Taking a step forward to counter racism, an Edmonton Muslim life coach has published a new book following a series of violent attacks against Muslim women in Edmonton.
“This book is a celebration of the diversity that we have in Canada,” Samira Hamana told Global News.
“I was (initially) writing it because of the Heritage Festival… I love to see different cultures. But then I saw the violence against Muslims.
Edmonton Muslim women have been the victims of hate racist attacks in recent month. The latest incident at the end of June in St. Albert sent a woman to hospital.
Dealing with the problem, Hamana’s book, Where Are You Really From?, focuses on the concept of “roots” as well as how Canadians are united.
“Where are you really from is a question that many, many, many people of color — people that just recently came to Canada — they are asked about … to make them feel that they do not belong here,” Hamana said.
“We need to teach kids and children that we are all from here. However, we have different roots… (BUT) it’s OK. It’s not something that’s bad, we are all Canadian. That’s why I wrote this book.”
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Culture of Acceptance
Carla Peck, a professor of social studies education at the University of Alberta, said parents should talk to their children about racism and hate crimes.
“I think it is important to have that conversation with kids,” Peck said. “You don’t have to get into all the details. Young kids can understand what it means to be left out of games on the playground, or be teased about how they look.
“It’s incredibly important that elementary-aged kids have an opportunity to have open conversations about all of the diversity and differences they see in their classroom and their community,” she said.
Hamana also hopes school libraries purchase her book to help share its important message.
“Many people are tired of hearing about racism and discrimination,” Hamana said.
“If we build this knowledge in elementary and teach our kids acceptance, 100 per cent we will limit the racism and discrimination against other races.”
Muslim writers have published several books to support diversity and counter racism.
In July 2019, Hamana, a certified life coach from Edmonton, published her first children’s book to help children and their parents counter bullying.
At that time, Hamana said she found herself compelled to publish her book after hearing the role bullying played in the suicide of a young Syrian refugee in Calgary.
In addition, Hudda Ibrahim from St Cloud, Minnesota, wrote a book in September 2019 to empower young Muslim girls and normalize the hijab.