Day 9: On Avoiding Being a Jerk

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When I was a kid I asked my Mom why she didn’t have a Jesus fish on her vehicle.  She said it put too much pressure on her to be a good driver.  An obvious, but not very well thought out aspect of this experiment for me was realizing the moral pressure of wearing a hijab.  With that scarf, you are representing a community that already has an unfairly poor reputation, and that is actually quite a bigly weight to bear.

“ISIS is killing Christians on my computer screen AND this Muslim lady is an exceptionally rude customer?  Next election, I’m going to vote that we disallow the burkini!” I imagine these small minds thinking.

You see, I had an incident.  I am in the midst of dealing with The Oven from Hell.  When we bought our house a couple months ago, it came with an obscurely branded oven.  Everything has gone wrong with this oven and we have already sunk a few hundred dollars into it.  Yesterday, we figured out that the identification numbers associated with our oven have mysteriously been ripped off so there is no way of knowing whether or not we can get the right parts to fix it.  All we can do is guess, and they are expensive, non-refundable guesses.  I learned the nature of this wager from the lady behind the counter at the appliance store.  This lady had already sent me home twice to try to figure out these identifying numbers.  And I was frustrated, oh so frustrated.  I was also oh so conscious of the fact that I was wearing a headscarf.  I made sure to let the ladies behind the counter know that I was angry with my oven and not them.  But God forbid a woman in a headscarf have a bad day in public.

It is exhausting representing a religion that already has a poor marketing campaign in the West.  Its worst than the  task of “protecting your witness” that Christians remind each other to do because chances are, should you have a public meltdown, nobody will know you are a person of faith.  Maybe that new person in your Bible study is nearby, and maybe they’ll see you acting badly and decide that Jesus isn’t for them, but probably not.  However, as a Muslim in a hijab, you are ALWAYS on, always scrutinized.  There isn’t a whole lot of room for grace there and that is a difficult way to live.


2 thoughts on “Day 9: On Avoiding Being a Jerk

  1. Very funny and true! (Fish on car, hijab on head, professing any belief = ethical pressure!). I think your hijab experiment is interesting. (Although possibly puzzling to on-lookers since you don’t look Middle-Eastern, Arabian Peninsula, or North African…) Actually my main thought reading this is that I’m surprised by the ads on your site. (I found it distracting…) I thought you were vehemently anti-consumerism? I am not against the ads (funding is a necessary reality), but just wondered if you have changed your views on that? I think that some of our views morph as we experience new realities in life (like a mortgage!) and as we meet people who have a variety of experiences. Having worked with immigrants my whole life, I actually find the most fascinating people to read and talk to are feminist Muslims, because they have a very nuanced take on everything. They have lived in places with zero human rights for women and lived to tell about it. (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, Fatima Mernissi and, of course, Malala Yousafza) and many more. You may find Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Infidel fascinating since it is a story of leaving her faith. I could not put it down. Another amazing book (although older) is Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks, a journalist who chronicles the lives of women in the Middle East. Absolutely fascinating and you will love it. Marina Nemat of Toronto writes of surviving Evan Prison in Tehran in Prisoner of Tehran and her latest book talks about PTSD from that. I think what’s tricky for us here in Canada is to support human rights for all women and, at the same time, develop our understanding and tolerance of differences. This is a tricky tension to hold. Love you, Glo!


    • Thanks Carolyn! I have an Adblocker on my computer so I don’t ever see ads and didn’t know it was happening. I don’t receive revenue or anything. I’ve learned tpday that I can take them away if I pay more for my domain, which I might do. I wouldn’t say I’m vehemently anti-consumerist. I like business. I’m anti-exploitation in consumerism though, or, more accurately, pro- everyone getting paid a fair wage for their labour, pro- the possibility that if someone works full time, they are able to adequately support themselves financially without living in poverty. I will look more into getting rid of the ads.


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