I came to Mississauga for winter break. It wasn't my idea. I really wanted to go to Chicago. Everyone and their mothers were going to there. So yea, I wanted to jump the bandwagon and go too. My parents were insistent on visiting family in Canada instead.
So I'm here right now, chillin with little cousins who are obsessed with jumping up and down, telling stories, and getting piggy back rides. I'm tired and I want to go home!!!!
Okay anyhow...the day after Christmas is "Boxing Day," right? Everyone flocks to the malls to shop til they drop. It's actually pretty ridiculous. My sisters and I decided to go just to get entertained.
I used to live in Mississauga back when I was in 9th grade, just for a year. My dad had a short job transfer. The thing that amazed me most was how ethnically diverse Mississauga is. For the first time in my life I didn't feel like a minority! For the first time I wasn't the ONLY Muslim in my class or the ONLY brown-skinned person in the school. It was quite refreshing.
Going to the mall was such a great experience. There were people of all colors and languages. I mean I was looking through clothes at Urban Behavior and heard English, Urdu, French, and Chinese being spoken at the same time and no one thought twice about it. Personally, I usually get embarrassed to speak Urdu (my parent's native language) in public. Mostly because I suck at it, but also because people may think its weird. Yet here I was in a Western country and speaking a foreign language outside is completely normal.
I decided that as much as I miss home sweet home I really do love Canada. A lot.
God says in the Qur'an, "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted." [49:13]
In one of the classical explanations of this verse, its said that the word in Arabic "to know one another (تعارف)" implies 'that you may acquire knowledge of [the customs of] one another and not to boast to one another of [whose is the more] noble lineage.'
I hope that all of us are able to attain this quality of getting to know one another and not being so prejudiced. It's easy to find different cultures as weird or abnormal. But the reality is that we are afraid of things we don't know.
So the solution?
Get to know people of different backgrounds! The more we learn about each other the less strange the differences will seem.