Engin Sezen, The Circle
Canada is peaceful and safe. Canada is Home.
Millions of Canadians feel the same. Immigrants, refugees, citizens…
Yes, immigrants…including Muslim immigrants.
Some of us may be forced immigrants, while others made their way to this beautiful land much more willingly.
In our new home, we sometimes suffer psychologically, socially, and economically, as many other Canadians do. Yet overall, we do enjoy our lives here, despite the rather long winter season. We work hard, perhaps day and night, and we tremendously contribute to our societies. This is what makes us true Canadians: hard-work and serving our country.
Hard-work and community service are not our only contributions.
We, newcomers, also bring our ideological, political, and social baggage to this side of the Ocean. In time, we re-create and live in our little social bubbles, instead of enlarging our visions and enriching our lives by engaging with “the other”.
Still, we keep following momentarily what is happening in our countries of origin: Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Syria, etc. Of course, social media and traditional media never fail in telling us how our presidents are fairing, nor does it shy away from shining spotlight on the shameless corruption.
We come together in Tim Hortons, community centers, and at our own homes to talk and talk over the same issues. We try to save our homelands from where we are, here from Canada. We are too politicized by the century-long divisions in our countries; leftists, communists, Islamists, nationalists, etc. Indeed, ideologists don’t leave us alone in Canada.
Main subject of our endless conversations is what is happening in the Middle East! Through these dividing conversations, we reinforce ideological, ethnic, and religious animosity here too.
On the other hand, many of us don’t even know the names of our local politicians in the very cities where we live. Even though we have been living in Canada for years now, we know almost everything about the countries we left but not so much about the land that became our home.
Here is an invitation…
Let’s leave the cultural fault lines in our home-lands. Here in Canada, let’s hug our neighbours, develop cultural knowledge, awareness, appreciation, and competency within the mainstream culture that surrounded every single aspect of our livelihood in Canada. Let’s stop talking, and listen to each other more.
We live in different times right-now, in a new reality. Over the years, I have been involved in many Muslim communities in Ottawa, Montreal and Kitchener-Waterloo. These are beautiful communities, so vibrant and vital that you really want to become a part of.
There is so much to experience and discover here. Let’s put the heavy baggage we carried with us down, and instead take up social projects and responsibilities in Canada.
Go and register in a political party. Or encourage your children to do so.
Because after all, Canada is Home!