When you are living in a community where you are portrayed negatively it is important to stand up and be proactive, to help change negative perceptions. It is difficult to stay resilient at times, but we have to get out there and make a contribution. When I am with Muslims, I try to make Anglo people sound awesome. And when I am with Anglos I try and make Muslim people sound awesome. For me, it’s very important that the Anglos understand that Muslims aren’t exotic and ‘other’ and vice versa. I’m trying to break down these barriers. When people appreciate people’s humanity, barriers dissolve. The problem is that both sides just categorise and label each other and I feel like I’m a hybrid: One foot in each world.
I was speaking recently to a woman who wears a niqab, a face veil, and I asked her what her message to the wider community was. She said, ‘When you see me walking down the road wink at me; I’ll wink back’.