Apparently universities offer courses in Diaspora these days.

Quite frankly I didn’t even know what a diaspora was a few years ago! And for those of you who might not be familiar with the term either, let’s just say it’s when a community spreads out. Like African diaspora is how the Africans were spread out over North America and the Caribbean, brought as slaves. But there’s an Indian disapora as well. It’s really all over the world and yup, I’m part of it.

I went to a graduation party for the daughter of an old friend today and I met a university professor who teaches about that and what she called ‘anti-oppression’. Basically these were socialization courses which taught people to recognize the oppressive things they think of other groups.

It was really interesting talking to this lady. She had been my friend’s daughter’s teacher, and it was very unusual that she actually started crying while she spoke of the young graduate.

We were chatting away, and she told me about an incident that occurred.

It’s one of those things that when it happens you think, No! It’s too shocking really! People can’t be that ignorant in this day and age!

And yet…

Like in 2000 when I approached my old elementary school in Dundas, the little town in which I grew up, with an excellent educational opportunity.

I had applied to the Ontario Arts Council for a program called Artists in the Schools. It was a subsidized program where I basically worked in a school enriching the arts’ education of a group of kids for five days, and all the school had to cover was $60 per day!

For a total of $300 a school could have a legitimate artist come in and work with the kids for FIVE DAYS!!!

That’s a steal!

I charge $300 for one hour these days!!!

Well, I had to do one of the grants outside the greater Toronto area so I approached my old school in Dundas and offered them the grant. The principal replied, “Oh, we don’t need that multicultural stuff here.”

This was only fourteen years ago!

Whenever I tell people that story they literally gasp!

Especially people in the arts or teachers!

Well, this professor told me a story that had happened to her a few months ago, and it made me gasp!

Because it makes even less sense than mine does.

This university professor was running late one day, to go visit a friend who’d had a baby. So she popped into a bookstore and asked the proprietor if she could recommend a book with a lady in a hijab in it.

You know what the proprietor said? (She was one of two partners who owned the store.) She told the lady, “Can I just kick you now?”

Meaning that she wanted to kick her because she’d requested a book with a woman in hijab in it.

I gasped.


Just wow.

I mean this is an incident where a person is SELLING books! And a customer is asking for something and she’s being racist about it.

Even if she’s a racist, doesn’t she want to make a sale?

I mean who asks a customer if they can kick them???

And then it got me thinking.

You go into any bookstore in Canada and you won’t find my books there. You’ll find any books denigrating Islam and Muslims, you’ll see “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other such garbage, but you won’t find good positive stories that happen to be about Muslims.

You won’t even find Big Red Lollipop!

I thought they’d at least carry that one, seeing it’s so popular that a New York newspaper referred to it in the same breath as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, as modern classics.

And we Canadians tend to be smug and think we’re so much more open-minded than our American counterparts.

I don’t know.

I’m just feeling really disgusted right now.

Give me a bit of time, and I’ll get over it, insha Allah.

My natural optimistic state will return, insha Allah.

For a long time I’ve felt that Americans ‘get’ me better than Canadians.

For sure in some ways my books have been more successful down there. Wanting Mor was up for eight American honors and only four small Canadian ones, so there you go.

But oh well.

What can you do?

Nothing, nada, zip.

Just keep on writing the best I can.

I do think that eventually they just have to notice!

Or not.

But quitting…


it isn’t an option.