Half ‘Asian’/ Half ‘Arab’: Reckoning with my Arab-Muslimness

Photo by: Jenny Jay

السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ‎‎

“Assalamualaikum,” Baba said as he rolled down his car window. We were driving in our neighbourhood by 700 Horizon Drive when I pointed out the Black boy walking with his mom pushing his little sister on a stroller.

الله يرحمها

I immediately rushed to Baba’s store to break the news to our family. Faris was flying out of Alberta to Sudan and was transiting in Pearson along the way. After teaching my evening classes, Hasan drove Mak and I to Pearson to catch Faris on his transit.

Faris, Hasan and I at Pearson International Airport / 2018


Read (seek knowledge) Jibril (Gabriel) revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

“We are Palestinian. We don’t have a home but we have heart,” Baba said on our last visit to Gaza.

Baba keeps a tab for his some customers who’s cash comes from social assistance. Most pay off their tab when their checks come in. On occasion, Baba takes the hit for unpaid receipts. I once told him to stop having tabs and he responded: اعمل خير وارميه في البحر

Do good things and throw it in the sea.

“They’re struggling. They answer to Allah, not to me”.

I am, after all, the Executive Director of the London School of Racialized Leaders not the London School of Diversity Hires.

Where is the urgency and attention to advocate on behalf of a Black Muslim Woman being brutalized by agents of the state, have her hijab ripped off, denied food and her insulin, and wrongfully charged for trying the breathe.

The self-declared human rights advocate was unsurprisingly silent about Rowa’s violation of human rights but was a spokesperson for the subsequent islamophobic events.

How many of us, Arab Muslims, were posting about George Floyd but quiet about this exact instance with the exception that she actually lived and was punished for exercising the necessary means to do so.

How many of us, Arab Muslims, circulated #GeorgeFloyd because it was the social expectation to do so?

Arab Muslims: Are we advocating for human dignity? Or, is our advocacy driven by our exclusion from accessing the white privilege VIP package?



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Sarah Barzak

Sarah Barzak

Born in Milwaukee, raised in Canada, I am Kak Long, an eldest immigrant daughter of Malay-Palestinian descent. Cultural Critic & Producer @sarah.barzak on IG