mistreated in any way, whether it’s at home, at school, or in the work place…)