Some of us have learnt to turn anger into laughter. If people are giving you a hard time, maybe you can try humour as a response. I find it’s very effective. I’m studying at uni and it often feels like I am the token Muslim. The constant questioning of loyalty we as Muslims face in society can get to you. A tutor recently asked me, ‘Are you Muslim Australian or Australian Muslim?’ And so I asked in return, ‘Am I an Australian woman or a woman from Australia?’Okay, maybe that was just a little defensive. Now if someone thinks I’m a ‘crazy towelhead’ I try to be funny. So when a girl asked me in class recently, ‘How do you shower in your scarf?’, I replied, ‘My problem is getting the conditioner right through to the hair roots!’ And when someone was talking about Osama Bin Laden, I said, ‘Well, we all have crazy uncles in the family, don’t we?’
For as long as I can remember, my family loved to laugh. If anyone was sad, we would sit next to them and make jokes, so no-one stays sad in our home for too long. There’s a lot of humour in Australia as long as you’re looking for it. Even the different ways in which ‘Australian-ness’ is celebrated is quite humorous. At school, I had a teacher who was really into this Australian thing. In her class, there were Australian flags everywhere and we sang the national anthem all the time. On the multicultural days, I would wear my traditional clothes from Iran and Iraq and the teacher would wear a Ned Kelly outfit. We were in the heart of Lakemba, so it was pretty funny. It’s always good to laugh.