“The girl is a media exhibitionist.” This is what the top comment said on the Ex Muslim Reddit board where my first day’s post from this experiment was put up for discussion hours after it had been written. Comments below it were no more favourable. I pictured a boardroom full of international Arab men agreeing that I was stupid, offensive and ridiculous. I seemed to come across to this group of Ex Muslims as a clueless valley girl at best and a white supremacist at worst. I moderated blog comments on that first post saying things like, “Just stop. – coming from an ex muslim.” A full out battle between my conviction that this was a good idea and an orc-like army of insecurities raged inside me.
If I’m making a horrible mistake, I thought, its only ten days. Unfortunately time is relative. At the beginning those ten days seemed like ten days waiting in a hot car or ten days stuck in a tree with no way to get down. I’m not exactly naturally good at receiving criticism but its something I’m working on. This project helped thicken my skin.
I firmly believe that its important to talk about hard things. We have racism in Canada. We have prejudice. We have white privilege. Minorities are attacked verbally and physically on our side of the border. They are dehumanized and held to unfair standards. It is as much a part of Canada as the cloudiness of the lake water we swim in. You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. This project was my way of acknowledging it. This project was my way of confronting these problems within myself.
Just as the father of the sick boy in the Bible in Mark 9 exclaims to Jesus, “I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!” My heart’s cry in this project has been this:
I am an ally. Help me overcome my Islamophobia!