My husband and I recently took our daughter and a dozen of her friends to the movies. It was a children's movie matinée. Our group took up an entire row in the theatre and so I sat right in front of them. A few minutes before the show began, a visible minority family walked in and sat next to me, one seat down. The lights dimmed and the previews started. We were off to a great start. The kids sat behind us munching on their popcorn, slurping their drinks, eager to see the movie start.
A couple of our boys started slurping their drinks a little louder (which is what is likely to happen with a bunch of eight and nine year olds). I looked back a couple of times and asked them to keep it down as we didn't want to disturb anyone else. The woman sitting beside me however thought it alright to turn around and tell my group of kids: "YOU ARE SO ANNOYING." While this was rude and uncalled for (there were kinder ways to ask kids to quiet down), I did not say anything to her, but rather smiled at the boys and asked them to keep it down.
This woman then proceeded to use her cellphone for the following 20 minutes. When I leaned over and asked her to please put it away as it was very bright, she started yelling and swearing at me. She called me an F'ing racist and that my kids needed to learn their manners. Which, if nothing else, was ironic (I'm guessing she didn't get a good look at me because it was dark). When she continued using profanity at me and my group I went and got a theatre manager. When I returned she continued to use profanity for "ratting her out." After an exchange with theatre management her husband (who had been relatively quiet until this point) started yelling that his wife did nothing wrong and this *itch (me) was causing the trouble.
The managers stepped in and asked the couple (with their roughly three-year-old daughter) to leave the theatre. I moved to the side but not before she AND her husband yelled at me in the crowded theatre and called me an F'ing TERRORIST repeatedly. I slumped down in my seat when they left the room and I felt my body shake. I looked back at the kids who were staring ahead at the screen. None of them made eye contact with me. I wasn't sure how much they had heard or if they were just trying to be polite and not comment on what had just happened. While I maintained my calm for the sake of my daughter and her friends, I cannot get the incident out of my mind.
I had thought to keep this to myself. I had thought to just let it go but the fact is, I live in the province and country where I was born and I am proud. This is my home. I speak up for those who have experienced racism and hatred. I speak up now because I stayed silent for my daughter. I stayed silent out of respect for her friends who only wanted to enjoy an afternoon of fun. But right now, I write. I write because it is NEVER alright to call someone a F'ing terrorist unless they have just killed or terrorized people. The same way we would never dare to use the N word or attack people of the Jewish faith.
I write because I am tired of walking on eggshells. I get it. There's a lot of politics out there. There are some genuinely bad Muslims. The same way there are genuinely bad Christians, Atheists, and the list goes on. To throw an entire race or religion under one hateful umbrella of a word is unacceptable. Some of my closest friends are Mormon, Jewish and Atheists. Their faith plays little part in our friendship. If anything it encourages us to get to know one another, to share baked goods on our holidays and teach our kids what it means to live in a pluralistic society. To teach our kids that a persons faith or the colour of their skin does not make them any better or worse than anyone else. That it is their character and how they are with others that makes them a good person.
Does the colour of my skin or the fact that I wear a piece of cloth on my head make it alright to lambaste me in public in front of my child and her friends?
While I am cognizant that this woman and her husband do not represent an entire race, I write this because this happens all too often. Religious and visible minorities experience racism, hatred and vile comments such as this more often than you might care to think. I write this because the next time someone of a different faith, culture or skin colour than you ticks you off, choose another adjective to express yourself. It is NEVER alright to call someone an F'ing Terrorist.
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Muhammad's death sets off a succession crisis. The dispute will eventually widen into a full-blown schism between groups known as Sunnis and Shiites. (Photo: A Muslim woman prays in the courtyard of the Prophet Muhammad Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Medina on Nov. 13, 2009. Muhammad is buried in Medina's landmark mosque, which is Islam's second holiest shrine after Mecca.)
