“The RCC was my first home at Ryerson, it’s where I’ve met lots of wonderful people and it’s where I spend a lot of my time. I feel most in control in a print classroom and in the RCC, powerful even. I’m in my element and I can get work done and be a badass journalist while I’m at it.”
Raneem is a 17-year-old journalism student (who happened to interview me for The Eyeopener newspaper.) She absolutely loves to be “in front of the ocean, there’s infinite majesty, wisdom and clarity that you can derive from just staring at the pull and push of the waves and the sunset.” Raneem also likes to read, draw, run, and constantly catch up on her favourite TV shows. Raneem told me that her favourite quality about herself is that she is resilient. “Life is tough for a little 5”2 girl and it’s pushed me down countless times, but I’ve always managed to stand back up alhamdulilah. Also spontaneity, I do weird stuff I could never imagine myself doing but they always turn out okay so I’m happy.” When I asked her about Muslim stereotypes she commented on both perspectives within Muslim communities and outside. “The biggest [stereotype] is that we’re all the same oppressed or limited type of person just because of a God we choose to believe in, or because of how we carry ourselves, or because of what we may sometimes choose to wear. I don’t believe it but sometimes it gets to you and it just sucks that sometimes that’s all people will ever see. There’s also a stereotype from within the Muslim community. This is a little specific but I found that Muslims will sometimes stereotype a Muslim hijabi as perfect. And it’s not a negative stereotype but it’s a burden. To always have someone expect so much of you I’m just human and I make a lot of mistakes and wearing a hijab is my attempt at trying to be a better Muslim but it doesn’t mean I’m perfect.”
What is the best quality in someone else?
Kindness, empathy, and understanding. It’s the little things that don’t necessarily stand out, the way you carry yourself in conversation, the way you approach people, the way you listen to other people’s perspective and try to understand that. It makes a difference. It really makes ALL the difference, and I’m so thankful for all the kind, empathetic and understanding people that I’ve come across.
Do you feel that you are visibly Muslim?
“Does your hair change based on the colour of your hijab?” – Yes I do.
How do you want to be perceived?
I want to be perceived as a strong capable Muslim woman. Someone who can love, learn, grow, make mistakes and be a badass all at once. I want to be perceived as human.
What is one thing you know for sure?
That all good things come through God and that things will always fall into place - there is a wisdom behind everything that happens.
Oh and chocolate and mint is the worst combination to ever be created.