Scadding Court Community Centre
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Our Stories: Fazra

Our Stories: Sumeya


Islam is a beautiful religion that is centered around 5 pillars, or basic acts: faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca. The Islamic holy book is called The Qur’an. Islam is the second largest religions in the world with almost 1.8 billion Muslims. People who observe the religion of Islam are called Muslims. In 2019, Canada is recorded to be home to about 37 million Muslims. Although Islam is known to be one of the world’s oldest organized religions (dating back to the 7th century), North American culture has adopted a general illogical fear, or phobia, of Islam. This phobia, called Islamophobia, rose greatly after September 11, 2001 when the Twin Towers in the United States were attacked by terrorists. After that attack, the stereotype and ignorant thinking spread that anyone who was Muslim was a terrorist. This Knowledge Builder is meant to celebrate the religion of Islam and Muslims in Canada and build an understanding of Islamophobia that targets, disrespects, and endangers Muslim people.


  • Islamophobia – an illogical prejudice and discrimination of Muslims.
  • Racism – a system that discriminates and deems races, other than white, as inferior.


  • A main barrier that many types of Muslims may experience is cultural discrimination. Although the “terrorist” stereotype starts as a problematic thought, it assumes that anyone who identifies as Muslim is aggressive, angry or harmful in society. This problematic thought, or Islamophobia, becomes a barrier when non-Muslims discriminate – disallowing those perceived as Muslim or Muslims that choose to talk about their religious affiliation – basic needs, rights, and respect.
    • A macro-scale example are protests against the anti-Islamophobia Parliamentary motion that holds the government and Canadians accountable for Islamophobic policy and behaviour and protects Muslims from being discriminated against in Canada. People that protested against the protection of Canadian Muslims are called The Canadian Coalition for Concerned Citizens. Although the name of this group sounds like it is protecting “Canadians”, it is Islamophobic because it assumes that Muslims are not Canadian and are a threat to Canada.
    • A micro-scale example: Faduma is 20 years old and was born in Canada. Her parents have immigrated from Somalia 30 years ago. Faduma and her family all have dark skin and Faduma and her mom wear hijabs. Faduma is now moving out of her parents home and is looking at apartments to rent. When she is talking to the landlord who is a straight, white, cis, middle-aged woman, the landlord asks if Faduma’s allowed to be out of the house by herself. Faduma ignores this question and asks how much the rent costs. The landlord shakes her head and says, “I know Black people never pay their rent on time. You should live with your parents until you get an arranged marriage.”
  • Although there is much Islamophobia in Canada, all non-Muslims may unknowingly benefit from everyday things Muslim people have invented such as: algebra, the toothbrush, glasses, coffee, and hospitals.


  • It is important to be mindful that assuming that all Muslim people either wear different kinds of headscarves or that all Muslim people speak Arabic is ignorant and perpetuates Islamophobia.
  • It is important to define the difference between race, culture, religion:
    • Race – group of people with common ancestry. Ex. Somalis
    • Culture – customs of a particular nation, people, or social group. Ex. Some Muslims cultures encourage wearing a niqab while other encourage wearing hijabs.
    • Religion – the belief and worship in a higher power. Ex. Islam is a religion.
  • Avoid using “Us vs. Them” language. Example: Say “Much of the Canadian population identify with being Muslim or practicing Islam” rather than “Canada has lots of Muslim people in it.”
  • It is important to make private space and be respectful of participants who need to go and pray.
  • Not all Muslims wear headscarves, and not all Muslims have light skin.
  • Not all Muslims speak Arabic.
  • Open questions about Islam or about how a particular person practices is okay. Questions like “Are you oppressed?” or “Do you know any terrorists?” are Islamophobic.
  • The best way to not be Islamophobic is to learn about Islamic cultures!



Approx. 30-50 minutes


Engage in discussion around Islamophobia and the dangers of a single story.


Islamophobia, Immigration, Stereotyping.

PREPARATION- Load Fazra's Our Stories Video;
- Load Sumeya's Our Stories Video.
1 min
REVIEW- Check-in with your participants;
- Review your foundations;
- Encourage participants to take notes;
- Emotionally prepare your participants.
5-10 mins
VIEWING- Watch Fazra and Sumeya's video as a group;
- Remember your "During Each Lesson" tips.
6-10 mins
DISCUSSION- Did you identify any Systems, Barriers and Access in Fazra and Sumeya's stories?
- How could you connect to these stories?
- Did you learn anything new from these videos?
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie presented a popular Ted Talk in which she expanded on the dangers of a single story. In it, she explains that "the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story." How does this relate to Fazra and Sumeya's stories? (Feel free to show clips of Adichie's Ted Talk if you see fit).
- Have you ever been victimized by a "single story"? How did you navigate it?
- How can we avoid stereotyping others?
15-25 mins
DEBRIEF- Refer to "After Each Lesson" for specifics.5 mins