The revelations voiced by Muhammad are systematically written down for the first time. Several supposedly aberrant versions of the Quran are then incinerated on the orders of Caliph Uthman. (Photo: A Pakistani girl reads verses from the Quran while attending her daily madrassa, or Islamic school, set up in a local mosque on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, April 11, 2012.)
Revolutionaries overthrow the dynasty that has come to control the Muslim world, in the hope of restoring perfect Islamic justice on earth. Another dynasty assumes power instead. The caliphate's center of gravity shifts from Damascus to a purpose-built capital known as 'the City of Peace' - or Baghdad. (Photo: Iraqi worshippers perform their Friday prayers in a mosque in Baghdad's Shiite suburb of Sadr City on May 4, 2012.)
Caliphs in search of political legitimacy encourage scholars based around Medina and Baghdad to develop legal principles to supplement the Quran's very limited number of rules. The scholars oblige, drawing on sources ranging from Arab tradition and Persian custom to Greek philosophy. (Photo: An Indonesian Muslim student reads from an academic religious book in an Islamic course at Al-Azhar mosque in the old city of Cairo on Dec. 4, 2011. Al-Azhar mosque, which was developed into one of the oldest Islamic universities, pays special attention to the Quranic sciences and traditions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and all the modern fields of science.)
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The Ottomans capture Constantinople. Successive sultans assert control over their expanding empire by trying to summarize God's law in statutory form - an innovation that early Muslims would have considered heretical. (Photo: Mehmed II entering Constantinople.)
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A clan known as the Saudis seize control of the Arabian peninsula after a brutal civil war. Its leaders allow religious scholars to enforce a particularly harsh brand of Islamic law. (Photo: Saudi women stand outside a gift shop on Feb. 14, 2012 in the capital Riyadh, where open celebration of Valentine's Day is officially banned along with the desert kingdom's strict Islamic laws.)
Colonel Gaddafi becomes the first ruler since Ottoman times to enact statutes authorizing the punishment of Islamic crimes. A coup in Pakistan, a revolution in Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan kick off an era of radicalization that will mean he is not the last. (Photo: President Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt (right) with the Leader of the Libyan Revolution, Muammar al-Gaddafi in 1969.)
Extremists assassinate Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat. They object to his willingness to make peace with Israel, and justify the killing by citing 14th century legal opinions about the Mongol invasions. (Photo: An undated picture shows late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (L) waving to a crowd as Vice-President Hosni Mubarak (R) laughs beside him standing in a convertible vehicle. Mubarak came to office as Egypts fourth president after late President Anwar Sadat was slained by a group of military Islamist fundamentalists with allegiance to the Al-Jihad during a military parade Oct. 6, 1981.)
A year on from an Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Shiite fighters kill hundreds of foreign soldiers with the first ever suicide bomb. Some scholars formulate new legal theories to validate the tactic retrospectively. (Photo: Hezbollah fighters parade during a ceremony organized by the militant Shiite Muslim group on the occasion of Martyr's Day in the southern suburbs of Beirut Nov. 11, 2009.)
Ayatollah Khomeini demands that "The Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie be killed for blasphemy -- a sin for which the Quran itself mandates no penalty. (Photo: A veiled Iranian woman walks past a mural depicting Iranian late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, painted on the wall of the former US Embassy, in Tehran, Iran, where Iranian militant students seized in November 1979.)
In the aftermath of 9/11, hardliners continue to insist that Islamic jurisprudence is timeless. History continues to prove them wrong. (Photo: In this Friday, May 25, 2012 photo, Muslim hardliners of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) hold banners during a protest against Lady Gaga in Jakarta, Indonesia. As the U.S. pop star canceled her sold out concert in Jakarta over security concerns after Muslim hardliners threatened to use violence against her, many started to question the extremists' double standard towards the raunchy <em>dangdut</em> shows performed almost every night by young Indonesian women who turn up everywhere from smokey bars and ritzy nightclubs to weddings and even circumcisions. Dangdut is the most popular music among lower class people in Indonesia.)
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