“My Muslim identity is not a form of otherness, but instead, part of the fabric that makes Canada who it is and who it is proud to be”
Aisha is a 22 year old Pakistani-Canadian majoring in Environment and Urban Sustainability at Ryerson. She believes her academic journey is very mimetic to her identity as learning about the natural systems of her environment reinforces the perfection that Allah created. She continues to say “green spaces allow us to connect and identify with others on shared grounds, to feel accepted, connected and eliminate feelings of isolation and alienation.” Aisha’s other interests include learning languages, hiking, binge watching TV shows, and watching cat videos (to the point of having an Instagram account for that sole reason.) When I asked Aisha what she thinks stereotypes of Muslim women are she responded, “when I think of someone who has biases against Muslim women, I imagine a Pandora box filled with endless stereotypes such as being oppressed, pushovers, suspicious, and other stuff I don't identify with. There is never just one stereotype Muslim women are hit with, it's a trail of them.”
Where is your favourite place to find yourself?
"My room where I enter my introverted bubble to recharge and self-reflect."
What is your favourite quality about yourself?
"My readiness to help those around me."
What is a fun fact about you that you haven’t told me yet?
"I love food and trying new foods. If I try a new food and don't like it the first time, I'll eat it a few more times just in case I end up liking it."
Why did you choose the location you did for the photo shoot?
"I chose The Ryerson Quad because it is the only green space on campus, surrounded by concrete buildings and glass windows reflecting grey pavement all around. Its existence among the Ryerson buildings represents the struggle between the natural environment and urban life which is what I've been studying for these past 4 years. Learning about the natural systems of our environment reinforces the Ayaat (signs) that Allah has created in order for us to marvel at perfection, and glorify his Majesty (Subhan'Allah). My academic journey in Environmental Stewardship is very mimetic to my Muslim Identity. Rather than isolating green spaces, for a multicultural city like Toronto, which thrives by celebrating the uniqueness that diversity brings, green spaces allow us to connect and identify with others on shared grounds, to feel accepted, connected and eliminate feelings of isolation and alienation. My Muslim identity is not a form of otherness, but instead, part of the fabric that makes Canada who it is and who it is proud to be!"