“What’s most important to me is honesty and empathy. I think the world could be a very peaceful place if every human placed these values on the top of their lists.”
Chantale is 42, a stay at home mom, and a former volunteer within her community in Quebec City, especially with new Muslims. She has homeschooled all 6 of her children, which amounts to 16 years of teaching so far. Her proudest achievement is helping her children on their educational journey and that she’s not only “still sane, but a much better person now” because of it. Not surprisingly, Chantale’s favourite place to find herself is in the library. When I asked Chantale what the most challenging experience of her life has been she told me, “being rejected by people I love,” which she mentioned was in response to her conversion to Islam. She continued, “at the same time, this situation proved me, again, that God is very close to me because I'm surviving it, something I really couldn't do only by myself.” She told me the one thing she knows for sure is that “patience is the key to everything.” Chantale’s own favourite quality is her resilience. When I asked Chantale if she’s experienced gendered Islamophobia in her city she told me, “people tell me I should dress like everybody else, that I am a shame, that I dishonor the work of the feminists (while I am a feminist myself). I have been yelled at and once a woman even threw her shopping cart at me. Now with the newly elected government, who wants to force Muslim women to take off their hijabs at work, my family and I have decided to move to another Canadian city where I can feel better and where my children have a brighter future. At the same time, I think running away is not a global solution and that I should stay and work on educating people on diversity, but at this very moment of my life, I just want to leave and be happy in my new hometown.”
How do you want to be perceived?
“I don't want to be perceived. In fact I want to be myself no matter what others might think.”