“From New France, to Canada, to the nation within a nation of today, I am a part of this story, with its triumphs of coexistence and tolerance, and its tragedies of colonialism and oppression. I am a Canadian, and I claim the term, unhyphenated and unapologetically. Wherever my journey takes me, it will take me there as a Canadian, linked to its past and hopeful in its future.”
Idil is a 34-year-old writer living in Montreal, Quebec. She told me her proudest accomplishment is her writing, no matter what else she does in her life. Even when she is advocating for people’s rights, or travelling in beautiful locations for work, her writing is what ties everything she does together. She continued to say, “Being able to express myself and my innermost thoughts, feelings, and creativity is a gift that I am endlessly thankful for. Communicating through art, writing, speech, or other means is a way that we reach out and touch each other’s lives, it’s how we catch sight of each other’s souls.” When she is not writing or advocating, Idil loves reading, hiking, and swimming. As a past swim instructor and lifeguard, she still loves diving into cold bodies of water and enjoying herself as a “creature of the water.” When I asked Idil what’s most important to her she told me, “the most important thing to me is the heart; love. I think that there is so much that happens in this world, a lot of which is disturbing and distressing. Love is not a negation of hate, it’s a higher order. Love has reality whereas hatred is an absence, a negation. Love is from Allah, and it can heal the world. Love has informed all of the material, intellectual, and formal aspects of my life. When you read an angry op-ed I’ve written about the rights of Muslim women, it’s because of love. When you see me advocating for the inclusion of black people in a space of power, it’s because of love. When you witness me taking up space in a traditionally white boardroom, it’s because of love. Love is an equalizer; it is magnanimous because it has stores of wealth that cannot be exhausted. It is forbearing because it is powerful.”
What is your favourite quality about yourself?
"My favourite quality is my endurance and forbearance. I’ve been through a lot of emotional and mental trauma in my life, and yet, through my faith and trust in Allah, I’ve been able to survive and maybe even thrive. Grace has gotten me through and has shown me so many blessings."
Where is your favourite place to find yourself?
"In nature. Canada is blessed with such beautiful scenery, and it’s a joy to discover it. Hiking, cross-country skiing allow me to enjoy what makes Canada unique and worth living in. There are too many places to name specifically… any national park in Canada is worth visiting. I’ve been to the beaches of Mauritius and the island of Zanzibar, but there’s nothing like home."