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Why are we holding an 11-year-old more accountable for her tall tales than the President of the United States?

By Shadi Bozorg Recently an 11-year-old Canadian Muslim girl, who claimed to have her hijab cut off by a scissor-wielding male stranger, fabricated the story for reasons unknown. As expected, the world quickly turned against her. People’s responses on social media went from shock and sadness about a hate crime against an 11-year-old, to angrily condemning the child, even going as far as saying she should be charged with criminal offenses. Did she make an error? Yes, and she will have to live with it for the rest of her life. Her name and face have been published for the world to see, and public opinion convictions often come with dire consequences. Is she a child? Yes, and that’s what many people are forgetting. Why are we holding an 11-year-old more accountable for her tall tales than the President of the United States? According to the wise people of Twitter and Facebook, this is because she clearly had a hidden agenda. [TW/CW: The following tweets include islamophobia.] https://twitter.com/WhitesOpinion/status/954095054435573760 https://twitter.com/Wesmoms/status/953466683737374721 https://twitter.com/WarWithAgendas/status/953285895351947264 Accusations of her operating on behalf of a sinister organization, and her family being terrorists began to fill comment sections of national articles. After all, it’s widely understood that children never lie. No, children only speak factual truths and they never make mistakes. Yes, this specific 11-year-old must be linked to something deeper and darker. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like every other child, for she’s Muslim and there must be more to this than a kid thinking they’re getting away with a lie. Just for clarification, almost all children lie in some capacity, almost consistently. And if you’re thinking “mine doesn't’!” it’s because they are doing a good job of lying to you. This lie snowballed to the point of no control, going viral on social media and becoming national news in a matter of hours.  Being a child, this girl must have assumed she would just have to play along with it until it played out. Wrong? Absolutely. Evil? An Islamophobic reach. The hypocrisy of human beings is nothing new, but both of these reactions so perfectly showcase how fleeting empathy is in our society. When something bad happens in the trends it’s all “thoughts and prayers”, “this is tragic”, “let’s make this better.” Yet, once someone makes a mistake it’s “let’s ruin this person’s life forever using just the pads of our fingers.”  We are not rational or consistent in our responses, just reactionary.

Allies shouldn’t need a reason to be allies; they should be cognizant of the injustices rampant in the world and want to change the world for the better.

By Sarah Khan Recently, Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh was heckled by a white woman while he was conducting a meet-and-greet in Brampton, Ontario. Singh, who is Sikh, faced against a woman who has since been identified and tied to local white supremacist groups in Toronto; he endured her ignorant claims that he was going to bring about sharia law--an Islamic ideology, very much different from Sikhism--to which Singh responded with impressive patience and compassion. Claiming that he and the attendees didn’t want to be “intimidated by hate” and that no one wanted “hatred to ruin a positive event,” Singh began calming talking over the woman with phrases like “We welcome you. We love you. We support you” and  “We believe in your rights.” Putting aside the problematic idea of welcoming or supporting yet alone loving someone who believes in a racial hierarchy, Singh’s level-headed handling of his heckler is being touted as the ideal way to deal with those with whom you disagree. It goes back to the fact that people don’t seem to realise that anti-Islamic or racist or sexist beliefs are not just something with which to disagree. A difference of opinion is over something that doesn’t negatively affect the lives of millions of people and doesn’t continue to uphold a system of oppression for pretty much anyone who isn’t a rich, white cis male. Whether apple or pumpkin pie is better is a difference of opinion; believing that every brown person is Muslim and thus an misogynistic fanatic or terrorist is a human rights issue. Pumpkin pie will be okay if people hate it — people of color will not.

With Ramadan’s end comes prayers of peace, hope and fulfillment.

Ramadan is almost over and as always it’s been an extremely busy holy month for Muslims. Fasting and worship aside, Ramadan means so much to so many people around the world. Here are some highlights, both good and bad, from this year’s Ramadan. Charity projects received much attention this year, as they always do. However, because of islamophobic narratives of Muslims in many parts of the world, charitable causes gained even more prominence than usual. LaunchGood, the crowdfunding website of choice for and by Muslims, started the Ramadan Challenge, where donors received a daily email with suggested projects to support. Ordinary Muslims from all over the world supported diverse projects such as refugee relief, children’s playgrounds and Arabic classes.

I’m not guaranteed Ramadan next year – with Islamophobia increasing, I’m not even guaranteed tomorrow.

By Hafsa Quraishi TW//Violence and murder. Yesterday, I arrived at my local mosque while 'intermission' was going on, during which prayer is paused to give people a break between the long, nightly supplication. It’s the final ten days of Ramadan, a time when attendance at mosques are especially high because of the holiness encompassing these last few days. Though it was late in the evening, the mosque was boisterous with activity – kids were running around, yelling and chasing each other; a group of women were seated in a circle, likely discussing community events and the older teens were playing basketball in the court my brother lovingly built with money he fundraised. Fairy lights ran around the perimeter of the building twinkling blues and greens. It was quite a sight to see. Yet, all I could think of was how these children and adults that surrounded me might not be here the following night. I spent the last few weeks fasting, praying and trying to be my best self. I had a number of goals I wanted to accomplish this year – attend the nightly prayer, taraweeh, every night, read the entire Qur’an and be kinder to others. My human nature kept me from meeting most of these goals, and while that frustrated me, I kept reminding myself that I can always try to accomplish them next year – but the reality is, I’m not guaranteed Ramadan next year – with Islamophobia increasing, I’m not even guaranteed tomorrow.

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