Eid Mubarak. Those words have never felt so heavy to me as they do today, 24 years and change after I was born at St Joes. I should be celebrating the return of life in a country trying hard to move past the pandemic.
Instead, I am in mourning.
Mourning Madiha Salman, Yumna, Talat, and Salman Afzaal. Mourning the life that Fayez would have lived with his family. Mourning the loss of comfort, the loss of the sense of security felt across our community, especially for visibly Muslim women. Women who choose to empower themselves with a Hijab, who have faced attacks in distant and far away Calgary and Edmonton. Women who have faced attacks 350 metres from my family’s home, in a Shoppers parking lot. Women who cannot pursue public opportunities in one of our provinces. Women that can be legally dismissed for their faith in the European Union.
My family’s businesses are in the halal meat industry; as a result, Eid ul Adha is one of the busiest times of the year. Hundreds and thousands of Muslims across Canada and almost two billion worldwide line up to have an animal slaughtered in ritual sacrifice to honour Prophet Ibrahim, known in this part of the world as Abraham.
Of the meat that comes in as a result of your lamb, goat, sheep, cow, or for true authenticity, ram, there are designations. One-third is designated to be donated to your friends and neighbours for them to enjoy and be reminded of your love and companionship. One-third is intended for your family to enjoy, and to celebrate life. The last and final third is mandated for donation to those that need it. If the entire world donated a third of their food a day, no one would go to bed hungry that night.
That is the spirit of Islam that is dismissed in an era of Fox News propaganda, Hollywood not having met a Muslim that wasn’t armed, and a neoliberal obsession with liberating women through the power of eliminating their agency in how they choose to dress.
Later today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be speaking at the last of three Eid Prayers at the Mountain Mosque here in Hamilton. I am sure he will speak of many things and will express dire concern regarding the rise of Islamophobia here in Canada. I wonder if that will change his stance on war crimes in occupied Jerusalem, or his stance on the Quebec government not having an affinity for religiously visible minorities. I hope that it does. I know I won’t see Premier Doug Ford there. At least Doug won’t be taking rally pictures with the Proud Boys anymore, given their now designation as a terrorist organization.
Dawood Younis works in his family’s business. He is a graduate of Ancaster High and The University of Toronto.