A Canadian Muslim teenager described her encounter with a stranger at the Prince’s Island Park in Calgary a memorable event that has left her more confident about her hijab.
“We were having a small picnic and so we were just leaving our way,” recounted Tayyabeen Kazmi, 18, 660 City News reported.
“We couldn’t just walk alone so we were just waiting for a big group of people, so we could exit the park with them and we saw a guy approaching us. His smile got bigger and bigger and he said, ‘can I say something to you beautiful ladies?’
“He turned towards me and said, ‘the hijab that you are wearing…’ the fact that he knew the term, it was really nice to know. He goes on to say, ‘the hijab you are wearing, it’s so beautiful, it’s so nice to see that you are wearing this modest outfit in this hot weather.’
“Appreciating us the way we are, encouraging young girls who are scared to leave their house wearing the hijab now, I feel so confident now after that.”
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The encounter at Prince’s Island Park was the opposite from what happened in March when a woman hurled racially motivated slurs at a Muslim woman, tore off her hijab and punched and kicked her.
“Prince’s Island Park, there has been an incident before where someone’s hijab got snatched. So before going there we were quite hesitant,” said Kazmi, a business technology management student at the University of Calgary.
“With the whole negativity that’s going around, it’s really nice to have people go out of their way and spread positivity.”
Muslims in Canada today number more than 750,000.
Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey found that Islam is adhered to by 3.2% of the total population. This makes Islam the second-largest religion in the country after Christianity.
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, and the third-largest municipality and fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada, as of 2016.
Based on Calgary’s 2016 metropolitan census, there are 56,785 Muslims in the city, representing 5.2 of its population.