Four women, obviously work colleagues, sit in a restaurant over drinks.

“Oh this was such a good idea, we should do this more often.”

“It’s a shame Fatima couldn’t make it. Does anyone know why?”

“Well, I invited her last week and she avoided talking to me about it — so I asked her at lunchtime if she wanted to come and she just looked at me for a minute and said, I can’t. So I said, sure you can. It’s just down the street from the office. Laura, Nadja, Kortney and I are all going. You should come along!

“What did she say?”

“She just looked at me and said, I’m not allowed.

“What the hell? What did she mean by that?”

“Well that’s exactly what I asked her. Then I said, are you not allowed because we’re non-Muslim?! She didn’t even look at me after that and mumbled likes she always does. I just left her in the lunchroom.”

“Oh well that’s just ridiculous. I tell you, they’re crazy. But I bet it’s because her husband controls her. I mean, why else would she have to wear that hajaba thing.”

“I know! I have this neighbour with like 24 kids. I have never seen her husband, I’m not even sure he works, and I’ve never seen her face! She’s completely covered, head to toe in black. Even in summer!”

“Ridiculous. It’s so sickening that they’d let themselves be told what to do and what to wear. And to come into this country to abuse the system is just wrong. I know this black woman with like six kids, and none of them have the same father. I’m sure she’s just workin’ the welfare.”

“Okay, so my mom once told me this story about a lady on her street. Her little boy was running wild in and out of the house. He ended up slipping on something and smacked his head on the cement doorstep!”

“Oh poor little guy. Was he okay?”

“Um. No! He cracked his head open and blood was pouring everywhere. My mom’s boyfriend saw the whole thing and ran over to offer the lady some help. She didn’t have a car so he said, You have to take him to the hospital. I’ll drive you. But she just stood there with her hurt boy and said that she had to wait for her husband!”

gasps and looks of disgust

“Seriously, right? He offered again and was really forceful about telling her that the boy needed immediate medical attention. She just said, I can’t and went back into the house. And she doesn’t even wear that thing on her head!”

“I mean it. Those people are crazy. Have you ever seen Fatima doing her praying in the lunchroom? It freaks me out. I don’t care if you bless your food before eating it. That’s normal. But to sit in a chair in the corner and do all of that weird bowing. shudder It’s just wrong.”

“Nadja, you’d never take that from your husband, would you?”

“Um. No. But he’s not really practicing.”

“Well, he’s Pakistani, right?”

“Iranian.”

“Oh, same place. Did you have to do anything Islam when you got married to him?”

“No. He’s not practicing and I’m not Muslim.”

“See, that’s what this world needs more of. Really great examples of two cultures mixing together. You married one and here you are out with us without an issue. More Muslims need to be like this.”

“I’m not…”

“For sure! I bet Fatima would be really nice to hang out with if she wasn’t so… religious.”

“We should spike her drink!”

laughter

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