My Letter to Our Leaders

My friend Sameer inspired me to write a letter to the leaders of our communities about the Muslim and refugee ban that has recently been ordered by the leadership of our southern neighbours. As a Muslim, a woman, an immigrant, this sinks deep to the heart of the identity I know. Let’s work as communities for each other, and on behalf of our neighbours to make sure that hate and fear have no home in our communities.

You can take your inspiration from my letter below. I hope you’ll consider writing to our leadership.

To the elected leadership of Canada:

On February 14, 2017, my family will mark the anniversary of when we found out that we would be able to immigrate to Canada. This year is particularly poignant because it will mark our 25th year in this country. A country that has proven itself to share our values and our ethics. A country that has welcomed us, and countless many with open arms and open hearts.

Because of Canada, my mother found a place to finally settle down. Our family had moved a dozen times through East Africa. Because of Canada, my sister is on her way to becoming a pediatrician. Because of Canada, I have been able to find a home, work, a life, and a community that I can contribute to.

Our story is not unique. There are many other families who are arrived in far worse circumstances to build better lives in Canada. They are here because we share their values and they work every day of their lives to become part of the social and cultural fabric of our communities. Diversity is our backbone. We can sit at each other’s tables, and share the meals, stories, joys, and even sorrows.

I never thought that we would reach a point in history where my mother would have to call me and tell me to be careful on transit or on planes, or in public because of my religion. I am frightened at the xenophobia that the regime of our southern neighbours has legitimized. Most of all, I’m scared that our silence is consent.

On behalf of myself and my family, I urge you to speak out strongly against the Muslim and refugee ban and against the other prejudices that it brings with it. The ramifications of this order will be far reaching, jeopardizing and endangering many lives around the world, separating families, and greasing the wheels of fear and hatred.

I implore you to take actionable steps to decry these sentiments and prevent them from making themselves at home in our communities. Please know that this exclusionist sentiment is already creeping up into the rhetoric of the country that I love. It is not right. It is not fair. It is not Canada.

I will work with my community every day to build bridges. Let us denounce hateful actions and words, improve the lives of our own citizens, welcome others who are fleeing persecution, and be a model to the world of a working, diverse, welcoming country.

Thank you for your time.

This letter was sent individually to Fin Donnelly, MP; Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; and Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada