Mirrors & Reflections

Knowing Your Power: From one Muslim Immigrant Sister to Another

An Unauthorized Guidebook 
by Khulood Agha Khan, EDD

Doctorate of Education in Social Justice, University of Toronto

© Copyright by Khulood Agha Khan 2022

Online ISBN# 978-1-7780397-1-3

Book ISBN# 978-1-7780397-0-6

Guidebook Available Upon Request

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Introduction

Dear Reader,
This website is a sister site to the guidebook Mirrors and Reflections which is available upon request. It is not an authorized book by the government of Canada, but it is something I wish I had when I landed in Canada. There were many things that I have learned over time, interacting with Western people. Initially, I thought I was the only one who had to face systemic barriers; however, after years, I realized that many more Muslim immigrant women like me have similar experiences. These experiences change with your social location and economic situation. Some generalized Western stereotypes regarding Muslim immigrant women’s identity make navigating everyday life full of challenges, yet Muslim women rise above these challenges each day. The Muslim immigrant women have the attitude to conquer the world without worrying about what anyone has to say, without looking into anyone’s eyes but only keeping their eye on their goal in life. Western, Islamophobic gaze does not matter to them. 

Muslim immigrant women in Toronto encounter systemic barriers in the form of microaggression and stereotypes against them because they embody Islam and keep their gaze lowered. However, their approach to lowered gaze does not mean that they have lower self-esteem. The guidebook includes curated stories and real-life incidences of systemic barriers that Muslim immigrant women have faced in Canada. This guidebook also shows examples of their resiliency and how they “look back” at the West, despite these systemic barriers, through their unstoppable creativity. 

This guidebook is based on the experiences of Muslim immigrant women of Canada who were interviewed by the author for the EdD (Doctorate of Education) degree at OISE, University of Toronto (2021). The complete dissertation is available at the OISE library.

This guidebook includes illustrations that are fictional and that have been created by the author to aid the reader in understanding the incidences. The author also created all the poetry and visuals except where specified and cited. 

The stories in this book are not fictionalized and are real-life incidences shared by the study participants. Participants have been anonymized and pseudonyms have been used to acknowledge them. However, the images are not intended to resemble any real-life characters/people. These fictional visualizations have been used to support the readers whose first language is not English.

 
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Being a woman, and being a worker, I think, as you know all women, we have inside of us, a leadership, right? You think it or you don’t say it. All women are leaders, no matter what, [whether] you went to school or you didn’t go to school. All of us, are a leader. I don’t see it as a challenge, or I don’t see it as [a] burden, as the, as positive. And then I’d say it’s as fun, and I see it as, like, power. Because of the way we conduct our lives and deal with issues at the same time if you put me there. They will cut down. What gives us that strength! So the strength that we have as a female is more powerful (Faiza, 2021).

 
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